Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District has received funding from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Environmental Quality Incentive Program Agreement #68-1218-13-17 to offer "The Andy Valley Successful Farmer". This Series is now about to conduct the final full day sessionon May 6, 2014.
The cost to attend one or more workshops is $15 per person for each workshop session. Scholarships are avialable for a second representative from the farm to attend. Call Jane Heikkinen at 207-753-9400 ext 400 for details. Substitute representatives from the farm may attend in case of an emergency preventing attendance for those registered. No refunds will be given for any not showing up without a notification three days prior to the workshop to be eligible for a refund. Seating is limited only roonm for 10 more people. REGISTER NOW--no later than May 1st. Sorrry, no credit card payments will be accepted.
Maine Earth Smart Professional Development Workshop
Maine Earth Smart Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Project is funded through a grant with SARE. February 24, 2014 a Professional Develoment Workshop will be held for those providing services to farmers.
Nomination petitions were received from Edward Carter of Richmond and Benjamin Dearnley of Bowdoinham for the one open position for the Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District's Board of Supervisors.
Election Superintendent Jane Heikkinen announced at recent Board of Supervisors meeting, "Ballot votes were verified on November 21 with a one point lead given to Benjamin Dearnley of Bowdoinham. Nomination petions were received from Edward Carter of Richmond and Benjamin Dearnley for the candidacy for the Board of Supervisors position with the Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District." The election to this position involves a commitment of service for three years beginning January 1, 2014.
Elected Candidate Benjamin Dearnley graduated from Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampsire. His major was in Environmental Science. Currently Dearnley serves as an Ed Tech III at the Spurwink School working with the special needs students. When not working, his time is consumed with working the "Life Force Farm"--an organic vegetable far. The farm property was purchased in 2005. Ben serously became involved in developing and implementing his organic vegetable farm plan in 2008. Dearnley has worked with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service staff to implement conservation measures on his farm through the Environmental Quality Incentive Program and developed a high tunnel for his organic vegetables. Dearnley said, "I want to give a voice to the needs of the organic farmer."
During his first term as Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisor member, Ben will join the other four members to focus on providing guidance in water quality, water quantity, forestry and economic feasibility issues, as well as programming to address these concerns.
Congratulations are extended to Benjamin Dearnley on a successful candidacy for the Board of Supervisor position.
The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Whitcomb has appointed Kathy Shaw to serve for three years as a Board Supervisor. Kathy Shaw is an active Farm Market vendor and has participated with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to develop a high tunnel allowing her to extend her growing season capacity to all year. Congratulations, Kathy, on this appointment.
USDA Local Work Group Meeting
The Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District hosted a meeting of the Androscoggin and Sagadahoc Counties USDA Local Work Group Meeting on December 19, 2013. Fifteen people attended the meeting.
The local resource categories and percentages in the funding pools will be animal waste with 75%, cropland and pasture with 20%, and small farms with 5% for 2014. The Local Working Group identified and prioritized the resource concerns and points allocated to these concerns:
High 33 points for questions related to the resource concerns
Integrated pest management (vegetables, small berries and orchards)
Soil Health/Cropland Issues
Nutrient management (waste mangement and soil health)
Water quality (surface and groundwater)
Erosion (farmland and streambank)
Medium 10 points for questions associated with the resource concerns
Community Engagement (Ag education and recreation activities on farms that support local communities
Forestry (timber stand improvement)
Low 6 points with questions related to the resource concerns
Other Workshops Held
The first of six sessions in "The Andy Valley Success Farmer Series--Forest Harvesting Management" was held October 22, beginning at 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Leeds Town Hall, 8 Community Drive. Registration began at 8:30 a.m. with an introduction to Multi-use management, reading the forested landscape, silvicultural concepts and working with your forester; state regulations for boundaries, notification, shoreland zoning and tree growth tax program; in-woods management practices during/after harvesting to prevent erosion and protect water quality; developing and maintaining access roads and NRCS related gprograms. The afternoon included an on-site woodlot tour at The Kennebec Land Trusts' Curtis Homestead with more discussion of the morning topics.
To see the topics covered at the Forest Harvest Management Workshop, click here:
The Farm Pond Walk and Talk Workshop was held Saturday, October 19, 2013, from 8:30 to 12 noon. This workshop was held on the Hemond Farm and MotorX area, at 695 Woodman Hill Road, Minot. The session included inside classroom time and an outside walk to three farm ponds for further discussion on farm pond uses.
This workshop was relaxed and informal, covered new pond construction tips, built pond maintenance ideas, planning for pond use and provided opportunity to learn from questions of the other attendees and answers that were given.
The Farm Pond Walk and Tak Workshop was sponsored by the Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District, hosted by the Hemond Farm and facilitated by USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Agriculutral Engineer Cani Gilpatric. This workshop was offered as a result of requests received from farmers. However, please note that USDA NRCS does not provide cost sharing, technical assistance or construction engineering for new farm pond development.
Other Workshops Offered in 2013
Lake Auburn Watershed Septic Social was held Saturday, September 7, at the Volunteer Monitoring Program Office, 24 Maple Hill Road, Auburn from 8:00 a.m. to about 12:30 p.m.
All septic systems located within a watershed and all septic systems have the potential to impact a nearby waterbody. Learn how you can save money, extend you septic system's life and protect Lake Auburn. This septic social was offered to bring answers to your questions, help you stay on the right side of the law, and offer tips on preventing a system failure. The fantastic speakers and good company made it a fun morning. This Septic Social was offered with the collaborating efforts of Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District, Auburn Water District, Lake Auburn Watershed Protection Commission, Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program, W E Fenderson Septic Service, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. The Sun Journal published a guest editorial about the event written by Heather Mccarthy. We extend our thanks to both the Sun Journal and Heather.
The first 15 Lake Auburn watershed residents who attended the Septic Social received a coupon from the Lake Auburn Watershed Protection Commission to add to the discount offered by W.E. Fenderson Septic Services for a septic tank pump out.
New Standards for Timber Harvesting in Shoreland Areas
Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District and Maine Forest Service partnered to offer this FREE workshop for code enforcement officers, woodlot owners, forest operators and any others interested. The workshop was held in the USDA Service Center's Conference Room at 254 Goddard Road, Lewiston.
The topics covered the new laws, options for municipalities and key changes for timber harvesting. The instructors took time to address questions and offered to do follow up visits.
A Maine Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction and Certification Program
Professional Development Workshop was held with about 30 people participating on June 20, 2012 at Maple Hill Farm Inn, 11 Inn Road, Hallowell, Maine.
Earth Smart is a Maine agricultural emissions reduction certification program developed by collaborating partners to provide a whole farm assessment and help farmers prioritize recommended practices that will reduce emissions on the farm while providing additional co-benefits. The program will recognize farmers for the implementation of good agricultural practices and will help position them to take advantage of current and future regional and national carbon offset markets, if they wish to do so.
The Earth Smart program was developed by: Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District, Kennebec County Soil and Water Conservation District, Maine Department of Agriculture, Maine Forest Service, Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, Maine Rural Partners, AgMatters LLC and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Additional support and contributions were received from Maine Farm Bureau, Maine Association of Conservation Districts, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Farm Credit East, Time and Tide Resource and Development Area, Northeast SARE, National Wildlife Federation; Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences; Natural Resources Conservation Service; Ivan Fernandez; Juan Alvez and others who have donated time to edit and comment on the documents. We thank all who have been involved, without their help this program would not have been possible.
New Farmer Workshop Series
Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District partnered with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Maine Department of Agriculture and Maine Forest Service to provide a basic introduction to agriculture issues in a seven part series.