Apr 142017

karen-gagne-webBy Karen Hatch Gagne, Director

March was a challenging month as winter was clearly still here in Maine.  The snow is finally melting and we have had some delightfully warm weather these past few days.  Time to be getting ready for gardens (I still have snow on my garden though).  The Agricultural Committee was busy gathering Maine-made items for our scholarship basket and preparing for the agricultural luncheon for the State Legislators.  Special thanks to Agnes and Bob for heading up the food preparation, Sharon and Jim for purchasing what was not donated.  A special thank you to those who donated food for this annual event: UMaine/High Moor Farms donated apples; Maine Blueberry Commission donated placemats, magnets and Wyman’s blueberries; and the True North Salmon Company donated the salmon.

Thank you to all state officers and directors who made and delivered fudge for our statehouse table and pies for the agricultural luncheon.  A special thanks to Chef Heidi Parent, Director of the Culinary Arts Department for the Capital Area Technical Center and her students from the culinary program as they prepared all the salmon for lunch.

Currently, I am completing a score sheet for State Grange Educational Exhibits and will be contacting Grange members who have been willing to judge our Grange Exhibits at our Maine Agriculture Fairs.  The Agricultural Committee will be judging Agricultural Scholarships next month and gearing up for High School graduation and celebrating our scholarship recipients.

The Maine Agricultural Fair Season will be upon us soon, I encourage our Granges to plan to set up one Grange Exhibit at your local Agricultural Fair.  Let’s make our presence visible in our communities.  If you are unsure how to make the connection with your local fair you can look online or call me and I am very willing to assist you through this process.

The Agricultural Committee is also working on providing an agricultural luncheon and speaker during our State Grange Convention in October.  There will be more to come in the near future.

I welcome any questions or suggestions!  Call me at 207-592-6980, email Karendothdotgagneatmainedotedu  (Karendothdotgagneatmainedotedu)   or text me.

Mar 162017

karen-gagne-webBy Karen Gagne, Director

We are all looking forward to spring and spring-like weather and the thoughts of green grass and rich soil. Looking at seed catalogs, ordering seeds and planning my garden is giving me hope as the wind blows and the snow keeps on coming.

The Ag Committee is gearing up for the Legislative Luncheon on April 5, 2017, talking with our state legislators and also promoting agriculture. We are in need of everyone’s help for this event. We are looking for fudge which will be on our display booth and would love to have more donated Maine made items to add to our basket we will be raffling off at the State Grange Convention in October.  The money raised from this basket goes toward Ag Scholarships for Maine youth.

If you are willing to make fudge or donate Maine made items for the basket and need transportation for these items to get to Augusta for April 5, 2017, please contact me and I will make sure we secure transportation for you.  My number is 207-592-6980 or email Karendothdotgagneatmainedotedu  (Karendothdotgagneatmainedotedu)  .

Maine Ag in the Classroom is always looking for volunteers to read Maine Ag books in schools during the month of March. (I have committed to reading to 5 classrooms.) If anyone might be interested let me know and I will connect you with Willie Grenier who coordinates this delightful way of engaging children in learning about agriculture in Maine. This year’s book focuses on gardens.

I have not heard from any Granges at this time but am still interested in connecting with Granges who may be interested in exhibiting an Educational display at your local Agricultural Fair. Many of the fairs have expressed great delight in having more grange displays but they need to know in advance that you plan to have a display. Let me know if you are thinking about setting up an educational display this year.  Let’s get the Grange displays front and center at our local Agricultural Fairs.

Happy Spring to one and all!

Feb 242017

By Vicki Huff

The NEGB trustees met on Saturday morning January 28, 2017, during Leaders Conference held in Rutland, VT. The store managers and the treasurer reported that we made $14,698.00 at this year’s fair after all expenses, including building maintenance prior to and during the fair.

For the protection of the items submitted for the craft contest, Plexiglas was put in place so fairgoers no longer have direct access to these items. The quality of the contest entries have made people want to take them (literally) and in the past, there have been items taken from the building.

We continue to maintain the building and that is where the profits from the store come into play. Last year we had the building painted. In doing so it made us realize that the wooden letters that spell out the name of the building need to be replaced. The fire escape door on the first floor needs to be replaced and the cement steps outside that door also need work. We need your help to keep this building in repair and continue to show all the visitors to the Big E that the Grange is alive and well.

The trustees voted to require each State Grange to fill fifteen shifts in the store and at the quilt raffle table. If an individual(s) works an afternoon/evening shift and then works the morning/early afternoon shift the next day the Store will pay for a hotel room at The Comfort Inn for the night you work. For those who work in the store, you will need to run a cash register and assist with stocking shelves, answering questions, if new items come in you could help with pricing the items. Those who work on the raffle table will ask shoppers if they would like to enter and that it is simply whatever they want to donate. You may need to explain where the money will be going and each year the state that donates the quilt decides which charity the money will be going to. Both areas require standing and the shifts are 9-3 (day shift) and 3-9 (evening shift). Arrangements for scheduling to work are made through Linda Sanderson, Store Manager, 802-999-3510. You will also receive a pass to get into the fair the days you work. If you are interested please contact Linda as soon as possible. We have to have a list of names of those working to the Big E by the end of June. Linda will let State Master Rick Grotton know if our 15 slot obligation is not met.

If you cannot or do not want to travel and work in the store there are other ways to contribute to the building. There is always a need for handmade items to sell in the craft part of the store.  Below is a list of items that are big sellers or that people make a request for.

  • Large and medium afghans
  • Baby afghans, sweater sets, headbands, slippers, anything baby
  • Quilted wall hangings
  • Corn or rice bags for the microwave
  • Dog toys, scarves, and knitted sweaters- Catnip toys
  • Long plastic canvas tissue boxes
  • Wool felted dryer balls. They help clothes dry faster.
  • Knitted, crocheted hanging kitchen towels
  • Full-size aprons
  • Draft stoppers
  • Scrubbies, scrubbies, scrubbies–these things are one of the biggest sellers
  • Adult slippers, hats, mittens, winter scarfs- colors for men too, but not black or brown
  • Bag holders for plastic bags
  • Women’s sweaters- if you make these please somehow attach a label including the size
  • Medium to large adult clothes protectors (bibs)
  • Embroidered pillow covers

Pretty much anything and if you make items that are not listed they accept anything that is homemade. The central location for item donation is State Grange Headquarters. If you or someone from your area is coming to an event at HQ please bring or ask them to bring the items. If items cannot be brought during an event then please call headquarters and make arrangements for someone to be there to meet you.

Dates for this year’s fair are September 15, 2017, through October 1, 2017. Grange Day is Sunday, September 24. New England Grangers will be having a float in the parade that day and we are also looking for folks to be in the parade on Saturday, September 16 as we will be showing support for FFA and 4-H. There is a challenge out there for all the states to see who can have the most Grangers walk in the parade on Grange Day (September 24). If you plan on getting a group of Grangers to go down on Grange Day and participate in the parade, State Master Rick Grotton needs you to contact him before June 1, 2017, so he can request the correct number of tickets for those attending. Let’s car pool and make the trip to the Big E and show them that Maine Grangers are up for any challenge.

Feb 142017

karen-gagne-webBy Karen Gagne, Director

The Maine State Grange Agricultural Committee was busy at the Maine Ag Trade Show booth. There was a lot of activity and young people asking for support, resources and possibly starting a Grange! We raffled off a Valentine Basket to support the Grange Ag Scholarship and made $64.00 toward the scholarship.

I attended the Maine Fair Association Annual meeting in Portland and met with the Exhibition Hall Superintendents. All Maine Agricultural fairs in attendance were interested and willing to have Granges set up an educational exhibit at their fair provided they are informed. The Fair Exhibition Hall Superintendents asked that the Granges contact their local fair if they would like to set up an educational exhibit.  If you need the contact names and are unable to go onto the web to locate the contact for the fair call me (592-6980) and I will get the name for you.  Criteria will be available soon.

The Maine State Grange Scholarship and Farm Family Award criteria and application have been edited and will be posted shortly.

Note: The date for the Ag luncheon for Legislators has been changed to April 5, 2017. We will be looking for fudge for the day and pies for the luncheon.  Sharon will be working on donations of food for the luncheon. Agnes and Bob will head up the lunch preparation with the Ag Committee and arranging to have a group serve lunch. We are still looking for donations of Maine made items for the AG Scholarship basket. Rance will be selling raffles at the luncheon.

The Ag Committee will be working on setting up an Ag Luncheon at the Maine State Grange Convention in Skowhegan along with a speaker.  I will have more information to follow.

Next meeting of the Maine State Grange Agricultural committee will be reading the Ag Scholarships on May 9, 2017,  beginning at 10:00 A.M.  This will be a potluck luncheon at the State Grange Headquarters.


Jan 122017

karen-gagne-webBy Karen Gagne, Director

It is winter and we are focused on snow, ice and staying warm.  The Ag Committee and Grange members have been busy setting up the Grange exhibit and spending time talking with people at Maine’s Agricultural Trade Show in Augusta.  The Committee has begun selling raffles to acquire dollars to support State Grange Agricultural scholarships for Maine’s high school seniors attending college in agriculture.

Working with the AG Committee we will be meeting with Maine’s Agricultural Fair Hall Superintendents to propose a third choice for Grange Fair displays, one with an educational focus.  I will be sharing in my next message what that will look like after this Maine Fair Association meeting at the end of January. Stay tuned!

Shortly, the Maine State Grange Agricultural Scholarship application will be revised and posted online as well as sent to all Maine High Schools.

A bird’s eye view of the Mine State Grange Booth… “Lots of people picked up information and applications!”

Just a heads-up, the Maine Agricultural Legislative luncheon is traditionally in March, but this year it is scheduled for May 17 in Augusta.  More information will be sent out in March.

I want to personally thank Bill and Ann Rust for all the expertise and time they have given to the Maine State Grange Agricultural Committee.

Following the Maine State Fair Association meeting, I will be touching base with our list of Grange members who have been fair judges.  If there are any Grange members interested in becoming fair judges please contact me.

Our next Ag Committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 7 at 10:00 a.m. at the Maine State Grange Headquarters.


Sep 162016

Nelsonby Robert and Agnes Nelson,
Co-directors Ag Committee

By the time this edition of the Bulletin comes out summer will be behind us and we will be getting ready for winter. Maine State Grange Convention will be behind us and we will be just working on the Ag-in-the-Classroom annual meeting banquet. This will complete our year as Co-Directors of Ag Committee.

We have been very busy attending the fairs this summer. We have been so impressed with all of the exhibits this year. There is so much work that goes into each and every exhibit.  Members should be very proud for all of their hard work.  We want to thank all of the people who took the time out of their days to be judges this year and helped with the judging of the grange fair exhibits.

We want to thank all of the Ag-Committee members, the MSG Officers, Legislative Committee members, Grange members for their donations and support for all of their help and support they have given us the last five years. We have met so many wonderful people along the way. A very special thanks to all of the people who helped cover doing some of our commitments this year during our loss in March.

Aug 122016

Nelsonby Robert and Agnes Nelson,
Co-directors Ag Committee

Blueberry season is here. Some of our neighbors are telling us they are having bountiful pickings so far of their high bush blueberries. It would be very helpful if we could get some rain. We need it!! The haying has almost come to a stop in our part of the state. The fields are almost as brown as our lawns. The gardens are so dusty. The lawn mowing has not been as stressful as some years.

Enterprise Grange #48 has been extremely busy exhibiting at the fairs so far this year. We were at Topsham Fair yesterday and they had their third exhibit of six fairs so far. We are on our way to Skowhegan Fair today.

We hope we have a Farm Family Winner this year. We do know that the Maine Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year 2016 is Pine Tree Camp, a program of the Pine Tree Society. Pine Tree Camp manages 285 wooded acres in Rome. PTC is a true woodland steward providing a well- managed program of outdoor recreational activities for mentally and physically disabled children, adults and their families. The mission of Pine Tree Camp is to serve the community. A healthy forest that provides a sustainable source of income is very important to support the overall purpose of the Camp. Wildlife habitat management is also important, to provide a diverse and informative experience for camp users.

By the time this bulletin is out it will be September.  The people going South will be starting to get ready, the garden will be finished and being cleaned out, and the firewood will be about all stacked and ready. Labor Day will be past and the children will be back in school. What a beautiful July and August so far we have had? We are so lucky to live in Maine.

Jul 182016

Nelsonby Robert and Agnes Nelson,
Co-directors Ag Committee

The weather has finally warmed up. The corn crops are doing very well in our area. Farmers are chopping and bailing hay as fast as they can work. The gardens are beginning to look good. The Farmers’ Markets are opening up everywhere.

We were at Ossipee Valley Fair yesterday. Steve Haycock and Roberta Meserve set up a display for the Maine State Grange. It was an exceptional display especially with the small area they had. I hope they take this display around to the fairs wherever they can and set it up. It is an inspiration.

We will be attending Waterford’s World Fair on July 17th. We will be having at least one fair to visit weekly and sometimes two or three as the weeks go on. It is nice to see all of the work the Grange members are doing. You should all be very proud.

Jun 302016
Valley Grange puts their community service notebook "right out front."

Valley Grange puts their community service notebook “right out front.” (2015 file photo)

Thanks to MSG Legislative Director Jim Annis for sharing this press release!

AUGUSTA – Maine Agricultural Fair Season is officially underway, beginning last week with the Maple Meadow Fair Festival in Mapleton and extending into October when Maine holds its largest Fair, the Fryeburg Fair. Maine has twenty-six licensed fairs that take place over the summer and fall, offering visitors opportunities to learn more about agriculture and the communities they take place in.

This year, fairs will be celebrated in a new series of farm-to-fair videos featuring behind the scenes stories of fair participants. They are part of a collaborative effort between the Department and several fair exhibitors to highlight the work and care that goes into traditional activities offered at Maine fairs.

“Through the summer and into fall, Maine’s agricultural fairs showcase our state’s agricultural interests and the communities they are located in,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Maine fairs highlight the continued growth of Maine agriculture and its contributions to our natural resource economy.”

Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Walt Whitcomb highlighted the new series of farm-to-fair videos. “For over 175 years, Maine agricultural fairs have been a part of who we are as a state,” said Whitcomb. “They help connect the public to timeless traditions of rural Maine life. The farm-to-fair videos showcase six important elements of the Maine fair experience: 4-H Show Cattle, Ox Pulling, Horse Pulling, Harness Racing and Barrel Racing. Participants and those who contributed to the creation of this series, have done a great job of capturing the essence of what helps make agricultural fairs unique.”

The new series of farm-to-fair videos:

4-H Show Cattle – https://youtu.be/V1mEqgZY_Pc Ox Pulling – https://youtu.be/cbACUKIzoNE Horse Pulling – https://youtu.be/9UhalPxu6wE Harness Racing – https://youtu.be/OPuOZSGf_AI Barrel Racing – https://youtu.be/MfwMn9tddW8

Quick Facts about Maine’s 2016 Fair Season:

– Maine has 26 licensed fairs – 760,000 people visited Maine fairs in 2015 – $1.65 Million in premiums were paid to exhibitors, directly impacting local economies – Most northern fair: Northern Maine Fair – Presque Isle, ME – Most southern fair: Acton Fair – Acton, ME – Largest fair: Fryeburg Fair (205,000+ visitors) – 2,500+ pairs of professional cattle and horses pulled – 23,000+ crafts projects were displayed in exhibit halls

The full schedule is available at: http://www.mainefairs.org/fairs.html

Additional information on Maine’s agricultural fairs can be found at: http://www.getrealmaine.com/ For more information about the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, go to: http://www.maine.gov/dacf/

Jun 152016

Nelsonby Robert and Agnes Nelson,
Co-directors Ag Committee

We finally have most of our garden planted. It is much later than usual for us. The weather being what it has so far we may be alright, hopefully. By the time this bulletin is out we will be in the middle of strawberry picking.

The Ag-Committee has met and picked the winners of the Agriculture Scholarship. There were twenty-five qualifying applicants to judge. The three $500.00 winners were as follows:

  1. Grant Hemphill, Presque Isle, Presque Isle High School
  2. Skylar Miller, Cornish, Sacopee Valley High School
  3. Sadee Mehuren, Searsmont, Belfast High School

The fairs will be well under way by the time this bulletin is out. Grangers looking for information with help making up Grange exhibits should be able to go to the Maine State Grange Website for fair rules, score sheets, and guidelines or you can contact Bob and I at 207-568-3479.

(Webmaster note: Fair information is posted on the Program Books and Information Page.)