County Ag Report: Research In Support of Local Agriculture

Published: May. 12, 2022 at 7:44 PM EDT
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[Dr. Bee Chim, Assistant Extension Professor | UMaine Cooperative Extension]

“My goal is to understand what they really need. If they reach out – the more they reach out than I know exactly, okay everyone has the same problem. Then, you know, maybe my research has to be focused on these. So, I’m trying to develop an active, applied research program that can meet every grower’s need.”

Dr. Bee Chim is an Assistant Extension Professor at the UMaine Cooperative Extension, who focuses her research projects and studies on challenges specific to the County Ag community. A current multi-state, collaborative project, has Dr. Chim working directly with local farms and utilizing soil moisture and temperature sensors to help track and fend off certain crop diseases.

“The objective of this project is to develop a forecasting model that can integrate all these environmental factors – such as, weather, air temperature, rainfall precipitation, and then humidity as well; crop management, water rotation, and the fertility management. We can see how all these factors that are correlated, in order to lower down the disease. We have 16 sensors throughout the state right now, and I appreciate the farmers willing to collaborate with me. And then, I get to understand a little bit more in their management.”

Collaboration is key, especially in tackling larger issues such as local drought conditions.

“The two years I am here, you can see drought has always come up, right? So, people who don’t have irrigation, maybe we can improve the soil health. But, you know, soil health improvement it takes time. So, we can start now. And then hopefully by five years we have a better soil for a better environment.”

Lastly, Dr. Chim mentions the benefit of local farmers reaching out and utilizing the Cooperative Extension’s services – to ultimately continue research endeavors that are specifically geared to the County’s needs, and overall strengthen our local Ag community.

“We’re happy to help the farmers whenever they need us. I’m happy to listen to any growers that are willing to share and understand how my research can help the growers in the County. And my goal, is to you know, have a sustainable and also profitable cropping system for the County.”

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