Planting season has arrived on the Delmarva Peninsula for gardeners and small farmers and with it the need to think about small engine machine operation and maintenance. A May 1 workshop will be hosted by the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Extension’s Small Farm Program.

Shane LaBrake, (at left, center) who has over 45 years of experience in agribusiness, will be on hand from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at UMES’ Research, Extension and Teaching Farm to lead the intensive workshop focused on small engine machines and the BCS two-wheel tractor. LeBrake is certified as a chain saw specialist by the Tree Care Industry Association and owns, operates and maintains over 20 machines as the owner of an outdoor-work contracting business.  

“This type of training is always popular, particularly among beginning farmers,” said Berran Rogers Jr., coordinator of UMES Extension’s Small Farm Program. “Mr. LaBrake is well-known for his ability to communicate and train attendees of all levels in his workshops on the challenging use and care of machinery.”

 Topics include an overview of how gasoline-powered, two- and four-stroke engines work, common problems encountered and how to troubleshoot, along with information on maintenance. Personal protective equipment and safe operation of small engines and the BCS two-wheel tractor will also be covered. In addition, the pros and cons of lithium-ion battery-powered tools will be discussed.

Preregistration is required by visiting The fee is $20 per person and includes lunch. Contact for more information.

The workshop is supported by the Improving Farmers Access to Resources and Management Solutions 2 (IFARMS2) grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement.

Gail Stephens, agricultural communications and media associate, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences, UMES Extension,, 410-621-3850.

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