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UMass Extension

National 4-H Mentoring Program: Tech Wizards

The 4-H Tech Wizards program is designed to expose youth to technology, help them understand how to better utilize it, have some experiences with it and learn about different possible careers that involve technology. By becoming 4-H members, meeting for a set number of times as a 4-H group with a specific technology focus (using a broad spectrum of options) as a project, youth will learn about that technology as well as participate in community service.

Pesticide Education

Pesticides are vital tools for controlling pests and maintaining an adequate food supply. If used improperly, pesticides can also threaten human health and the natural environment. Inexperienced applicators, accidents, inadequate protection and equipment continue to be areas of concern that increase the potential for negative personal and environmental impacts from pesticide exposure.

Plant Disease Diagnostics

The University of Massachusetts Amherst recognizes the importance of reliable and prompt diagnosis of plant problems for the turf, floriculture, vegetable, nursery, urban forestry and landscape industries. We serve farmers, horticulturists, landscape contractors, turf managers, arborists, nurseries, and others in agriculture and the green industries. The lab also assesses ticks for Lyme disease as a service to the public.

Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management

Vigorously growing plants require adequate, but not excessive, essential nutrients. Nutrients must be provided in the right form, at the right time, and at the right place. Management of all nutrients sources (i.e., soil, commercial fertilizer, compost, and animal and green manure) within the constraints of the production system is fundamental to both economic viability and environmental quality. Poor management of plant nutrients can lead to economic losses and environmental degradation of soil, air, and water quality.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Education Program (SNAP-Ed)

The UMass Extension SNAP-Ed program is part of a national nutrition education effort funded through the US Department of Agriculture's Supplemental Assistance Program (SNAP). The overarching goal of SNAP-Ed is to provide nutrition education programs and activities that help adults and youth eligible for SNAP to establish healthy eating habits and physically active lifestyles.

Sustainable Cranberry Production

The cranberry industry in Massachusetts faces many challenges. In the past ten years, growers have gone from receiving record high prices for their fruit to record low prices. Although the industry has rebounded, the focus to remain economically competitive and environmentally sustainable has sharpened. It is anticipated that the industry may lose some acreage due to attrition and that smaller growers may sell their land. As with all farmers, energy costs are rising quickly, impacting the bottom line. Growers must develop and adopt innovative technology to remain competitive.

Sustainable Fruit Production and Marketing

Fruit farms and vineyards provide open space and scenic vistas that add significantly to the quality of life in Massachusetts. The lands surrounding agricultural production provide buffer zones for native species of plants and animals and corridors for their movement or expansion. To remain a vital part of the Massachusetts economy, both new and established growers must learn to produce crops sustainably and to adapt production systems to market opportunities. New varieties provide fruit farmers with opportunities for enhancing production, quality, sales and consumption. 

Sustainable Greenhouse Management

According to the USDA New England Agricultural Statistics, nursery and greenhouse production was ranked first among the state's agricultural commodities in 2009 with sales estimated at $168 million. According to a 2007 survey, conducted by the New England Nursery Association there are more than 5,130 firms that are involved in production (nurseries, greenhouses, herbs, cut flowers, turfgrass) retail (garden centers, florists) and landscape services. Forty-six percent of these operations combined these different business elements.

Sustainable Landscape Management and Nursery Production

Locally, the Green Industry is a major sector of agriculture in Massachusetts.  According to a 2007 survey conducted by the New England Nursery Association, in Massachusetts, there are more than 5,130 firms involved in production (nurseries, greenhouses, herbs, cut flowers, turfgrass) retail, (garden center florists), and landscape services (landscape design, installation, maintenance, lawn care, tree care) with an estimated value of over $2.6 billion in gross income.

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