Farming workshop to focus on healthy soil practices

4 years ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Farmers are invited to join Maine Farmland Trust, The University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Southern Aroostook Soil and Water Conservation District, Central Aroostook Soil and Water Conservation District and fellow farmers on Wednesday, Feb. 19, for a day of learning about how healthy soil practices can benefit farm operations in Maine. 

The event will be held at the University of Maine at Presque Isle from 8:45 a.m. to 3 p.m.

  The day will begin with a plenary session with Brendon Rockey of Rockey Farms in Center, Colorado. Rockey will explain how past destructive farming practices and drought were catalysts for adopting a biological farming system that supports not only soil health but the overall farm’s health. 

Rockey is a third-generation farmer. On Rockey Farms, he raises specialty potatoes and quinoa among cover crop fields, all cultivated in a living environment. Through companion crops, animals, cover crops and flowers, Rockey’s 500-acre farm sustains yields, has greater water efficiency and supports a flourishing ecosystem. 

At 7,600 feet above sea level, Rockey Farms also produces year-round certified seed potatoes in a greenhouse while operating an off-farm packaging warehouse.

  Throughout the day presenters will speak on topics such as the science and profitability of soil health (Adam Daigneault, E.L. Giddings assistant professor of forest, conservation, and recreation policy, University of Maine); potato farmer perspectives on the changing climate and soil health (John Jemison, Extension professor of soil and water quality, University of Maine Cooperative Extension); and reduced tillage, rotations, and cover crops (Ellen Mallory,  Extension specialist and professor of sustainable agriculture, University of Maine Cooperative Extension; Matt Ramsay, farmer, Oyster Cove Farms, Prince Edward Island; Rick Kersbergen, Extension professor of sustainable dairy and forage systems, University of Maine Cooperative Extension). 

The day will conclude with a panel of farmers who will share their experiences with soil health practices, as well as the barriers to farmers using these practices.

  Completion of this program will result in 4 Certified Crop Advisor (3 Soil & Water, 1 Crop Management) 2 Pesticide credits, and 4 Nutrient Management Credits.

  Admission is $15. Register in advance at: Walk-in attendees are also welcome.

For more information, or to register over the phone, call Maine Farmland Trust: 207-338-6575.