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Soil Health Workshops Help Growers Learn How to Farm With Nature
UMass Extension educators teach attendees about soil health
Nov 18, 2014

More than 200 vegetable farmers, agriculture students, and other members of the Bay State’s agriculture community attended two free workshops designed to help improve the soil’s capacity to function as a vital living system that sustains plant, animal and human health. Farming with Nature: Improving Soil Health on Vegetable Farms was offered twice: on Wednesday, Nov. 5th in Amherst and on Thursday, Nov. 6th in Dighton.

Envirothon 2015: High School Students and Coaches Gather at UMass Amherst for Workshops
Forester Joe Perry runs tree identification workshop
Nov 12, 2014

There was a buzz in the air as they arrived from Cape Cod, the North Shore, Central and Western Massachusetts.  Planning for the 26th year of Massachusetts Envirothon was well under way, as over 200 students from 23 high school teams across the Commonwealth gathered at UMass Amherst on November 5th for a jam-packed day of education and preparation. Will Snyder, UMass Extension Educator and Chair of Mass Envirothon, said, “The enthusiasm is high this year.  We have more teams than ever before and greater numbers of student participation. High school students and their coaches along with several veteran Envirothon team members (now UMass students), statewide presenters and Mass Envirothon Steering Committee members learned about topics related to chosen natural resources. 

UMass Extension Commemorates 100th Anniversary at September Celebration
Former and current Extension Faculty and staff gather
Sep 26, 2014

A century of community education, outreach and service through UMass Extension was marked at a celebratory gathering on September 26, 2014 on the UMass Amherst campus. Retired and current faculty and staff, students, government officials, community partners and regional farmers gathered for what was truly a “once in a lifetime“ event at the University’s flagship campus, site of Extension’s founding back when UMass was known as Massachusetts Agricultural College (MAC).

The Agricultural Census for Massachusetts, Demystified?
Screen shot of census web page
Oct 16, 2014

Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS) conducts a census of farming, working to document the facts about every farm in the country, down to the state and county level. The results of the Agricultural Census provide the most complete picture we have of the directions agriculture is moving and the trends that are emerging. Now there’s an alternative way to sample the results. With the help of our colleagues in UMass Amherst’s Department of Resource Economics, we’ve posted our own tables, charts and some interpretation of the results on our website.

New 4-H Club Plants Many a Smile in Newton
Newton 4-H club: Visual Presentation Awards: Jennifer Buras, Katharine Axon, Daisy Proskauer, Elena Morris Kelly
Sep 8, 2014

It is not hard to hear the enthusiasm for 4-H in Michael Buras’s voice as it spills out of the telephone. Early in 2013, he helped to start a new club that young members have named, “Plant a Smile.”  Just as most good efforts get started, this one began with a great 4-H experience. Buras’ youngest daughter attended a summer camp and encouraged the formation of a permanent 4-H club in her hometown.

In a very short time, this club has grown to involve eight girls, 12 year olds, who are dedicated to the projects they undertake. Initially, they planted a lot of flowers, vegetables, and shrubs, quickly growing into their chosen name.
 

Crop Research Showcased at UMass Farm in South Deerfield
Mass Ag Field Day research updates
Jul 29, 2014

Enjoy watching pigs run alongside foraging crops? Bumble bees being examined for disease-transmission effects from flowers? Examples of energy-efficient food storage? If so, you would have enjoyed UMass Agricultural Field Day on July 29th. Held under clear skies just twelve hours after an impressive thunderstorm, about 80 farmers, organizational representatives, researchers and others gathered in South Deerfield at the Crop and Animal Research Farm on North River Road from 10:00 to 4:00.

Down to Earth: Nursery and Flower Growers Cover Lots of Ground at Annual Conference
Dr. Michael Dirr, keynote speaker at MNLA conference
Jul 24, 2014

Beautiful weather, a wonderful setting, a plethora of flowering plants, soft turfgrass and knowledgeable speakers all came together perfectly to make the annual joint summer meeting of the Massachusetts Nursery and Landscape Association (MNLA) and the Massachusetts Flower Growers Association (MFGA) a valuable event for all who attended. UMass Extension coordinated the day’s educational program, bringing in a variety of speakers and topics for the landscape, nursery and greenhouse industries. 

Massachusetts Fruit Growers Convene at Cold Spring Orchard
Jon Clements explains IPM at Mass Fruit Growers Assoc meeting
Jul 14, 2014

On July 9, Massachusetts fruit farmers convened at the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Fruit Growers’ Association, held at the UMass Cold Spring Orchard Research and Education Center in Belchertown. More than 100 orchardists from all over Massachusetts came together to learn about new methods for growing many of the varieties of fruit they make available to buyers on their orchards and at farmers’ markets.

Fruitful Partnerships: Two Eastern Mass. Farms to Continue Working with UMass Amherst
Pollinator Workshop at Powisett Farm
Jul 1, 2014

On the heels of a successful Spring 2014 Mass Aggie Seminar series held with two new partners in eastern Massachusetts, key organizer Sonia Schloemann (Extension Educator and Fruit Specialist at UMass Amherst), is already planning another set of programs next year with the two farms. Powisett Farm in Dover, Mass. and Tangerini Farms in Millis have been model collaborators, according to Schloemann.  “Powisett and Tangerini Farms were great co-hosts. They share similar values regarding investment in community education and we are delighted to be putting ideas together with them for spring 2015.”

Teens Focused on Sustainable Local Agriculture at This Year’s Massachusetts Envirothon
Berkley 4-H team competes at MA Envirothon
May 21, 2014

The setting for this year’s high school Envirothon, Sholan Farms in Leominster, Mass., could not have been more beautiful, nor more appropriate. The hard work, curiosity and environmental passion of 31 teams of high school students and their teacher-coaches was obvious from start to finish.  The all-day environmental competition showcased serious student investment in learning about this timely issue. All schools gave a 15-minute presentation on Sustainable Local Agriculture to a panel of judges.
 

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