Tue, 04 Dec 2007 17:40:51 ESTFarmers and gardeners are an intrinsic part of Maine's seasons and are affected by nature's deliverances more than anyone else. Within the day to day routines of the regular world, we may happen to notice a summertime field lined with hay bales as we make our daily commute to an office job, or we may get stuck traveling behind a rumbling truck filled with potatoes in the fall, but how many of us know what our farming community really has to offer for agricultural diversity? How many people know where to buy local pork, lamb or a side of beef for their family's freezer? Are there farmers growing strawberries? What farm offers u-pick raspberries? Fresh eggs? How about sweet corn and summer squash?
Fri, 02 Nov 2007 10:52:07 EDTRead the full article at http://nascanet.org/Services/innovationssept07feature.php
Tue, 30 Oct 2007 16:05:49 EDTIt certainly looks as if "buying local" is a strategy that is working for some Maine farmers. How big is the future for local food networks? Can we have more and more prosperous farmers--and also have more Maine people eating more local food?
Wed, 31 Oct 2007 09:08:53 EDTMaine consumers enjoy some of the safest, freshest products in the world, with locally raised meat and poultry slaughtered in state-inspected facilities. The regulatory programs of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources play a critical role in assuring that our food supply is safe, wholesome, unadulterated and properly labeled.
Tue, 23 Oct 2007 16:29:54 EDTEdward Brainard, President of FCT, announced the organization has purchased a conservation easement to protect 105 acres of Mitchell Ledge Farm and received a donation of a second easement from the LeMaistres covering an additional 27 acres. Together the easements will protect scenic pastures, hay fields, woodlands, streams and wetlands from future development or subdivision, forever. The easements granted by the LeMaistres will also allow FCT to create trails for public access through woods around farm fields and along Kelsey Brook, which runs through the property. FCT has secured trail easements from six additional abutting property owners that will, once the trail is created, make it possible to walk through the woods from Mitchell Ledge Farm to FCT's Calderwood property on Maquoit Bay."We are extremely pleased to protect this scenic Freeport landmark and to provide access to trails that will allow the public to enjoy the property and to reach other FCT trails," said FCT Trustee Frederick Woodruff. "We are very grateful for the support and contributions from Freeport residents that made this all possible. We also value the LeMaistre's foresight and conservation spirit in partnering with us to ensure the preservation of this unique property as a working farm."The fields and forests of Mitchell Ledge Farm have been farmed and harvested for many generations, benefiting the local community," said Andy LeMaistre."Mary and I decided that granting an agricultural conservation easement over the property was the best way to ensure that the land would remain productive into the future. We appreciate the generous support of all our Freeport friends and neighbors and the endeavors of all those individuals representing local, state, and federal government agencies, and members of FCT. It took a tremendous effort by all participants to successfully complete this project."FCT raised more than $900,000 to purchase the easement, the largest fundraising endeavor the organization has undertaken in its 30-year history. Once funds were secured through the Land for Maine's Future Program and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service's Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program, another 100-plus local donors contributed to the fundraising effort, including Freeport residents George and Joyce Denney and Joe and Carol Wishcamper who made generous leadership gifts. In addition, FCT received grants from the Town of Freeport's Land Bank Fund, the Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust, the Davis Conservation Foundation, and the Libra Foundation. "The protection of Mitchell Ledge Farm will provide long-term benefits to the community including beautiful pastoral views from Flying Point Road and the opportunity to use the woodland trails," said FCT President Edward Brainard. "We are grateful for the donations and grants from many individuals, the Town of Freeport, the foundations, state and federal programs, as well as for the neighbors who granted trail easements through their properties."Land for Maine's Future program spokesperson Tim Glidden enthusiastically endorsed the project. "The LMF board was drawn to the Mitchell Ledge Farm project by the wonderful opportunity to protect a working farm while also providing recreational opportunities in this rapidly growing part of Maine. These landscapes are at the core of Maine's heritage.""The USDA Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program plays an important role in ensuring the lands stay in agriculture and provide open space for future generations," said Joyce Swartzendruber, State Conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. "Keeping this land in agriculture will help preserve its agricultural, historical and natural resources. We congratulate the LeMaistres and FCT on achieving this goal." Freeport Conservation Trust invites the public to Mitchell Ledge Farm, located approximately 2 miles from downtown Freeport at 47 Flying Point Road, on November 1 from 4-6pm to cel[...]
Tue, 23 Oct 2007 13:20:34 EDTLike a marriage, it is built upon a trust of the underlying resource, the partner - in this case, the dependability of the soils to yield a productive crop given the proper stewardship. Each spring, hope springs anew. Farmers smell the change in the damp soil as it thaws. They watch the wind work the growing hay. They hear the change of the corn leaves as they ripen and dry. They rub a new calf to dry it in the early morning light like spring, bringing new life, new hope. This marriage between farmer and land, in special cases, is generational. It transcends physical age. Even for those of us no longer connected to the land, there is respect for this special marriage On August 10th, 2007, GWRLT completed a project in Berwick protecting all 269 acres of the Tibbetts Farm on Blackberry Hill Road. Reba Tibbetts (pictured above with Todd Hoffman and Jean Demetracopoulos), her sons, her grandson, even her great-grandson, have this special relationship with the land and the cows they milk. Their love of the land brought them through the long and sometimes frustrating process of permanently protecting the farm through the sale of its development rights. Their ultimate concern that their fields never grow rooftops has been addressed through the conservation easement that will remain with the land forever. The Tibbetts will continue to own the land, farm the fields and manage the woodlots. For Reba, this event is a legacy.This land will always breathe with the seasons. It will not be scarred with asphalt or suburbanized lawns.For the rest of us, this project means we will be able to drive along one of the prettiest roads in southern York County and see cows out to pasture and hay and corn growing on rolling fields. The Tibbetts' side of Cranberry Meadow Swamp and the water it holds will continue to function as a natural environment, recharging groundwater, filtering nutrients and providing quality wildlife habitat. The survey showed more than 2000 feet of boundary with the New England Forestry Foundation, creating a wildlife corridor extending from Route 9 to Blackberry Hill Road. The proximity of conservation lands to the south of the Tibbetts' home farm parcel on Brackett Lane extends this corridor almost to the South Berwick town line - almost 500 acres conserved of the more than 2000 acres of wildlife habitat within 2 miles of Berwick's burgeoning downtown. These lands support the tax base without requiring services of roads and schools. The 51 house lots which could have been developed on the Tibbetts Farm, conforming to current zoning will not happen, helping to stabilize the tax burden on the town. From the actions of a devoted farmer, the commitment of her family, and the support of public and private partnerships, we all benefit. In Appreciation: Accomplishing this task was no small feat. It took three years to bring together the information (build out scenarios, appraisals and surveys) and the funding from the Land for Maine's Future Program (LMF) and the federal Farm and Ranchland Protection Program. Stephanie Gilbert from the Maine Department of Agriculture provided essential technical support and coordination. Attorney Hope Hilton and Collin Therrien from the LMF were keepers of the reams of paper work required for this transaction. Trust attorney Susan Thibeau worked with the Tibbetts' attorney Bruce Whitney to review closing documents and easements. GWRLT board members and staff committed to raising the funds to accomplish the deal (your membership dollars and donations at work). Bill Yarmatino and Geoff Coombs from Natural Resources Conservation Service provided support at the federal level for this project. Maine Farmland Trust served as our fiscal agent for the federal funding component. Jean Demetracopoulos coordinated this project over the three years. We are grateful for her devotion to farmland protection in our communities. Our sincere thanks are extended to all the abo[...]
Wed, 17 Oct 2007 17:12:56 EDTA celebration was held in Augusta at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles on Anthony Avenue. The first lady, Karen Baldacci addressed the group and was enthusiastic about welcoming the new plate. She planned to drive to Bangor to pick up her own plate later in the week. Also joining us was the Secretary of State, Matthew Dunlap and Seth Bradstreet III, Commissioner of Agriculture. Several plates were attached that day amid a group of happy onlookers. Representatives from the Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Maine Farm Bureau, Maine State Grange, Maine Association of Conservation Districts, Cooperative Extension and MAITCA joined Representative Wendy Pieh, and Rep. Bill Browne, sponsors of the legislation, in picking up their new plate that first day.
Wed, 17 Oct 2007 17:06:02 EDTThe sun shone brightly on The Big E on all but one morning - making the annual Fair the second most successful event in its history with 1,227,889 fairgoers attending from throughout the Northeast. Three attendance records were set: The first Wednesday, 73,258; second Monday, 66,790; and second Tuesday, 56,974. Concerts by DAUGHTRY, Trace Adkins, Montgomery Gentry and other Country and pop stars, live sharks, celebrity chefs, Cultura 2007, the Mardi Gras Parade, rides, a Marriage on the Midway, crafts, fair food, and animals shared the grounds with long-time favorites and new sights and sounds, offering fairgoers an endless "menu" of activities with something for everyone.The Big E was again named an American Bus Association Top 100 Event.The Fair opened with a salute to active military personnel and veterans on Military Appreciation Day with free admission for military personnel and veterans.Cultura 2007, The Big E's salute to Hispanic heritage, debuted this year, with an appearance by Daisy Martinez of PBS' "Daisy Cooks" and a special Latin performance by Dian Diaz. The Food Court came alive with the Latin beat and Salsa lessons were offered on the Midway. The Big E also sponsored a poster contest, "My Family, My Heritage" (Mi Familia, Mi Herencia). Six students from Springfield and West Springfield elementary and middle schools received prizes for their entries.The experienced connoisseur or the uninitiated had the opportunity to partake in a palate-pleasing adventure at this year's Fair. Wine tastings were offered daily at Storrowton Village Museum's Gift Shop. For a $5 tasting fee, Big E guests could sample three different wines which rotated throughout the Fair. The tastings showcased various wines from as near as New England and New York to as far away as Chile and South Africa. Many of the wines were winners in the second annual Big E Northeast Gold Wine Competition.The Big E went "Green" this year in an effort to conserve energy and keep the environment healthy. All plastic cold drink cups and paper napkins were biodegradable and recyclable. The cups were made in the U.S. of Nebraska corn. The napkins were made with a high proportion of recycled fiber and produced using carbon neutral fuels, such as wood residue and biofuels. Amazing Performances on Two Stages - Country, Rock and Pop kept concert-goers hopping. The Comcast Arena Stage, with seating for 6,100, hosted DAUGHTRY, Trace Adkins and Montgomery Gentry in ticketed concerts. $1.5 million in free entertainment included performances by Rock legend Joan Jett, rising Pop star Brooke Hogan, fifth-season American Idol winner Taylor Hicks and Country music star Josh Turner.Entertainment on the Court of Honor Stage, sponsored by Comcast, included performances by Dian Diaz, Maxine Nightingale, The Tymes, Chuck Negron and PovertyNeck Hillbillies. The popular outdoor stage was also host to JIGU! Thunder Drums of China, sponsored by Big Y World Class Market, a world-renown group of 28 drummers, percussionists and musicians.The all-new Big E Super Circus, sponsored by Coca-Cola, featured The Flying Pages flying trapeze act, Calusari Teeterboard Troupe, Johnny Peers Comedy Dogs, Alesya's Hula Hoops, Gagik Hand Balancing Act, Fusco Brothers Juggling and Ringmistress Heidi Herriott.The Storrowton Gazebo, sponsored by Bernardino's Bakery, showcased John Bressler who has appeared in events across the country and astonishes crowds with his mastery of six electronic keyboards and unique vocals. Michael and Jennifer Raccio, of Waterbury, Conn., won the online Marriage on the Midway contest and said their vows in front of 100 guests on The Big E's North American Midway Saturday, Sept. 15. Ten finalists were selected from all submitted essays and photos and online voting determined the lucky couple. The wedding included a cream puff wedding cake and reception on the Midway.The Royal Can[...]
Fri, 06 Apr 2007 16:06:01 EDTThe latest information on the EHV-1 situation in Maine is as follows:
Tue, 03 Apr 2007 13:46:28 EDTOn Saturday, April 21st, the Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association (MOFGA) will host a volunteer work day in celebration of Earth Day. MOFGA's Landscaping Committee is organizing activities for the day at the Common Ground Education Center in Unity. Volunteers will focus on grounds clean-up and spring garden prep. The event gets under way at 9:00 a.m. and will run through 3:00 p.m. MOFGA will provide snacks and a hearty lunch for volunteers. Anyone interested in participating should contact MOFGA at (207) 568-4142 or firstname.lastname@example.org so coordinators will know how much food to prepare.
Mon, 02 Apr 2007 16:06:15 EDTOne of North America's largest pet food suppliers-Menu Foods of Streetsville, Toronto--began a recall of some of its premium dog and cat foods on March 16th, after the pet food was associated with the deaths of 16 dogs and cats. The recall was limited to Menu's "cuts and gravy" style pet foods sold in cans and pouches. Menu Foods produces private-label and contract-manufactured pet foods for certain national brands and its products can be found in Wal-Mart, Safeway and other major food retailers. The products affected by the recall include products manufactured between December 3, 2006 and March 6, 2007, at two of Menu's United States facilities in Emporia, Kansas and Pennsauken, New Jersey.
Fri, 15 Jun 2007 12:13:01 EDTThe U.S. House now has legislation (H.R. 1217) that, if passed, would provide Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) owners with tax incentives for complying with new environmental regulations. The incentives would be intended to help CAFO owners pay for some of the costs incurred by new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations aimed at controlling waste runoff. Permit costs and modifications to livestock operations could cost producers hundreds of thousands of dollars each. Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) introduced the bill. Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) has introduced similar legislation (S. 285) in the Senate.
Mon, 02 Apr 2007 16:02:43 EDTThe U.S. Food & Drug Administration plans to study the possibility of avian influenza contamination in prepared foods, animal feed and poultry if the disease enters the United States. FDA will create and maintain a list of foods and dietary supplements that could be at risk of contamination because they contain poultry meat, are derived from animals that may have been exposed to sick birds or have come into contact with infected humans.
Mon, 02 Apr 2007 16:01:10 EDTA report recently coauthored by the Energy Information Administration and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) indicates both production and demand for ethanol in the United States soared in 2006. Production of ethanol reached 4.86 billion gallons--an average of 317,000 barrels per day (b/d) or 13.3 million gallons per day-in 2006. That is an increase of 24.3 percent over 2005.
Mon, 02 Apr 2007 15:57:50 EDTThe U.S. Department of Agriculture has 60 days to decide whether to appeal a federal judge's ruling that allows Creekstone Farms Premium Beef to test its cattle for bovine spongiform encephalopathy. USDA is reviewing the court's decision.