January 9, 2011

Thousands likely to attend agriculture show

Kennebec Journal Staff

AUGUSTA — More than 5,000 people from around the state are expected to attend the 70th Annual Maine Agricultural Trades Show at the Augusta Civic Center.

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Hosted by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources, the show will run Tuesday through Thursday and feature dozens of lectures, demonstrations, and meetings involving 40 major agricultural organizations, committees, and agencies, as well as over 100 exhibits featuring the newest in agricultural products, equipment, and services.

Judy Blaisdell, trades show coordinator, said the show provides an atmosphere for everyone to walk through, observe, and educate themselves about the different areas of agriculture.

She said the main auditorium will feature a stage with periodic floral design demonstrations presented by the Maine State Florist's Association.

The Maine Board of Pesticides Control, the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, and several agricultural associations will offer numerous training sessions, with one credit available for each full session attended.

Workshops will cover a broad range of topics, from apple, blueberry, and potato pest management, to transgenic crops, invasive insects, colony collapse disorder, and an update on regulations.

"With economic troubles a continuing concern, the benefits of local agriculture are even more important," Blaisdell said. "A popular topic featured is energy. The cost of farm inputs is being significantly impacted by the cost of energy. Discussions concerning what farmers can do to conserve and produce energy on-farm will be presented."

Topics at the show range from new farm marketing strategies to current agricultural issues, floral design, wood lot management, farmland protection, farm business management, and several livestock association meetings, she said.

Show hours are: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday; and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is free all three days.

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

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