Windham Extension Council Annual Meeting

Join us for a celebration of UConn Extension work with the Windham County Extension Council. Dr. Joe Emenheiser, our livestock Extension Educator, will conduct a demonstration on considerations of sheep management with sheep onsite.  Topics will include basic handling, body condition scoring, general management, and more! Stay for local apple crisp and refreshments.

Wednesday, May 10th 6:30-8:30

Windham County Extension Center, 139 Wolf Den Rd, Brooklyn CT 06234


6:30 – Livestock Presentation

7:15 – Refreshments and Apple Crisp from Holmberg Orchards

7:30 – Introduction and business meeting

8:30 – Adjourn

infographic with details about the event, with border of apples

UConn Extension Welcomes New Fruit Educator Evan Lentz

man holding a plastic bag in a gardenHow can UConn Extension help you? Evan Lentz, the new assistant Extension educator of fruit production and IPM at UConn’s Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture wants to know. Lentz, a recent graduate of UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, has expertise in commercial fruit production with an emphasis on small and some niche crops, IPM, farm risk management, plant nutrition and other related topics. He is planning to conduct farm visits and asks Farm Bureau members to get in touch with him to schedule a visit. He’s also planning to survey farmers on programs and trainings they would like from UConn Extension.


Email Evan Lentz:

Problem Solvers in the Aquaculture Industry

woman in a boat holding a rope
Anoushka Concepcion featured in the cover of the latest issue of Aquaculture North America.

In attempt to meet the increased demand for seaweed, aquaculture producers are working to expand the North American seaweed farming industry. However, efforts to strengthen the industry have highlighted the need to address emerging challenges. “Processing capabilities, long term nursery production, and competition with imports” are among the most prevalent concerns says Anoushka Concepcion, an Extension educator with Connecticut Sea Grant. Concepcion is leading the National Seaweed Hub, a collaborative effort of 11 Sea Grant programs in the United States addressing the needs of the seaweed industry.

Check out the Aquaculture North America issue to learn more about how educators, researchers, farmers, and engineers are collaborating to create a sustainable kelp industry. The issue is available at


BIPOC Farm Mentorship Program Application

The Connecticut Department of Agriculture is soliciting applications from individual farms and/or non-profits to identify, host and mentor a BIPOC apprentice(s) for the 2023 season. The focus of the apprenticeship must be on specialty crops. Specialty crops are defined as “fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.”
The CT DoAg has up to $50,000 in funds to award in 2023. Funding for this initiative is from USDA’s Specialty Crop Block
Grant Program. Prospective mentors may apply for up to $5,000/apprentice to be spent between mid-May- September 29, 2023. 

The deadline to apply to be considered to be a mentor/host is Monday, May 1, 2023 at 4pmPlease apply using this Cognito form. Preference will be given to mentors who identify as BIPOC, but it is not a requirement. 

Please read the attached guidance document for complete details. If you have questions or need assistance with completing the application, please contact Cyrena Thibodeau at CT DoAg , or 860-895-3094

Click here to view the guidance document.

Click here to apply.

rows of lettuce, white and green text, white and green boxes

Free One-on-One Consultations for CT Farmers

Hey Farmers! 

For those of you that are growing commercially, aka are a farm businesses, it’s time for you to sign up for a FREE consultations with some of the experts in the state surrounding a wide variety of topics!

Check it out here:

These are free one on one consultations for Connecticut Farmers, with specialists in certain fields of knowledge. These consultations are intended for those who have been farming for 10 years or less, but folks can apply if they have been farming for a longer period of time.

Sign up for an consultation with an expert on the topics of

  • Vegetable Production
  • Livestock (available in September)
  • Conservation and Land use
  • Urban Farming
  • Hemp production

The consultations will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis and are subject to the consultant’s availability. If all spots are filled, we will maintain a waiting list. Deadlines for sign ups are dependent on each consultant.

Here’s what some farmers had to say about how helpful the consultations are:

 “I appreciated that flexibility, being able to walk our fields with Joe who is full of both theoretical and practical knowledge, have him be able to notice things, comment on what he saw, that turned out to be really helpful for us. We changed our grazing plan for the rest of the season and it will impact the way we will graze this upcoming season as well.”

“We learned a lot about the history and how our land was formed. Particularly, we learned about the pingos (small ponds) we have in the woodland area. Also – taking a profile of the soil out and being able to touch/feel it and compare the colors was very memorable.”

“I like the one on one time that the farmer gets, especially for a newer farmer, who doesn’t have a mentor, having the time to pick someone’s brain was great.”

Please note: These consultations are intended for Commercial Farmers and Farm businesses. If you are homesteading, have a hobby farm, or simply love gardening, please access the UConn Home and Garden Education Center.

Again, sign up here:

Meat Science Program Merges Local Roots with Global Perspective

Joe Emenheiser of the Department of Animal Science and UConn Extension in the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources teaches Livestock and Carcass Evaluation (ANSC 3674) in a classroom in the George C. White Building (WITE). Apr. 10, 2023. (Jason Sheldon/UConn Photo)
Joe Emenheiser of the Department of Animal Science and UConn Extension in the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources teaches Livestock and Carcass Evaluation (ANSC 3674) in a classroom in the George C. White Building (WITE). Apr. 10, 2023. (Jason Sheldon/UConn Photo)

Connecticut may be best known as leaders in manufacturing and insurance, but one longstanding UConn program aims to help beef up the state’s meat industry.

The meat science program in UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources teaches students about Connecticut’s unique industry profile while providing them with the skills to work anywhere. Established in the 1950s, the program continues to evolve to meet student and business needs.

Connecticut’s Unique Industry

Just like the state itself, the meat industry in Connecticut has an obvious difference from competitors in other parts of the country: size. Most Connecticut producers operate at a much smaller scale than in the Midwest, which has considerably more open land and less population density.

These different agricultural profiles have to do with history, geography, and corn, explains Joe Emenheiser, UConn Extension educator and animal science instructor.

“A lot of this is predicated on cheap food policy, and the cost of production and processing is cheaper where more land is available. All the costs between the animal level and the consumer level, they all matter,” Emenheiser says.

Historically, the meat industry developed first on the East Coast, often near cities. But as people moved westward, there was more space for raising livestock at a lower price. Plus, new transportation systems allowed food products to be shipped from the Midwest back East. Another big advantage the Midwest had over East Coast states like Connecticut is that it is much easier to grow corn, an important food source for livestock….

Read the rest of the article here

Virtual Farmer Listening Sessions

Angie Harris

UConn’s College of Agricultural, Health and Natural Resources is hosting farmer listening sessions! We would like to hear from you on the challenges you face, and the support you would like to see UConn provide. We will be presenting initial results from our producer survey and then open the floor up to all of you. More information can be found here:

The listening sessions will be held at the following days/times:

  • Wednesday, April 26th, at 7 pm

  • Tuesday, May 2nd, at 7pm

You can register for a virtual listening session directly at Registration Link

We look forward to hearing from you!

Thank you,

Cristina Connolly

Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics 

Download a copy of the flier

Sesame in the News

Article by Sharon Gray MPH, RD 

As of January 1, 2023, Sesame is now required to be labeled as an allergen on packaged foods, including dietary supplements. This has been the culmination of efforts for years among food allergy advocates. Sesame is now the country’s ninth major allergen, affecting approximately 1.6 million people (about the population of West Virginia) in the United States. Cases of Sesame allergy, some quite severe, have been rising in recent years along with a growing number of foods that contain the ingredient. Dr. Michael Pistiner, Director of Food Allergy, Education and Prevention at Mass General Hospital for Children believes one reason for the rise in sesame allergies is due to more people in the United States eating sesame- containing products (2019). 

Sesame can be found in obvious places like sesame seeds on bagels. But it is also an ingredient in many foods from ice cream, hummus to protein bars and can be added to sauces, dips and salad dressings and hidden in spices and flavorings. Because it is in a lot of foods as hidden ingredients, it is very hard to avoid. 

The Food Allergy, Safety, Treatment, Education and Reasearch (FASTER) Act became law in April 2021, requiring sesame to be listed on packaged foods beginning January 1, 2023. 

This federal law establishing Sesame labeling by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require food products that were already on their way to the store or in stock before 2023 to list sesame as an allergen. So, unlabeled packaged foods will still be on store shelves in the near future. However, the new federal law did go into effect on January 1, adding sesame to the list of allergens that must appear on food labels if present in the product. Unfortunately, the new labeling requirements are so strict that it costs less to add sesame to food products than to try and keep it out of those foods not meant to contain it. Some of the companies adding sesame to foods that didn’t contain it before include Olive Garden, Wendys, and Chick-fil-A and bread makers that stock grocery shelves and serve schools.  Bakers, especially, find it simpler and less expensive to add sesame to a food – than to try and keep it away from other foods or equipment with sesame.  

Although these actions don’t violate the law, the FDA does not support them. These moves have the unintended effect of the law making it more difficult for sesame allergic customers to find foods that are safe for them to consume. Sesame labeling has been required for years in Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. So, labeling can be done. It is of interest how many companies in the United States will comply with the new labeling law or simply add sesame to their list of ingredients to avoid the law. 

New Label Law has Unintended Effect:  Sesame in More Foods, J. Aleccia 12/21/22 

Here are two examples of how sesame would be labeled on a food package under the new law: 

example of sesame food label example of sesame food label

New England Kelp Harvest Week

Rice Paper Rolls with KelpJoin us for the New England Kelp Harvest Week celebration April 20th through April 30th!

Connecticut Sea Grant has been collaborating with the state’s aquaculture industry to develop sugar kelp farming and a market for the product. This week kelp famers are partnering with restaurants across Connecticut to provide tasty dishes with locally grown kelp. Support the local kelp industry by visiting one of the restaurants participating and spread the word to your friends and family. You can also learn how to incorporate kelp into your meals at one of the cooking classes offered by New England Kelp Harvest. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity.

To find participating restaurants and upcoming events visit New England Kelp Harvest.

Learn more about collaborations between Connecticut Sea Grant and the Kelp industry in the following videos:



Job Opening: Assistant/Associate Extension Educator In Soil Health

Search #: 496069
Work type: Full-time
Location: Hartford County Extension Ctr
Categories: Faculty Extension Educator

The Department of Extension is seeking applicants for a full-time (11 month) non-tenure track Assistant/Associate Extension Educator in Soil Health. The successful applicant will assess, develop and deliver impactful extension programs on soil health, regenerative agriculture, and conservation practices. These programs will build an Extension program focused on creating more climate and economically resilient agricultural systems through improved knowledge of soils and soil health and will include soil and livestock manure management. This Extension Educator will collaborate with UConn personnel, state and federal agency partners, growers, and producers as appropriate. The successful applicant will develop an interdisciplinary education and applied research program in soil health addressing diverse cropping systems that include ornamental and turf crops, food and forage crops as well as composting that utilizes manure, food waste, and other organics. They will have familiarity with how to leverage federal, state, and regional programs to protect, preserve, and restore Connecticut soils. This includes collaborating with USDA – NRCS, CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, CT Department of Agriculture, the Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and other stakeholders to ensure growers, farmers and land managers are well informed and have the proper tools and knowledge to successfully build and maintain soil health. The plan of work will include making recommendations for using appropriate management practices and the latest technologies to protect water quality and quantity as well as other natural resources of CT and Long Island Sound.

To learn more and apply click here.