It’s hard to believe that fall is already here, and harvesting is well underway in the county. Farmers have begun to harvest corn, and soybeans are not far behind.

What does this mean for you? First, there will be farm equipment traffic on the roads, more so than compared to other times of the year. Please be patient and careful! If you come upon a tractor or combine, please slow down. Do not pass unless it is legal and safe to do so. Farm equipment is typically traveling short distances from one field to the next. Following a tractor at 20 mph for two miles takes six minutes and is the equivalent of waiting for two stoplights in town.

Secondly, farmers are working against a deadline. Thousands of acres across the county will be harvested this fall. Just like the crops you may have in your garden, farmers need to harvest when the crop is mature; otherwise, the crop will not be the best quality. (Have you ever had over-ripe tomatoes in your garden? Not the most appetizing, especially once insects and diseases have found the ripe fruit.)

Harvesting at the right time is critical and often requires farmers to work very early and very late hours in order to get everything harvested. Farmers harvesting crops for livestock need the crop from this fall to feed their animals until next year’s harvest. And don’t forget — they’re also feeding you and me!

Pesticide, nutrient management credit update

University of Maryland Extension will still be offering pesticide and nutrient management credits this fall and winter.

While many of our normal in-person meetings will not be happening, credits will be available in a variety of formats, including live and recorded webinars. We are working to finalize all of the details so that you can get the credits you need. Details will be included in future articles and the News Post Ag Calendar.

If you would need to take the pesticide private applicator exam, please contact Kelly Nichols at kellyn@umd.edu or 301-600-3576.

Support Frederick 4-H and FFA virtual livestock sale

Consumer demand for locally-processed food is exploding, especially here in Frederick County, which accounts for 10% of Maryland’s total farmland.

Did you know you can buy local at the virtual Great Frederick Fair? The University of Maryland Extension Frederick 4-H program and Frederick County FFA Chapters are having an online livestock sale Sept. 23-24. This sale will support the sale of beef, sheep, swine, goats, rabbits, and turkeys that have been raised by local 4-H and FFA youth.

The Fair Livestock Sale provides a hands-on experience for the youth, teaching them marketing and animal production skills. Consequently, they gain a better understanding of the business aspects and economics of purchasing animals, feed, facilities, and equipment. These young people learn entrepreneurial skills and become advocates of animal agriculture.

Why should you consider purchasing at the local 4-H & FFA Livestock Sale?

  • 4-H and FFA members select high quality animals for their project and maintain that quality until it reaches the finished product. They are required to complete quality assurance training, ensuring their knowledge and performance of safe production practices.
  • As a buyer, you have control of how your meat is cut and packaged.
  • By purchasing, you will show pride and support to the local community and its youth and help them remain in agriculture, thus keeping farmers a part of our county’s landscape.
  • You as a buyer will know the person who raised the animal, where it specifically came from, and that is was raised locally, therefore benefiting the local economy.

If you do not think you can use a whole animal, why not get together with another family or group of friends to join you in purchasing an animal to share? I know from personal experience how convenient it is to have meat in the freezer year round, thus saving you from a trips to the market. It tastes better, too!

After the livestock sale, the animals will be transported to a processor of your choice. At that point, you can select how you would like the product cut and packaged. It is as simple as that and you can pick up your frozen meat and carry it home to the freezer. Space required for frozen meat can vary from 35 to 50 pounds per cubic foot, depending on how it is wrapped, the amount of bone, and the shape of the cut.

Have I caught your interest in buying meat at this year’s virtual fair? Check out the 2020 Online Livestock Sale Buyer Guide at go.umd.edu/fredericklivestocksale. Buyer registration closes September 20. The sale will open at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 23, and close at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24.

Kelly Nichols is an Ag Agent Associate with the Frederick County Extension Office. Her areas of focus are small farms and agronomy. Kelly can be reached at 301-600-3576 or kellyn@umd.edu. Deborah Rhoades is an MA, RD, FAND, a licensed registered dietician, fellow of the Academy of Nutrient Dietetics, and University of Maryland Extension Educator in Family and Consumer Sciences.

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