July 24 – 30, 2015Vol. 17, No. 8

Visit a Large Working Dairy Farm on Maine Farm Days!

by Dale Finseth

Most of those who read this may not realize that Kennebec County still has a great deal of farming. Not just that in your backyard, but large producers of milk and beef. Kennebec County is the "Dairy Capitol of Maine". Kennebec County, like the rest of Maine, has also 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.

On Wednesday and Thursday, August†26 and 27, the public is invited to visit a large local farm as part of the Maine Farm Days Agricultural Exposition. The Misty Meadows Farm in Clinton, Maine is a large dairy farm that grows hundreds of acres of their own feed, mostly corn, and raises many of their own replacement cows. They harvest truckloads of feed for their animals, and they milk over 650 cows. Add to that the 600 head of young stock, and they manage a herd of over 1,200. All of this work is on display for the public to visit during Maine Farm Days.

In addition to the actual farm operation of Misty Meadows Farm, there will be three large tents filled with displays and people to answer questions about farming operations and display products. Workshops and demonstrations occur through the day. While this exposition is visited by a number of other farmers from around the region, 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 is 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 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 Service. It is a full two days! The second day will be devoted to the 2015 Maine Soils Conference, "Soil: Know Your Roots". The entire sequence of workshops will be focused on how to improve and protect soil health.

The milking, harvesting, and animal care are going on all day at the farm. You are invited to wander around, take the guided tours and check out the various displays. It is a big event. The guided wagon tours happen throughout the day and are sponsored by the Natural Resource Conservation Services.

Thanks go out to the Stoughton family as they open up their farm to the public. Did you know that the milk produced at this farm could produce nearly 3,000 gallons of ice cream??? It is an "up close and personal" experience. There are product displays, a kid's tent, a corn maze, equipment displays, alternative energy demonstrations, a wagon tour and many other activities. . . . And it is all free to the public.

Plan to visit for any part of the two days. Come and join us anytime from 9†a.m. until 4†p.m. Bring your family and friends and stay as long as you want. If you are there for lunch, there is food available. Check out more information at the Maine Farm Days page on the Kennebec County Soil and Water Conservation District website.

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 622-7847, X 3 or visit www.kcswd.org.