Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Augusta Civic Center
Each year at Maine's Agricultural Trades Show, MOFGA offers a series of presentations and discussion groups covering a wide range of sustainable agriculture subjects. All presentations are free and open to the public. MOFGA has an information exhibit during all three days of the Trades Show. Staff and Committee members are available to answer questions about MOFGA's ongoing programs. There is no pre-registration for the day's events.
MOFGA members are encouraged to attend the Association's Annual Meeting, which will be held at 1:30 pm in the Piscataquis/Sagadahoc Rooms.
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9-10 am – Organic Certification 101 (Cumberland Room)
If you market and sell products as ORGANIC, chances are good you need to need to be certified by a USDA-accredited certifier to comply with USDA regulations. MOFGA Certification Staff will provide an overview of organic production practices. Information on how to become certified organic will also be presented. Presented by Mary Yurlina, Director of MOFGA Certification Services
9-10 am – On-Farm Composting (Piscataquis/Sagadahoc)
Making compost on your farm can be an important and cost-effective way to manage fertility and close nutrient cycles. Join Tony Ramsey of Living Acres Compost for an overview of on-farm compost production considerations and techniques, and hear from Mike Bahner of Bahner Farm about how he has developed and is tweaking his operation.
10-11 am – Pests and Diseases of 2013 and What to Expect for 2014 (Cumberland Room)
Winters are not as cold as they used to be. Springs are wetter than they once were. Summers are drier than in the past. The pests don't seem to mind. Come see if you can recognize anyone in the pictures, and discuss preparation and possible solutions for next season. Discussion led by MOFGA’s Organic Crop Specialist, Eric Sideman. 1 pesticide credit available.*
10-11 am – Alternative Feeds for Ruminants (Piscataquis/Sagadahoc)
Rick Kersbergen and Douglas Hartkopf will speak on alternative annual feed crops that you could plant for your ruminant animals. Sorghum sudan and millet are examples of what will be discussed.
11-12 pm – Guardian Animals in Sustainable Farming (Cumberland Room)
Our Maine farms have the potential to be landscapes where biodiversity thrives, and carnivores play a vital role in supporting biodiversity. Many Maine farmers use animal husbandry practices to coexist with carnivores on their farms. One such practice is the use of Guardian animals – dogs, donkeys and llamas. This program will introduce you to these guard animals, and discuss how they can be effective partners on your farm. Come hear from farmers who are already successfully coexisting, and by doing so, achieving economic success. Presented by Geri Vistein, David Kennard, Billy Foster. 1 pesticide credit available.*
11-12 pm – Markets Beyond Maine (Piscataquis/Sagadahoc)
Is it time to explore the potentially lucrative markets to our south and west? What do you need to know and how should you prepare to access these markets? A panel of folks from across the supply chain will discuss these topics. Moderated by Cheryl Wixson, MOFGA's Organic Marketing Consultant
12-1:30pm – Commissioner's Luncheon
1:30 pm-3:00 pm – MOFGA Annual Meeting (Piscataquis/Sagadahoc)
Hear from MOFGA Staff, Board Members and Committee Chairs regarding the organization’s activities and accomplishments over the past year. Elect MOFGA’s Board of Directors for the coming year and network with members.
3-4 pm – Soil Management Without Taking Land Out of Production for a Full Year (Cumberland Room)
For some farms, taking land out of production to grow cover crops for a whole season may not be possible. Seasonally wet ground, limited cropping space, equipment demands and financial needs may present difficulties in crop rotation. This session will focus on management techniques for soil health utilizing short season cover crops, composting and rotation planning. Presented by Dave Colson, MOFGA Agricultural Services Director
3-4 pm – Farming for Pollinators and Other Beneficial Insects (Piscataquis/ Sagadahoc)
Eric will discuss his pollinator research on Maine organic blueberry farms, where he has been planting forage plants for native bees and examining how this impacts pollination service on blueberry crops. He will also discuss how you can promote populations of beneficial insects on your farm. Presented by Eric Venturini, University of Maine Ecology and Environmental Sciences Graduate Program
4-5 pm – MeHO: The Maine Heritage Orchard (Cumberland Room)
During 2013 dozens of MOFGA volunteers, staff and a few big machines transformed a closed and depleted ten acre gravel pit into a terraced orchard site. The site will become home to hundreds of rare Maine heirloom apples and pears. It will also be a true poly-culture, with hundreds of other "companion" species sharing the ten acres. Come see slides of the apples, the trees, and the miraculous transformation. Join John Bunker and others to hear about what we've done and what's coming next.
4-5 pm – Advanced Cover Crop Management (Piscataquis/ Sagadahoc)
Cover crops can be used for many things like weed suppression or to add organic matter, but this session will focus on the specifics of using cover crops to add nitrogen and to hold nutrients. Specific crops, timing, planting methods, and plow down strategies will be covered. Presented by Marianne Sarrantonio, University of Maine. 1 pesticide credit available.*
* By April 1, 2015 any grower who annually sells more than $1,000 worth of plants or plant products intended for human consumption and who uses general use pesticides (including those approved for use in organic production) must obtain an Agricultural Basic pesticide applicator license from Maine's Board of Pesticides Control. Details.