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UMass Extension

In 2018, Extension personnel from the Universities of Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island documented production practices and took soil and leaf samples from 20 tomato high tunnels in those 4 states, with support from the New England Vegetable and Berry Growers' Association. Soil and tissue samples were analyzed at the Universities of Maine and Massachusetts labs. Here are some guidelines for optimizing tomato production based on the data collected.

One of the frequently overlooked consequences of American military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq is that many thousands of children of National Guard and Reserve households are experiencing the deployment of a family member. Those children can experience problems coping with new family circumstances, new responsibilities and new stresses that are now part of their daily lives. A specific, critical need for Massachusetts is that many of our Reserve and National Guard personnel do not live on or near military bases.

More than 22% of the population of Massachusetts is under age 18. These young people are the future workforce and leaders of our state and our nation. The healthy development of these youth cannot be left to chance. Since 1919, the Massachusetts 4-H Program has provided support, resources and educational opportunities to Massachusetts youth. The mission of Massachusetts 4-H is to prepare youth to become independent and contributing members of society by providing them with the tools they need to be successful.

The 4-H Sustainable Communities Project will engage young people in the city of Springfield in the out of school time hours to provide educational enrichment and promote life skills development. An area of national and local need that has been identified by the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, National 4-H Council and UMass Extension 4-H is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math education (STEM). Education in the STEM disciplines is critical for preparing a globally and regionally competitive workforce.

Phytophthora species consistently rank as some of the most devastating disease agents in Massachusetts farms. Two species, P. infestans and P. capsici, attack regionally important vegetable crops, including cucurbits, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and potatoes. In 2007, over 8,000 acres of vegetable crops susceptible to infection by P. capsici and P. infestans were harvested in Massachusetts.

We worked with Massachusetts growers on a broad range of activities related to Integrated Pest Management for diversified vegetable and fruit farms. One of the core components of this project is working with several 'mentor farms,' who grow both fruits and vegetables and are open to expanding their use of advanced integrated pest management techniques as well as working with us to better understand how a diversified farm can use IPM.  We also conducted field trials on-farm and at our research farm on IPM methods identified by growers as their priorities each year.

The Brassica Pest Collaborative (BPC) is a project funded by Northeast-SARE that brings together Extension educators and researchers from UMass, UConn, UNH and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County to collaborate on research and education to improve management of this suite of insect pests.

The Building Energy Extension Program conveys current energy efficiency, renewable energy, and building science information to stakeholders including those in the building trades, design professionals, state government agencies, and building owners and occupants through workshops, web publication, and consulting. Applied research in building energy systems and is conducted to respond to perceived stakeholder need.

While good nutrition and moderate physical activity can promote health and delay disability in older adults, most do not follow dietary recommendations, and fruit, vegetable and whole grain consumption remains low. Several studies have indicated that older adults can increase fruit and vegetable intakes through nutrition education. Additional and innovative efforts are needed, however, to make progress toward achieving national guidelines in diverse populations of older adults.

The vast majority of the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts have volunteer planning boards and zoning boards of appeal. These boards have significant decision-making power over zoning, development, natural resource protection, and other important land use issues that relate to the well being of the environment. With the complexity of changing state regulations and without dedicated professional staff, many board members struggle to stay informed of new developments, and the tools and techniques that can promote better decisions or avoid unnecessary or costly appeals.


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