Healthy Soils, Healthy Farms
February 19 @ 8:45 am - 3:00 pm$15.00
Join MFT, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Southern Aroostook Soil and Water Conservation District, Central Aroostook Soil and Water Conservation District, and fellow farmers for a day of learning about how healthy soils practices can benefit your farm operation. 4 Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) credits and 2 pesticide credits are being offered for this program.
$15 — Register HERE.
8:45am-9:30am: Registration and Coffee/Tea/Light Breakfast
9:30am-10:30am: Morning Plenary
Biotic Farming Fundamentals and Applications: Comprehending the carbon cycle to support a healthy farm system
Brendon Rockey will explain how past destructive farming practices and drought were catalysts for adopting his biotic farming methods. The Rockey Farms journey includes the development of a systematic approach founded on carbon cycling and water efficiency. It demonstrates how synthetic inputs and the absence of life breakdown soil resiliency and, in turn, how a biological farming system supports not only soil health, but the overall farm’s health.
Welcome & Introduction: Ellen Griswold, Policy & Research Director, MFT. Presentation and Q&A: Brendon Rockey, Potato Farmer, Rockey Farms, Colorado
10:45am to 11:30am: The Science and Profitability of Soil Health
An overview of potential practices that could be implemented by Maine’s farmers to improve soil health and mitigate the effects of climate change. Emphasis will be placed on discussing practices that have the greatest potential to be implemented across the state, taking into account the benefits and costs of doing so. Possible policies and pathways to achieve widespread implementation of soil health practices will also be discussed.
Presented by Adam Daigneault, E.L. Giddings Assistant Professor of Forest, Conservation, and Recreation Policy, University of Maine
11:30am to 12:15pm: Research on Potato Farmer Perspectives
Agricultural producers are at the forefront of adapting to a changing climate. In 2011, interviews were conducted with 15 commodity groups, including potato growers, on the future of Maine agriculture, and asked if they were implementing changes due to changing weather patterns. In 2019, John Jemison interviewed potato farmers in Maine and Southern Colorado about their perceptions of changing weather patterns and practices they had implemented on their farms to combat climate change. This presentation will cover the similarities and differences in growers’ responses over location and time.
Presented by John Jemison, Extension Professor of Soil and Water Quality, University of Maine Cooperative Extension.
1:15pm-2:15pm: Reduced Tillage, Rotations and Cover Crops
Farmer Matt Ramsay will share his strategies and experiences with managing soil health on a PEI potato farm through rotations, cover crops and reduced tillage. Matt operates the 4th generation Oyster Cover Farms along with his father and two brothers, and is an active member of the PEI Potato Board Soil Working Group, the Kensington North Watershed Association, and the PEI Soil and Crop Improvement Association. Rick Kersbergen, UMaine Extension, will follow with key tips from Maine corn silage growers based on their experiences over the last decade with switching to no-till and cover cropping.
Presented by Ellen Mallory, Extension Specialist & Professor of Sustainable Agriculture, University of Maine Cooperative Extension; Matt Ramsay, Farmer, Oyster Cove Farms, PEI; Rick Kersbergen, Extension Professor of Sustainable Dairy and Forage Systems, University of Maine Cooperative Extension.
2:15pm-3:00pm: Farmer Panel
Farmers share their experiences with soil health practices, as well as the barriers to farmers using these practices.
Panel will include Brendon Rockey, Matt Ramsey, and Sean O’Donnell of Rusted Rooster Farm.