May 26, 2019
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Agriculture Commissioner scheduled speaker at Somerset County Conservation District Dinner

Community Author: Jennifer Brockway
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Somerset County Soil and Water Conservation District | Contributed
Somerset County Soil and Water Conservation District | Contributed
Mary and Bob Burr of Blue Ribbon Farm, Mercer, are 2019 Outstanding Woodland Owner award winners.  The Award will be presented at the Somerset County SWCD annual meeting and dinner, April 25, at Canaan Farmers Hall.

SKOWHEGAN — Somerset County Soil & Water Conservation District invites the community to join in celebration of the 2019 Outstanding Landowners at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 25, at the Canaan Farmers Hall.

The Somerset SWCD is bringing back the annual mMeeting tradition after several years in hiatus. In addition to landowner awards, the evening includes guest speaker Amanda Beal, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry. Dinner will be prepared by Radici Cucina of Skowhegan featuring locally sourced ingredients.

This year’s Outstanding Woodland Owner Award will be presented to Mary and Bob Burr of Blue Ribbon Farm, Mercer. The Burrs have actively managed their woodlands since 1976 and have been part of the Tree Farm family for more than 40 years.  Through the years they have had a variety of commercial timber harvests, annually harvested firewood, thinned stands, and improved the complexity of wildlife habitat on the property.

The 2019 Outstanding Farmer Award will be presented to Tim Hewett of Skowhegan. Hewett grew up on a dairy farm and has been running his own diversified farm in Skowhegan for 30 years, producing and selling hay, corn, cattle, compost, maple syrup and wood. He manages 634 acres of cropland, and is constantly re-defining his farming operation, with an eye toward adding diversity and improving sustainability on his farm.

Scheduled speaker Amanda Beal became commissioner in February.  The daughter of a dairy farmer, Beal was executive director of Maine Farmland Trust until joining Gov. Janet Mills’ cabinet.

On the dinner menu is Radici Cucina’s signature taco bar, featuring beef from N bar A Ranch of Harmony and chicken from Singing Toad Farm of Skowhegan, as well as vegetarian-friendly and gluten-free options.  Refreshments and dessert will also be served.  The beautifully renovated Canaan Farmers Hall is located on Route 2 in Canaan. Parking is available across the street in the church lot.

Tickets are $15 and must be purchased by Thursday, April 18, at the Somerset County SWCD office, located at the USDA Service Center, 70 East Madison Rd. in Skowhegan.  Tickets may also be purchased by mail, using the order form available at the SWCD web site, www.somersetswcd.org/events.  For more information, please call 207-474-8323 or email somersetswcd.outreach@gmail.com.