Friday, July 25, 2014

Open Farm Day is July 27th

Open Farm Day is an annual family adventure in which farms throughout all 16 counties open their gates to offer the public an opportunity to learn about the business of agriculture. Open Farm Day gives families the chance to visit local farms throughout the state.

Farms around the state participate to commit to ensuring the sustainability of agriculture. Maine’s farming industry has given back to their communities by providing a forum for education and learning in a fun atmosphere. Many farms will have demonstrations, displays, farm-raised products for sale and animals and crops to experience. Activities include barn and field tours, milking, hay rides, petting zoos, nature trails, beautiful scenery, samples for tasting and refreshments.

For a list of this year’s participating farms, visit and search for Open Farm Day Participants by clicking Find a Farm and selecting Open Farm Day from the Agritourism activities search options.

Interested farm participants should contact Jessica Nixon at or at 207-287-3494.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Managing Livestock on Pasture Workshop to be hosted by the Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District

Effective livestock management can be influenced by many factors, which differ depending upon the type of livestock. Whether you are managing beef or dairy cows, goats, sheep, horses or other animals, or interested in doing so, please join us on Saturday, April 5th from 9:00AM to noon at the Sangerville Community Room for a Managing Livestock on Pasture Workshop, where you can learn about how to harvest more high quality forage through livestock grazing, how to identify and manage weeds and other related topics.

 How USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service programs can assist you with effective livestock management will also be discussed. This workshop is being hosted by the Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District (PCSWCD), in partnership with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Piscataquis County office, and sponsored by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Donna Coffin, the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Educator in Piscataquis County for over 30 years will be a featured presenter at the Managing Livestock on Pasture Workshop. Her areas of expertise include sustainable agriculture and home horticulture for Piscataquis and Penobscot counties. She also plans statewide programs for the beef and horse industry. She received her Master of Science degree from the University of Maine in Animal Science in the area of animal nutrition.

USDA-NRCS Financial and Technical Assistance Programs that are available for livestock producers will be discussed by Lance Gorham, USDA-NRCS Resource Conservationist. Gorham received his Bachelors of Science in Forestry from the University of Missouri. He later received a Master of Studies in Environmental Law and a Juris Doctor from Vermont Law School. He worked throughout the Southeast with the United States Geological Survey-National Wetlands Research Center before moving to New England in 2000. In his work as a USDA-NRCS Resource Conservationist, Gorham applies his lifelong passion of natural resource management to help landowners in Maine. He also works with land trusts to ensure farm and forestlands are preserved for future generations.
Workshop participants will have the opportunity to ask questions about effective livestock management. Informational handouts will be provided to support the topics discussed during the workshop.

Although there is no cost for the Managing Livestock on Pasture Workshop, pre-registration is required by Monday, March 31st. For more information and to pre-register, please stop by our office at the USDA Service Center, located at the Pine Crest Business Park at 42 Engdahl Drive in Dover-Foxcroft. You may also pre-register by emailing the PCSWCD at or by calling 564 – 2321, Extension 3. If you need special accommodations to attend this workshop, please notify the PCSWCD by March 28th

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tree and Plant Sale at the Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District

Even though the snow keeps falling, we are starting to see and hear the signs of springtime! Now is the time to plan ahead for your orchards, gardens and natural landscape. The Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District Tree and Plant Sale pre-order deadline is Wednesday, March 12th, with pickup dates from April 21st through 25th.
This year we are pleased to offer a variety of bare root stock trees and shrubs for landscaping, whether your passion is for flowering trees, rose bushes, native berry bushes or nuts! We also offer an abundance of orchard trees, including apples, plums, crabapples, and cherries, as well as companion plants to help your orchard thrive. We have strawberry bundles, blueberries, grape vines and even asparagus. Some plants provide both food and habitat for birds, mammals, butterflies and also bees, which are necessary for pollination. We have ferns, lily of the valleys, giant Solomon’s seal and other plants to enhance the shady areas in your yard as well as garden and tree peonies to add real show and fragrance to your sunny garden.
We also offer some medicinal plants such as Canadian wild ginger, lavender, and arnica, as well as plants that add winter interest like red osier dogwood and witch hazel. We are offering hard-cider apple collections, as well as a hybrid plum collection, to help get your new orchard started. We have also added hops to our offerings for those of you who like to brew your own beer! Special this year, we have a limited supply of locally grown chestnut seedlings, both American as well as hybrid, to help repopulate the chestnut trees that were taken by blight 100 years ago. As Piscataquis County is on the outer edges of the chestnut trees original region, successful  re-establishment of these stately trees is currently underway in our region, and landowners are encouraged to get involved in this effort. Most of our offerings are hardy to zone 4 so they should be well adapted to our area.
Creative and functional landscaping not only can prevent or eliminate problem areas on your land or adjacent water, but also can enhance the value of your home. Erosion control plants may be necessary for steeper areas of your property, areas adjacent to water bodies for prevention of runoff, and any area where there are no existing plants to help keep the soil in place. Our selection of native Maine plants can also be used to create beautiful rain gardens.
Rain gardens are designed to utilize water from roofs, driveways and other hard areas to control runoff problems and to protect water quality. They are not only functional, but are also attractive additions for a welcoming landscape. Our landscape helpers include Plantskydd Organic Animal Repellent, Recycled Rain Barrels, Kitchen Pails and Garden Composters as well as Biodegradable Mesh Tree Protector Sleeves. Plantskydd is effective against deer, rabbits, voles, moose, chipmunks, and squirrels. It offers over-winter plant protection for up to 6 months! No other repellent lasts as long. Plantskydd is ORGANIC - the first animal repellent to be OMRI listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute for organic food production. It is made in the USA.

For more information about the wide variety of plants and products available through this fundraiser that supports our educational programs, please contact the district office at 564 - 2321, extension 3, email us at or stop by the United States Department of Agriculture Service Center in the Pine Crest Business Park at 42 Engdahl Drive, Dover – Foxcroft, Monday through Friday, 8am until 4:30pm.