Progress report for NEUMES17-001
Apple team members (3 or 4) who enrich their knowledge of apple orchard establishment and management through this project will teach 15 farmers about successful orchard establishment and management by incorporating information learned into fact sheets, workshops, field days, and in-orchard training. Team members will also provide individual consultation and advice to interested growers. In addition, team members can also facilitate farmer’s visits to UMES apple orchard for live demonstrations. Team members can also provide online study material to targeted audience.
Historically the tri-county (Wicomico, Somerset, and Worcester) area was known for fruit cultivation on the Eastern Shore of Maryland (MD). A USDA census of agriculture in 1925 showed 6.0 million pounds (m lb) of apple production in this area, which was dominated by Worcester (4.3 m lb) and followed by Wicomico (0.9 m lb) and Somerset (0.7 m lb) county. However, currently there is no commercial apple production in these counties (USDA, NASS 2012). Moreover, MD farms fulfill only 9% of the apple consumption in the state and rest (> 90%) is imported from neighboring states. In spite of enormous potential for apple production in this area, agriculture is limited to row crops like soybean and corn; most of which is used for the poultry/cattle industry. In fact, most locally grown food in MD is exported out of the state and never consumed within the state. The imported fruit material is never fresh, negatively impacts local farm business, and also generates a considerable carbon footprint while travelling thousands of miles to MD. The long distance transportation of food commodities can cause air pollution and consequently serious health issues. In spite of growing demand for local produce and higher economic potential of apple cultivation no work has been done on the establishment of apple orchards on the Eastern Shore. There is an urgent need of diversification of fruit crop cultivation and extension of the fruit growing season. Returning apple orchards to the eastern Shore is one promising option for accomplishing this diversification. This project will enhance farm income, promote local produce, reduce the carbon footprint, and concomitantly rejuvenate the lost apple legacy on the Eastern Shore to boost agro-tourism and encourage the agricultural economy. We created a 25 member SARE-Apple team to help and guide the future apple growers on the Delmarva Peninsula. This team is continuously educated on the multiple aspects of orchard management.
Interactive educational approaches were used to make concepts easily understandable. All the workshops included 2 hr classroom teaching followed by 2 hr hands-on training experience at UMES apple orchard. In addition, participants visited the newly established high-density apple orchard in Crisfield, MD by one of the SARE-Apple team member. This approach provided direct interaction between local growers and exchange of knowledge to tackle current apple growing challenges in our area. Pre-/post workshop surveys were also conducted to test the gain of knowledge.
1: 15 Agriculture service providers and 10 farmers will be invited to attend ‘Agricultural Field Day’ (September 2017) and ‘National Apple Day’ (October 2017) to visit apple orchard at UMES. Interested parties will be communicated to participate in the projects fall 2017 education programs for apple orchard establishment, management, and recruitment of an ‘Apple Team’. Selected ‘Apple Team’ members are expected to provide individual consultation and advice to apple growers and future apple farmers. Members can also facilitate UMES apple orchard visit to interested parties.
I: Farmer community and Ag. educators visited the orchard and showed interest to participate in subsequent workshops and become the part of SARE-Apple Team.
II: Project got media attention during Ag. Field Day and attracted more stakeholders to participate in this program.
III: My program generated mass awareness about the potential of fruit cultivation in the Tri-County area, which is evident from program coverage by agricultural media (newspaper and television) on the Delmarva Peninsula
a: Lancaster Farming (Newspaper): Researcher wants to revive orchards on shore; October 14, 2017. A1-A15. http://www.lancasterfarming.com/news/southern_edition/researcher-wants-to-revive-orchards-on-shore/article_92377a4a-edfb-5a14-98f7-0b2973aa73f3.html
b: The Delmarva Farmer (Newspaper): UMES orchard aims to revive apples on Lower Shore; October 17, 2017. 1-18.https://americanfarmpublications.com/umes-orchard-aims-to-revive-apples-on-lower-shore/
c. The Daily Times (Newspaper): Apple revival: UMES project leads comeback. November, 1, 2017. A-2A. http://www.delmarvanow.com/story/news/local/maryland/2017/10/31/apple-revival-umes-project-seeks-bring-back-fruit-harvests/815152001/
d: 47ABC (Television): UMES hoping to restore the Eastern Shore’s fruit harvest. November 1, 2017. http://www.wmdt.com/news/maryland/umes-hoping-to-restore-the-eastern-shores-fruit-harvest/650595831
2: An apple team of 3-4 service providers will be recruited from highly interested and committed agricultural service providers for a period of three year during Small Farm Conference (November, 2017).
Our efforts constituted a local apple team in the Tri-County area with 25 members - 3 service provider and 22 farmers showed interest in learning about apple cultivation on the Delmarva Peninsula.
Three extension educators (tri-county agriculture extension educator, nutrient management advisor, and agent associate) are the part of this ongoing project.
Efforts has been done to recruit more extension educators in successive SARE-Apple workshops
Extension educators showed interest to educate local fruit growers.
Extension educators committed to attend all the SARE-Apple workshops to gain better understanding of apple cultivation.
3: Members of apple team (3 or 4) and 2 or more farmers sign up for the program will participate in three workshops:
Workshop 1 during ‘Apple Gala’ (February 2018) and learn about the fundamentals of orchard planning and selection of varieties and rootstocks.
Workshop 2 during ‘Apple March’ (May 2018) at UMES. Participants gain knowledge about the role of pollinators in fruit set.
Workshop 3 during ‘Apple Festival’ (August 2018) at UMES. Participants learn about budget preparation and a trellis system to support dwarf type trees.
We conducted 6-workshops followed by hands-on- training at UMES apple orchard, 3-demonstrations in apple orchard, and 2-presentations in national and local professional meetings in MD, VA, and Washington, D.C. Total number of participants were 393 and represented the diversified clientele such as women farmers, beginning farmers, socially disadvantaged farmers, extension educators, school teachers, home owners, faculty members, and small farm coordinators.
During the first year of this project following topics were discussed; I: Basics of orchard establishment, II: Pruning technique in young and old orchards, III: Role of Pollenizer and pollination, and IV: Trellis for dwarf apple varieties.
4: Members of apple team (3 or 4) and farmers will be communicated every other month about the latest information and developments in our orchard and asking if they have any questions and need assistance or more information. Online study material will also be provided about the orchard establishment and Q&A session will be organized after each workshop.
I: Growers got information about the prevalent apple diseases on the Eastern Shore of MD
II: I visited several farms multiple times to explain the management of tree architecture, weeds, cedar apple rust management.
III: Two new farmers showed interest in apple cultivation in Wicomico and Queens Anne Counties. They requested online study material. Power points were provided. Telephonic consultation and farm visits were facilitated to provide preliminary requirements for apple cultivation.
5: Members of apple team (3 or 4) and farmers who participate in the fall 2017 and spring, 2018 workshops responds to annual verification to report on teaching and assistance about apple orchards provided to farmers.
During Pre-/and Post workshop surveys growers and extension educators were asked for suggestions to improve this program.
I: Growers recommended to provide more information on weed management in young orchards.
II: Growers also suggested to make video of each presentation.
III: Growers liked the idea of classroom and field teaching to better understand the concepts and acquire skillful knowledge.
A new apple planting was done in April 2018 in Crisfield, MD by one farmer member of the SARE-APPLE team member. This planting will enhance the apple acreage in the Tri-county area. Another SARE-APPLE team member is planning for a high density apple orchard for the production of hot apple cider in Berlin, MD. This early investment reflects not only fruit, but value added products also have a potential market on the Eastern Shore.
Three extension educators (tri-county agriculture extension educator, nutrient management advisor, and agent associate) are the part of this ongoing project and they advised 4 fruit growers in the tri-county region during 2017-2018.
Members of apple team (3 or 4) and 10 farmers will be invited to attend
'Fall Festival' (October 2018) and ‘Pumpkin Festival’ (October 2018) to visit apple orchard at UMES. Interested parties will be demonstrated the recent developments in apple orchard at UMES.
1: Community members visited the UMES orchard and showed interest in growing mini-orchard in Tri-County area. With help from Robert Wood Johnson grant and SARE- Apple program, five mini-fruit orchards were established
a: Establishment of Mini-Orchard in City Park, Fruitland (3/20/2019).
b. Establishment of Mini-Orchard in Head Start, Eden (4/4/2019)
c. Establishment of Mini-Orchard in Head Start, Princess Anne (4/9/2019).
d. Establishment of Mini-Orchard in Head Start, Stockton (4/8/2019)
e. Planting of fruit trees in Pocomoke Community Garden (4/8/2019)
2. Participants also learned fall management of orchard floor such as removal of infected plant debris to minimize the accumulation of inoculum.
3. One beginning farmer showed interest in apple cultivation and learning about tree care.
Members of apple team (3 or 4) and 5 or more farmers will participate in the Vth workshop during ‘Apple March’ (March 2019) at UMES. Participants gain knowledge about the pruning techniques for tree canopy management.
1: Participants learned the fundamentals of pruning and tree care after planting.
2: Apple trees were planted in big pots to perform the live demo of pruning in classroom setting.
3: Growers reported through e-mail and text messages that pruning improved the growth in their orchard and tree looks better.
4: Growers ordered limb spreader to maintain proper 'crotch angle' to maintain tree architecture and branch strength.
5 Growers also learned how notching below and above the bud can induce spur and branch formation.
6. Growers also showed cooperation among themselves by sharing plant material (budwood) to multiply local varieties.
Members of apple team (3 or 4) and 10 or more farmers receive recruitment announcements that describe the new project and invite them to participate in the projects fall 2018 education programs for irrigation and fertigation management in apple orchard during VIth-SARE Apple workshop at UMES (July, 2019).
1: Participants can identify multiple apple diseases by morphological symptoms.
2. Growers learned about timely application of antibiotics for fire blight management.
3: Grower understand the mechanism of antibiotic and fungicides resistant in orchard and how to minimize the occurrence of resistance.
4. Growers sent picture of infected plant parts through e mail and text attachments to identify local apple diseases.
5. Growers requested information on specification of different fertilizer injectors to judicially apply fertilizer doses through drip irrigation.
6. Growers seeks information about organic insecticides and fungicides.
7. Participants requested information on foliar application of fertilizers and cost of air blast sprayer.
Members of apple team (3 or 4) and 2 farmers will participate in the 7th and 8th combined SARE-Apple workshop during Apple Festival (September, 2019) at UMES. This workshop will involve Q and A session and provide latest information on the federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in Maryland and budget preparation for orchard establishment.
1: Most of the participants were unaware of FSMA-2011 and showed interest in registration for MDA/FDA organized FSMA training for 'Produce' growers.
2: 1-Grower participated in FSMA training at UMES in December, 2019.
3. Growers requested information on available loan programs for orchard establishment.
4. Growers also requested information about SARE-Farmer grant for orchard establishment.
:Organization of Second SARE-Apple workshop (September, 2019) at Virginia State University to promote fruit security of Members of apple team (3 or 4) and 5 or more farmers receive invitation to participate in the workshops to be held during Small farm Conference (September 2019) at UMES
1: Growers learned the basics of orchard establishment from purchase to planting.
2: Growers showed more interest in dwarf type apple rootstocks to establish high density apple orchard.
3: Growers requested information to get free budwood from USDA for grafting rootstocks.
4: Growers asked about the commercial availability of Geneva series, fire blight resistant rootstocks in the NE-USA.
5: Growers now saving budwood after pruning to graft rootstocks, which is an inexpensive way to make new trees for orchard.
6: Growers requested to conduct more workshops per year than one per year to learn more with hands-on training.
: Members of apple team (3 or 4) and farmers who patriciate in the fall 2018 workshops responds to annual verification to report on teaching and assistance about apple orchards provided to farmers.
During pre-/and post workshop surveys growers and agriculture service providers were asked for suggestions to improve this program. Following suggestions were given
1: Provide information for homeowners to grow apple trees in backyard. Information was also requested for the use of insecticides and pesticides, which can be used by home owners.
2: Growers like the idea of 'Orchard-in-Classroom' during classroom teaching. Trees were grown in big pots for classroom demonstration before orchard visit.
3: PowerPoint of workshops were requested by service providers to share hard copies with visitors at extension center at VSU.
4. Growers and service providers requested to incorporate budding and grafting session in current SARE-Apple program. This year (2019-2020) budding and grafting workshops will be conducted at UMES, VSU, DSU, and TALMAR (Therapeutic Alternatives of Maryland), Baltimore, MD.
5. During 2018-2019, SARE-Apple workshop was also conducted during MD Agricultural Educators Professional Development Conference at UMES (7/9/2019). Ag. teachers learned the basics of apple cultivation technology, which is followed by an orchard visit at UMES. Ag. Teachers showed interest in learning more about apple cultivation. One more SARE-Apple workshop will be organized in 2019-2020 season to train Ag. teachers in MD.
Members of apple team (3 or 4) and farmers will be communicated every other month about the latest information and developments in our orchard and asking if they have any questions and need assistance or more information. Online study material will also be provided about the orchard establishment and Q&A session will be organized after each workshop.
Members of SARE-Apple team and Ag. service providers had multiple queries. Major focus was on how to generate inexpensive apple trees. To achieve this goal two approaches were used
1: Organization of budding and grafting workshop during multiple event and organization of more such trainings in the current year.
2: Facilitation of more cooperation among apple growers so that they can share budwood and generate multiple varieties at farm.
3: Information requested and provided about commercial local apple rootstock nurseries.
4: Growers interest was in purchase of dwarf G-41 rootstock, which is resistant to fire blight and tolerant to multiple other diseases.
SARE-Apple teaching and outreach program extended to Veteran farmers to promote apple cultivation in the MD. Year-1.
1: Veteran farmers gained knowledge about the cultivation of multiple apple varieties in MD.
2: Beginning veteran farmers showed interest in dwarf rootstocks for early fruiting and maximum use of space.
3: Veteran growers want more such training to large number of veteran farmers across the state.
4: A meeting was organized at UMES with dean and head of multiple departments to materialize more such training to veteran farmers.
5. Three training will be conducted in Baltimore, MD to train Veteran farmers during 2019-2020 season.
1: Members of apple team (3 or 4) and 10 farmers will be invited to attend ‘Agricultural Field Day’ (September 2019) and ‘National Apple Day’ (October 2019) to visit apple orchard at UMES. Interested parties will be demonstrated the recent developments in apple orchard at UMES.
Members of apple team (3 or 4) and 10 or more farmers receive recruitment announcements that describe the new project and invite them to participate in the projects fall 2019 education program about Budding and grafting in apple orchard (November 2019; Second Pumpkin Festival at UMES).
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, instructional videos were created instead of hosting in-person workshops in 2020.
1: Three videos were made on fundamentals of budding and grafting and shared with growers and Ag. Service Providers.
2: Growers were provided information about the free availability of budwood from USDA National Germplasm Repository for diversifying scions at orchard.
3: Several growers asked about the local sources of rootstocks.
4: Media Link:
Anatomy behind budding and grafting
Budding in apple
Grafting in apple
Apple orchard at UMES
SARE-Apple teaching and outreach program extended to Veteran farmers to promote apple cultivation in the MD. Year-2.
1: Veteran Farmers showed interest in growing apple crop in MD and requested more workshops on different aspects of apple cultivation.
2: Farmers gained knowledge about rootstock and scion selection based on local climate.
: Members of apple team (3 or 4) and 8 or more farmers will participate in the third workshop during ‘Apple March’ (May 2020) at UMES. Participants gain knowledge about the economic analysis of crop production to develop an enterprise budget for apple orchard establishment.
1: Workshop was not completed due to COVID-19 situation, which prevented face-to-face interaction followed by orchard visit.
Members of apple team (3 or 4) and 2 farmers will participate in the fourth workshop during ‘Apple Festival’ (August 2020) at UMES. This workshop will involve Q and A session and provide an overview of apple cultivation over a period of three year at UMES.
Members of apple team (3 or 4) and farmers who patriciate in the fall 2019 workshops responds to annual verification to report on teaching and assistance about apple orchards provided to farmers.
: Members of apple team (3 or 4) and farmers will be communicated every other month about the latest information and developments in our orchard and asking if they have any questions and need assistance or more information. Online study material will also be provided about the orchard establishment and Q&A session will be organized after each workshop.
Milestone Activities and Participation Summary
Educational activities conducted by the project team:
|Activity||Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Total|
|Curricula, factsheets or educational tools||4||7||3||14|
|Published press articles, newsletters||3||1||0||4|
|Study circle / focus groups||1||1||0||2|
|Webinars, talks and presentations||2||7||3||12|
|Workshop / field days||6||7||3||16|
|Other educational activities: Participation in Worcester County Festival, which involved budding and grafting training to local people. |
Maintenance of three local community apple orchards.
Beneficiaries who particpated in the project’s educational activities and events:
|Audience||Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Total Individuals|
|Farmers / ranchers||25||71||74||170|
I: More number of women farmers showed interest in growing fruit trees for future generations.
II: Socially disadvantaged farmers interested in growing fruit trees, but have financial limitations.
III: Participants showed more interest in understanding science behind the technology.
IV: Participants realized the importance of local fruit cultivation instead of depending on other states for fruit import.
V: Participants understand the importance of dwarf rootstocks in apple cultivation and showed preference for high density cultivation.
VI: Beginning veteran growers showed interest in apple cultivation on the Delmarva Peninsula.
VII: Growers understand the significance of developmental stages of apple fruit development and spray regiment for timely management of diseases.
VIII: Growers showed interest in use of fertilizer injection through fertilizer injector and drip tape system to minimize waste in orchard.
IX: Growers can perform budding and grafting in apple.
X: Growers now save pruned branches as budwood.
Per-/post workshop surveys were conducted to collect the data on learning outcomes. In addition, open discussion were also conducted after workshops to promote the interactions between the growers to share knowledge and discuss current problems related to fruit cultivation on the shore.
Performance Target Outcomes
Performance Target Outcomes - Service Providers
|Activity||Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Total|
|Curricula, factsheets and other educational tools||1||1|
|Webinars, talks and presentations||1||3||3||7|
|Workshops and field days||1||3||3||7|
There is only one Ag. extension agent for three counties in the Tri-county area. Other extension associates were communicated, but they never respond. Three extension agents (Ag. extension agent, nutrient management adviser, agent associate) were the part of this program. Information gathered telephonically about their actions included:
I: Telephone consultation
II: Farm visit
III: Sharing of power point presentations from SARE-Apple workshops at UMES
IV: Group discussion