News from the fields, farms and beyond…

It’s that time of year again when Maryland’s black bear population is on the move and every so often Cecil County gets a visit from these impressive creatures.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources urges people to leave the bears alone and let them pass through. Typically the bears are young males in search of a mate and Cecil County is just in their path, not their destination.

Bring in bird feeders at night and other sources of food including pet food. Make sure trash can lids are on tight.

If a bear gets too close for comfort make a lot of noise to send it on its way.

While a bear sighting in Elk Neck in 2019 was never verified by DNR, in 2018 a black bear was spotted near Cecil County Dragway in North East. Hailey Racine told the Whig she thought it was a Labrador retriever at first. However a DNR official identified it as a juvenile male bear. Two years earlier a bear, who was dubbed “Cecil” was tracked as he moved through the county from Elkton to Charlestown.

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If you would like to be one of the workshop presenters at the Future Harvest Annual Winter Conference you have until Aug. 30 to submit your request for proposal. This year’s theme for the Jan. 13-15, 2022 conference is “Together Again.”

“Proposals should be relevant to the audience and help them (primarily commercial growers) improve their operations in order to be financially successful,” according to the Future Harvest RFP. “Most of the workshops should be about farm production or business and marketing. Other workshops related to the environment, labor, policy, the food system and the community are also welcome.”

For more information contact Gail Taylor, conference manager via email; gail@futureharvest.org.

To submit your proposal go to futureharvestcasa.org

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There are a few spaces available for vendors at the Calvert Grange Yard Sale this Saturday, June 26. Proceeds benefit the Grange Scholarship program.

Spaces range in price from $20 to $30. You must bring your own table if you have an outdoor space. Indoor sales go on rain or shine. Outdoor sales are weather dependent.

The sale, along with food sales, will be held at the grange hall, 2357 Telegraph Road, Rising Sun, from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.

For details or enrollment as a vendor go to calvertgrange.com

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University of Delaware Extension has a free podcast offering unbiased information on a wide array of topics. On Extension 302 you can learn “All about that pasture” in one episode and “Got Dairy?” in the next.

A complete list of the published podcasts that can be accessed is available at https://www.udel.edu/academics/colleges/canr/cooperative-extension/about/podcast/

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Did you know this is Pollinator Week? It’s seven days to focus on this beneficial segment of nature that makes our food possible.

Companies, agencies, land owners and organizations are getting involved by preserving existing habitat, creating new habitat and changing practices to save valuable species such as the honeybee, bat and Monarch butterfly.

According to US Department of Agriculture, pollinators play a role in the production of more than 100 different types of crops in the United States and the honeybee alone adds $18 million to the ag economy.

“The health of these agricultural contributors is critical to the vitality and sustainability of U.S. agriculture, food security, and our nation’s overall economy. Pollinators are also essential for healthy, biodiverse ecosystems across public and private lands, including our agricultural lands and our National Forests and grasslands,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “I applaud pollinator conservation efforts happening across our nation. I recognize we have a lot more work to do to protect these important agricultural contributors and creating awareness about the importance of pollinators is a continued step to ensuring pollinators thrive.”

Pollinator.org is a non-profit based in California whose sole mission is to save pollinators through education and outreach. Check out their website for resources for your home, farm and classroom.

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If there’s any bright spot in the pandemic it has been an increase in outdoor recreation including horseback riding.

Maryland Horse Industry Board conducted an online survey in April and the results show a 35% increase in public traffic at riding stables, a 28% increase in outdoor horse shows and events, and a 60% increase in business at tack shops.

“The results of these informal surveys show that interest in Maryland’s horse industry and recreational riding is at an all-time high and reflects what we have been hearing from members of Maryland’s horse community over the past year,” said Maryland Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder.

Jim Steele, chairman of MHIB, said it shows the resilience of Maryland’s ag community.

“We are proud to see Maryland’s stable owners and show organizers were quickly able to pivot and implement strict public health protocols at their facilities. Their fast action allowed for more Marylanders to experience horseback riding,” Steele said. “Now, we hope that the industry can maintain this momentum and provide safe and quality experiences to even more citizens.”

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In an effort to help the next generation of farmers, American Farm Bureau has launched Think F.A.S.T. for young people 14-17.

F.A.S.T. stands for Farm and Ag Safety Training.

“Safety on the farm and ranch is vital,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Young people are the future of agriculture and we’re pleased to provide them with tools to help them become grounded in skills that will serve them well throughout their careers.”

The overall goal is to learn how to think through a situation and learn about avoiding common safety hazards.

There are 10 modules that take about 10 minutes to complete. The curriculum and all related materials are available on the AFBF website at fb.org

If you have a farm related event, idea or story you’d like to share in AgriCulture contact Jane Bellmyer at jbellmyer@cecilwhig.com or 443-245-5007

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