Agricultural trades show to focus on energy

Posted Jan. 04, 2009, at 8 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Alternative and sustainable energy will be the focus of this year’s 68th annual Maine Agricultural Trades Show, scheduled for Tuesday through Thursday, Jan. 13-15, at the Augusta Civic Center.

“With economic troubles a growing concern, the benefits of local agriculture are even more important,” Maine Agriculture Commissioner Seth Bradstreet said Friday. “That’s why this year’s theme will be farm energy and energy conservation.”

Bradstreet said some Maine farmers saw their energy costs increase by 100 percent this year, especially as diesel prices rose from $1.65 a gallon to more than $4.

“We have seen energy costs fluctuate for the past 12 months and we need to do whatever we can to make ourselves extremely self-sufficient,” Bradstreet said.

A series of energy discussions will be held on the show’s first day, sponsored by the Maine Sustainable Agriculture Society. “A Local to Global Perspective on Energy” will be presented by former Gov. Angus King of Independence Wind and Robert Spear, former Maine agriculture commissioner and current president of MESAS.

That will be followed by a series of discussions by members of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Farm Energy Team.

The three-day show, hosted by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources, will feature dozens of lectures, demonstrations, and meetings involving some 40 major agricultural organizations, committees and agencies, as well as more than 100 exhibits featuring the newest in agricultural products, equipment and services.

“This three-day event has something for everyone,” said Judy Blaisdell, trades show coordinator. “It provides an atmosphere for everyone to walk through, observe and educate themselves about the different areas of agriculture.

“Not only does the trades show furnish a showplace for farmers and producers to come and see the most up-to-date farm equipment and farming needs, it also provides for networking and exchanging ideas. The show offers a wealth of knowledge for nonfarmers to learn about agriculture and is a great opportunity to learn how lo-cally grown food is harvested and processed.”

Blaisdell said many discussions concerning what farmers can do to conserve and produce energy on the farm will be presented. Other topics concerning farm energy will be wind power and an overview of energy crops. Videos on marketing, on-farm energy, vegetable production techniques and other topics will be shown all three days. Other topics to be covered in presentations during the three-day event range from new farm marketing strategies to current agricultural issues, floral design and woodlot management.

Show hours will be 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday.

Admission is free to all exhibits and workshops.

The complete program and schedule are available at www.getrealmaine.com.

For more information about the show, contact the Maine Department of Agriculture, 207-287-3491 or getrealmaine@maine.gov.

bdnpittsfield@verizon.net

487-3187

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