Workshops offer chance to grow

November 27, 2007|By JEFF SEMLER

As you read this article, many sources will be reminding you there are only 28 shopping days until Christmas. In addition to spending time with family and friends, the colder weather brings many opportunities to hone one's skills and broaden your knowledge with the programs presented by Maryland Cooperative Extension.

Some of the programming offered has a mandatory attendance aspect. Nutrient management voucher training and private pesticide applicator recertification are both programs that the Maryland Department of Agriculture require attendance every three years in order to keep current on these topics. Both trainings are offered on Dec. 13, or March 20, 2008. The programs run from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. respectively. Additionally, nutrient management voucher training is scheduled for Jan. 15, 2008, from 7 to 9 p.m.

If you need to acquire your private pesticide applicator certification, there will be a training this Thursday, from 1 to 3 p.m., with the test the following Thursday, Dec. 6. While you are not required to attend the training to take the test, it is recommended. Please call the Extension Office to sign up for both the training and the test.


In addition, there are a number of voluntary educational offerings. The first is a grain marketing workshop "Winning the Game 4: Launch and Land Your Post-Harvest Marketing Plan." This workshop simulates real-life grain marketing decisions, enabling farmers to practice marketing without the risk of losing money. In this newest workshop of the series, you will write your own post-harvest plan and practice exit strategies during yet another marketing game simulation. How long will you hold onto your grain?

The workshop will be held at the Extension Office, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cost of $10 includes refreshments and materials. Registration is required at least five days prior to the event.

On Dec. 8, the 2007 Lambing and Kidding School will be held at Carroll County Community College, Westminster, Md. The school will feature general sessions, as well as breakout sessions that should appeal to sheep and goat producers with differing educational interests and needs. Visit to get complete details and a registration form or contact Cindy Mason at 301-432-2767, ext. 301 or if you would like to have a brochure mailed to you or a friend. Hurry, the deadline is fast approaching.

Next up on Jan. 18 and 19, is the Future Harvest Conference. Two days of learning about how to improve your farming and marketing methods ... leading to a wealth of ideas to increase your bottom line. For registration, contact Future Harvest - CASA, P.O. Box 1544, Eldersburg, MD 21784; phone: 410-549-7878; e-mail:

Farmer Training and Certification for Crop Operations Using Manure and Fertilizer Workshop will be held Jan. 22 and Feb. 5, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Extension Office. On day one, you will learn how to write a nutrient management plan for your own operation. Day two is the exam. Contact the Maryland Department of Agriculture at 410-841-5959.

To follow up on our sheep and goat programs from last year, we offer a Sheep and Goat Nutrition Short Course. This two-session course will be held Jan. 24 and Jan. 31, from 7 to 9 p.m., each session at the Extension Office. Registration is required and a $5 fee will be collected at the door. You will learn about various feedstuffs, the nutritional needs of small ruminants and how to formulate a ration. Pre-registration is required.

Poultry 101 is a two-session course aimed at backyard poultry owners on Feb. 21 and March 6, from 7 to 9:30 p.m., each session at the Extension Office. This is a great opportunity to get your questions answered and reinforce much of the knowledge you already possess. We will discuss rearing, feeding, management and housing, as well as hatching your own eggs and bio-security. Registration is required and a $5 fee will be collected at the door.

Lastly, The Family Cow will be offered on Feb. 26, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at the Extension Office. Whether you raise one cow or several steers for beef, this class is for you. We will discuss feeding and pasture management, as well as the challenges that all small producers face. Registration is required and a $5 fee will be collected at the door.

So, as you can see, whether you are a fulltime farmer or a would-be part-timer, there are many opportunities for you to increase your knowledge.

If you need additional information or wish to register for any or all these sessions, please call the Extension Office at 301-791-1304. Until next time, keep warm and I trust you will take advantage of these offerings.

Jeff Semler is an Extension educator, specializing in agriculture and natural resources, for the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension. He is based in Washington County. He can be reached weekdays by telephone at 301-791-1404, ext. 25, or by e-mail at

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