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Extending Knowledge, Changing Lives!

September 2020 edition! The official e-newsletter for University of Maryland Eastern Shore Extension.

Fall-ing into a new normal...

UMES Extension specialists and educators are preparing to renew face-to-face training sessions and workshops this fall.  The unexpected break in activities opened new avenues for communication and interaction, which identified some needs and revealed some talents among us. In addition, the disruption of face-to-face interactions did not prevent UMES Extension from transferring information to our clientele.
Several webinars were conducted and multiple pre-recorded pieces were developed.  For example, the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program designed and created 42 videos in order to offer a summer program.  EFNEP reached more than 100 youth who participated in summer camps sponsored by Horizons and Upward Bound. Take a look here.  Enter the password efnep991.
On August 30, we celebrated the 130th anniversary of the signing of the Second Morrill Act of 1890, which established the 1890 land-grant universities.  UMES is the 1890 land-grant university in Maryland. See the article below and view the video on 130 years of excellence in education, research and extension. 
Online training and dissemination of information will continue this fall with two UMES herb garden events conducted by our resident specialty herbs consultant, Ms. Henriette den Ouden.  See details in this newsletter.
Finally, don’t forget that the Small Farms team is currently planning the 2020 Small Farm Conference that will be a hybrid event with in-person sessions and webinars.  They anticipate a remarkable personal and virtual experience for those involved with the Small Farm Program.  Look for the save-the-date ad in this edition.

Stay strong and persevere, we're getting there!

Nelson Escobar, Ph.D.
Interim Associate Administrator
UMES Extension
UMES celebrates 130th anniversary of historically Black land-grant universities

University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s Dr. Heidi Anderson joined fellow presidents of the nation’s 1890 universities in celebration of the 130th anniversary of the federal legislation that designated them as land-grant institutions. The Morrill Act of 1890, signed on August 30 of that year, established a land-grant system of Historically Black Colleges and Universities that now number 21.

According to the Association of Public Land-grant Universities, these institutions “have a legacy helping to fill a crucial need of educating first-generation and economically disadvantaged college students; enhancing the resilience of limited-resource farmers, families, individuals and underserved communities; and pioneering the most advanced education, research and engagement programs to improve quality of life.”  
Click on the image above to view the 1890 Morrill Act 130th Anniversary video.

MyFaRM initiative offers risk management education free for local farmers 


A new initiative, MyFaRM (Mastering Farm Risk Management), will provide risk management education free to farmers who are underserved by crop insurance.  Educators at University of Maryland Eastern Shore Extension secured a nearly $100,000 Northeast Extension Risk Management Education Center grant for the 18-month project.

“MyFaRM is a series of classes covering personal risk management plans in the areas of production, marketing, finances, human resources and legal risk,” said Nicole Cook, an environmental and agricultural faculty legal specialist at UMES and co-principal investigator for the grant.  “The emphasis is on using Federal Crop Insurance and private insurance options to sustain and support the growth of small farming operations, particularly those who grow-or plan to grow, specialty crops.”


Schwarz joins UMES in food safety role

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore welcomes back alumna Dr. Melinda Schwarz in the role of food safety specialist with UMES Extension. 

In her new post, Schwarz will develop training strategies for small farmers to assist them in their compliance with the requirements outlined in the Produce Safety Rule established by the Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Modernization Act.  She will work with food producers, vegetable growers, poultry processors, new food entrepreneurs, UMES Extension educators and partner organizations through food safety programs. 
                                     READ MORE >
UMES Extension prepares for 2020 4-H STEM Challenge
UMES Extension 4-H STEM educators are gearing up for this year’s 4-H STEM Challenge, “Mars Base Camp,” developed by Google for children aged 8-14. 

To ensure young people everywhere can participate in the challenge, an online activity, “Insight from Mars,” is now available.  Youth are tasked with imagining they are the first explorer on Mars and need to communicate with mission control about their discoveries.  (See video below).

In October, Murphy and colleagues Bradley Hartle (Wicomico) and Jeremiah Mowen (Somerset) will work virtually with youth who will be doing hands-on activities in socially distanced small group settings or in their homes.  Bayer, one of the sponsors, has supplied UMES Extension 4-H with 30 kits for individuals and 10 for family participation. 

For more information, contact Murphy at, Hartle at or Mowen at

UMES study addresses increasing demand for ethnic crops

A three-year $600,000 USDA grant awarded to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore seeks to expand and strengthen food science research, teaching and extension related to ethnic crops to meet the growing demand on the Delmarva Peninsula.

“Providing small farmers with research-based production practices and introducing them to potential value-added product markets will provide them with new ways to produce income through alternative enterprises and improve their productivity,” said Corrie Cotton, a research assistant professor and principal investigator for the grant.   

UMES Extension offers free herb education events
UMES Extension puts the talents of its specialty herbs consultant for the Small Farm Program, Henriette den Ouden, to use to present two free events in September highlighting UMES’ herb garden.
On September 12, from 10 a.m.-noon, gardeners with an interest in growing medicinal and other specialty herbs can visit the herb garden on the UMES Education and Demonstration Farm on Stewart Neck Road in Princess Anne.  Because of the pandemic, the event will be open to the first 10-15 people to register and will be a non-technical class geared toward general advice on growing herbs.  

The second event slated for September 16 at 10 a.m. is a webinar of interest to farmers who would like technical information on the best practices for growing a range of herbs.
Over half-million to develop sustainable sweet corn

It’s that time of year when summer fields are filled with mouth-watering local sweet corn.  A newly funded USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Capacity Building Grant was awarded to UMES researcher, Dr. Simon Zebelo, to help expand sustainable sweet corn production on Delmarva.

Zebelo, an associate professor and entomologist, will embark on the three-year research project that aims to develop organically based integrated pest management of corn earworm, one of the major insect pests for sweet corn.
Click image for WMDT 47abc interview with UMES' Dr. Simon Zebelo.
Escobar elected to Northeast SARE council
Dr. E. Nelson Escobar, the interim associate administrator for UMES Extension, was promoted to associate professor with tenure in the university’s Department of Agriculture, Food and Resources Sciences July 1 and was elected to the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education’s administrative council. 

Northeast SARE is among four regional offices across the nation whose mission is “to advance—to the whole of American agriculture—innovations that improve profitability, stewardship and quality of life by investing in groundbreaking research and education.”  Supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, SARE offers competitive grants to farmers, educators, researchers and nonprofit organizations who work with farmers and supports sustainable agriculture education.
New UMES research facility aims to contribute to health of Chesapeake Bay while helping farmers maintain nutrients for optimal yields
Meeting the challenge of sustainable reductions in phosphorus loads to the Chesapeake Bay is the goal of a new Stormwater Management Research facility at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.  A $300,000 Capacity Building Grant by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture was recently awarded to UMES researchers to “implement, monitor and evaluate nutrient-reduction strategies near poultry facilities,” particularly older ones.

Outcomes of the research will be incorporated into teaching, extension and outreach in order to mitigate nutrient losses from point sources associated with poultry production.
Click image for WMDT 47abc interview with UMES' Dr. Amy Collick.

Farmers on Delmarva poised to enter ethnic food markets

The pandemic has brought to light the importance of growing local food for “survival, sustainability and self-dependence.” University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s Dr. Naveen Kumar Dixit aims to help Delmarva farmers tap into consumer demand and an emerging market for Asian vegetables—a market currently dominated by South American imports.
Pandemic redefines how 4-H STEM educators assist with summer camp

When the Horizons Summer of 2020 “camp” rolled around July 6 through August 14, UMES Extension 4-H STEM educators were there to lend a (virtual) hand.

Lisa Murphy, Bradley Hartle and Jeremiah Mowen stepped up to the challenge presented by the pandemic to pack over 400 4-H brown bags, each with a different activity in them, for children ages 6 to 14 participating in the virtual summer experience.  They then met on Zoom to teach the youth about topics such as roller coasters and energy, density and pressure in water, catapults and simple machines, and how people impact healthy soil and vice versa. 
While the children were trying to make the small bottle rockets, spoon catapults, paper roller coasters, soil people, density divers and owl pellet dissections, the educators got a lesson themselves in how to break things down into verbal steps.

Horizons Delmarva virtual camper McKaylee Dennis holds one of the soil people she made from the brown bag activities UMES Extension 4-H STEM provided.
Food Safety Fridays: A How-To Webinar Series 
The  monthly webinar series will focus on how to comply with key provisions of the Food Safety Modernization Act’s Produce Safety Rule from enacting practices to efficient record keeping strategies. 
How to: Develop A Sanitation Program,  September 18, noon  
How to: Apply, Handle and Store Biological Soil Amendments, October 16, noon 
Register for the above webinars and more at For more information, contact Sarah Everhart at or call 410-706-7377.

The webinar series is hosted by the Maryland Food Safety Network in cooperation with the UMES and UMD Extension services, the UMD Agriculture Law Education Initiative and the Maryland Department of Agriculture.

Program offers hands-on activities for youth

At the end of February, before the COVID-19 lockdowns began, UMES Extension 4-H Senior Agent Associate Lisa Murphy traveled to Texas A&M University to take part in the 2020 Junior Master Gardener Leader Training Conference.  The program, of which Murphy is the Maryland state coordinator, is a youth gardening program of the nation’s Cooperative Extension System.    Read More>

For more information, contact Gail Taylor at
Learn more
Sponsor & Exhibitor Opportunities
Submit a Workshop Proposal

Upcoming Event

Growing Herbs Field Event
September 12, 2020, 10 a.m.-noon

Growing Herbs Webinar
September 16, 10 a.m.

How to: Develop A Sanitation Program 
September 18, noon 

How to: Apply, Handle and Store Biological Soil Amendments
October 16, noon 

17th annual Small Farm Conference
November 6-7, 2020


UMES Extension in the News

UMES celebrates 130th anniversary of historically Black land-grant universities 
WMDT, August 31, 2020 with video

Celebrating 130 Years of Diversity in Ag Research and Education
Growing Produce, August 31, 2020

APLU Hosts Virtual 130th Anniversary of the Morrill Act of 1890
Diverse Issues in Higher Education, August 31, 2020


SCSU 1890 to join in celebration of 130th anniversary of Morrill Act
The Times and Democrat, August 30, 2020

1890 Land-Grant Universities Celebrate 130 Years of Cutting-Edge Science
Southeast AgNet, August 28, 2020

Research facility to study stormwater strategies around new poultry houses
Delmarva Farmer, August 28, 2020

UMES receives grant to help expand water and soil quality
WMDT, August 24, 2020 with video

Sustainable sweet corn production research funded
CapeGazette, August 22, 2020

UMES gets $600K grant from USDA for food science research
WMDT, August 17, 2020 

Why we need more veterinary colleges at HBCUs, August 12, 2020

UMES researcher awarded nearly $600K to control earworms on sweet corn  
WMDT, August 7, 2020 with video

Farm Bill Helps Heirs Property Farmland Owners
Lancaster Farming e-edition, August 6, 2020

USDA 1890 Faculty Research Sabbatical Awards
USAgNet, July 24, 2020

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