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by Dale Finseth
Kennebec County remains a county full of farms. We have fewer dairy farms than we used to, but just about the same number of cows being milked. We have some of the largest dairy farms in Maine. And in the Clinton area, the "Dairy Capitol of Maine", they will be hosting Maine Farm Days. This year, it is on Wednesday and Thursday, August 23 and 24.
On those two days, the public will be invited to visit Misty Meadows Farm, a large dairy farm which hosts Maine Farm Days Agricultural Trade Show. They grow hundreds of acres of their own feed, mostly corn, and raise many of their own replacement cows. They harvest truck loads of feed for their animals and they milk about 700 cows. Add to that the 500 head of young stock and they manage a herd of about 1,200. All of this work is on display for the public to visit during the two days of Maine Farm Days. Come and see how Misty Meadows has grown. Enjoy the Natural Resource Conservation Services wagon tour which explains the operation as you travel around the farm's property.
In addition to the actual farm operation. Maine Farm Days will have three large tents filled with displays and people to answer questions about farming operations and display products. Workshops and demonstrations will occur throughout the day. It is seen as an opportunity for the farm to be a good neighbor and show the public where their food comes from and how that food is produced.
There will be an entire tent set up for children's activities and displays. While that tent is primarily for kids, it always generates a great deal of adult interest!
There will be contests for whoopie pies, blueberry pies, and apple pies; a milking contest; ice cream making; demonstrations of ag harvesting methods; a giant corn maze and an entire series of workshops presented by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. It will be a full two days. Again this year they will feature a "rainfall simulator," which demonstrates potential rainfall erosion problems and how different vegetation can mitigate the impact of stormwater. The woodlot demonstration area will be moved to a different area for a different presentation.
The milking, harvesting activities and animal care will go on all day at the farm. You will be invited to wander around. It will be a big event. Thanks to the Stoughton family as they open up their farm to the public. Did you know that the milk produced at this farm produces buckets of ice cream, butter, and other milk products which you purchase in the grocery store??? Maine Farm Days will be an up-close-and-personal experience. And it will all be free to the public.
Like the rest of the State, Kennebec County has been adding farms and farmers rather than losing them. Many of the new farms are smaller. Fewer of them are dairy farms, but the mix of farming in Maine has become more and more diverse over the past ten years.
Support your local farms and farmers. Plan to visit Maine Farm Days for any part of the two days. Join us anytime from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bring your family and friends and stay as long as you want. If you are there for lunch, food will be available. Check out more information at www.mainefarmdays.com or our website, www.kcswcd.org, and select the Maine Farm Days tab.
Conservation Too columns are written by staff at by the Kennebec County Soil and Water Conservation District in Augusta. For more information about the district and its projects, call Dale Finseth at