AgrAbility Harvest newsletter

April 11th, 2014 10:55 AM

HarvestCoverAgrAbility Harvest is a newsletter that highlights the activities and impacts of AgrAbility, and is designed for agricultural producers, AgrAbility staff members, rehabilitation specialists, agriculture professionals, educators, legislators, or anyone else with an interest in the agriculture and disability arena.

The 2014 edition highlights a few farming success stories; a Maine farmer is featured on page 2.   AgrAbility Harvest is published in both electronic and print formats, and to receive print copies, please email with “Newsletter” in the subject line.

USDA Enhances Farm Storage Facility Loan Program

April 9th, 2014 10:50 AM

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the expansion of the Farm Storage and Facility Loan program, which provides low-interest financing to producers. The enhanced program includes 22 new categories of eligible equipment for fruit and vegetable producers, and makes it easier for farmers and ranchers around the country to finance the equipment they need to grow and expand.


Producers with small and mid-sized operations, and specialty crop fruit and vegetable growers, now have access to needed capital for a variety of supplies including sorting bins, wash stations and other food safety-related equipment. A new more flexible alternative is also provided for determining storage needs for fruit and vegetable producers, and waivers are available on a case-by-case basis for disaster assistance or insurance coverage if available products are not relevant or feasible for a particular producer.


Additionally, Farm Storage and Facility Loans security requirements have been eased for loans between $50,000 and $100,000. Previously, all loans in excess of $50,000 required a promissory note and additional security, such as a lien on real estate. Now loans up to $100,000 can be secured by only a promissory note.


Other new changes to the Farm Storage and Facility Loan program will allow FSA State Committees to subordinate Commodity Credit Corporation’s lien position. These changes to the program were issued via an official notice to state and county Farm Service Agency offices and are effective immediately. More than 33,000 loans have been issued for on-farm storage, increasing grain storage capacity by 900 million bushels since May 2000.


More information about tools and resources available to small and mid-sized farmers will be rolled out in the coming months, including information about access to capital, risk management, food safety, and locating market opportunities on USDA’s Small and Mid-Sized Farmer Resources webpage.


Visit the FSA website or an FSA county office to learn more about FSA programs and loans, including the Farm Storage Facility Loan Program.

Farm Tractor Safety Course for Youth and Adults

April 9th, 2014 10:47 AM

Youth on Tractor

Farm work can be dangerous, but a University of Maine Cooperative Extension tractor safety course will help reduce risks to Maine farmers and farm workers. A farm tractor safety course will be held on 5 consecutive Tuesday evenings starting April 29, 2014 at the Maine Forest Service Building on Route 26 (356 Shaker Road) in Gray.

Participants should be at least 13 years of age to participate in this certified course. Adults

Location for Most Sessions: Maine Forest Service, Route 26 (Shaker Road) in Gray

Instructor: Richard J. Brzozowski, Extension Educator

Fee: $20.00 (scholarships available)

Course Schedule:

Session #1 6:30 – 8:30 p.m, Tuesday, April 29, 2014 – Maine Forest Service, Route 26, in Gray. Registration and introduction to the course, requirements of the course, all assignments must be completed and submitted plus ten hours of practice driving.

Session #2 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 6, 2014 – Meet at Hall Implement in Windham (Foster’s Corner near the rotary of Routes 302 / 202) Safety check of farm equipment exercise and tractor controls and parts identification exercise.

Session #3 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 13, 2014 – Maine Forest Service Building, Gray.

Session #4 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 20, 2014 – Maine Forest Service Building, Gray. Practice driving, safety video, and review for final exam.

Session #5 5:30 – 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, May 27, 2014 – Driving Test and Written Final Exam. Tentatively scheduled for Windham Public Works, 185 Windham Center Road, Windham.

An adult must sign off on driving hours logged for youth. Participants must successfully pass the final written exam, and successfully complete the tractor hook up and driving exams, to be certified.

For more information call 207.781.6099 or 1.800.287.1471 (in Maine) or email Lynne Hazelton. Registration is required, and space is limited.

Farmworker Awareness Week March 24 -28, 2014

March 24th, 2014 9:57 AM


Natifarmworkers week imageonal Farmworker Awareness Week (NFAW) is a week of action for communities and its members to bring attention to farmworker issues in our own communities. Farmworker Awareness Week isn’t just about raising awareness about farmworker working conditions but to also shed light on and bring honor to the important contributions farmworkers makes to our daily lives.  Read more at:

Part of AFOP’s Health & Safety Programs national effort to bring awareness to the dangers farmworkers face working with pesticides and under the sun they are raising awareness of the importance of long sleeve shirts.

Why long sleeve shirts?  Farmworkers face long hours of arduous work exposed to dangerous pesticides and heat stress. Each year, an estimated 1 billion pounds of pesticides are applied to U.S. farms, forests, lawns and golf courses.  Pesticide applicators, farmers and farmworkers, and communities near farms are often most at risk of pesticide exposure and related illnesses. We will provide farmworkers with the long sleeve shirts collected free of charge as a tools to better protect themselves against the dangers of pesticide exposure and heat stress.


Transferring the Farm – A Workshop to Help Farm Families Minimize Farm Business Succession Risk

March 13th, 2014 1:04 PM

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension is having a  workshop that will help farmers and farm families make informed decisions about intergenerational transfer of farmland and farm businesses.  The workshop will address details on transition planning, retirement and estate planning, legal approaches to protect assets from taxes, tools you can use to transfer farm assets, and determining your goals to address transfer planning and business transition.

For more information:2014 Transferring the Farm Brochure

2014 TTF brochure Bangor_LisbonFalls




Maine Hay Directory & Maine Straw Directory

March 6th, 2014 10:15 AM

Do you have enough hay to get through the winter?  Do you have hay for sale?  Use the Maine Hay Directory to locate possible hay sources or post the availability of your hay.hay-bales

If you need straw or have straw for sale, use the Maine Straw Directory.

Connecting with a Peer Support Group in Your Community

March 6th, 2014 9:51 AM

It takes time to adjust to using a wheelchair, no matter why you’re using one. Having a friend who has already rolled a mile in your shoes can help make the journey a little smoother. That’s why Wheel:Life encourages all of our readers to get involved in a peer support group in their local community.

Why “Thank You” Matters

January 27th, 2014 2:11 PM

Why “Thank You” Matters.

A new publication part of the new Maine Family Farms: Life and Business in Balance series available through the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

“Everyone needs to know that someone else cares about them, worries about them, and notices their contribution. Sharing a few simple words of appreciation and love can make a dramatic difference in farm family relationships.”

Farmer Veteran Coalition of Maine

January 13th, 2014 1:34 PM

The newly-formed Farmer Veteran Coalition of Maine (FVC-ME) is conducting a survey to determine the needs of Maine military veterans interested in a career in agriculture and the Maine food system. There are basic questions about what Farmer/Veterans would like the FVC-ME to do and what volunteer opportunities with FVC-ME might interest you. It also asks some basic demographic questions to give FVC-ME some idea of where people are in the state and what their educational background is. If you would like to help FVC-ME with this statewide needs assessment, please go to: and tell us about you!

Maine AgrAbility Helps Pietree Orchard

January 13th, 2014 12:09 PM

Farming is a tough business, but people of all kinds of abilities can farm successfully.  Read more at Pietree Orchards website.