Archive for the ‘Workshop’ Category

Farm Scoop – August

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Microscope Workshop for Farmersgoats

Common internal parasites of sheep, goats and camelids can be detected using fecal flotation methods. Equip yourself with microscopy skills that improve your ability to make sound management decisions.

Where: J. Franklin Witter Center, 160 University Farm Road, Old Town, Maine

When: Saturday August 9th, 2014. 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Workshop fee: $30 per person

Instructors: Jim Weber DVM PhD and Anne Lichtenwalner DVM PhD

For more information and to register.

 

tilled field at Highmoor FarmHealthy Soils Webinar Series

Managing for Soil Health on an
Organic Farm: A Farmer’s Perspective

Presenter: Klaas Martens, Lakeview Organic Grain,
Penn Yan, New York

When: August 12, 2014, 2:00 p.m. Eastern / 11:00 a.m. Pacific

60 Minutes

Our presenter, Klaas Martens, Penn Yan, NY, uses a diverse crop rotation to farm over 1,400 acres of organic corn, soybeans, small grains, a variety of peas, and cover crops. By adhering to one simple principle – every crop follows a suitable predecessor – Martens has improved soil health and function to cycle nutrients, increase water infiltration and availability, and eliminate both weed and disease pest problems. In this presentation, Martens will focus on the use of plants to change the soil and how soil biology can perform the services that are expected from tillage. He will also cover relay cropping, or starting one crop before the previous crop is harvested, and how this practice allows him to maintain a living root and cover on the soil all year. Can tillage be part of a soil health building system? For more information on the webinar, and how join, click here.

 

Family members picking green beans at Crystal Springs Farm in Brunswick, Maine; photo by Edwin RemsbergGubernatorial Forum on Agriculture

When: Tuesday, August 26th starting at 1:00 p.m.

Where: The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, 205 Church Hill Road, Augusta, Maine

The Agricultural Council of Maine (AgCOM) is sponsoring a gubernatorial forum on Tuesday, August 26th starting at 1:00 p.m. The focus of the event will be on Maine agriculture. The candidates will be speaking at different times and this event will not be a debate. Eliot Cutler will speak at 1:00 p.m., Governor LePage has agreed to participate at 2:00 p.m. and Congressman Mike Michaud at 3:00 p.m. at the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.

John Rebar, Director of Extension, will be serving as moderator.  While Cooperative Extension doesn’t take a political position regarding the candidates, we do encourage that everyone participate in our democratic process. The University of Maine wants to support a vibrant agricultural economy that is sustainable and prosperous.

 

wheat fieldCover Crops – Selecting & Sowing

Cover crops provide many benefits to the soil and next year’s crops.  August and September are the months in when most cover crops are sown in Maine.  Here is a link to a listing of cover crops for Maine.

Here is a link to a comprehensive guide to cover crops from NRCS.

 

Refining & Improving Your Product Sales

The Art & Science of Farmers’ Market Displays

https://www.uvm.edu/extension/community/farmersmktdisplayfactsheet.pdf

By listening and questioning your customer, you will be able to provide the products and services they want. This link to a series from Penn State University Extension explores ways to better know your customer.

http://extension.psu.edu/business/farm/marketing/understanding-your-customer

Do you want to learn more about using social media to market your products?  Here is a link that might be helpful.

http://extension.psu.edu/business/farm/marketing/social-media/publications

Here is a link to several webinars for farmers about social media and mobile technology.

http://extension.psu.edu/business/farm/marketing/social-media/webinars

 

The Forestry Rules of Maine 2014

Questions about how to manage your woodlot? Download this new guide for free at http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/attach.php?id=623259&an=1

 

What’s in the 2014 Farm Bill for Farm Service Agency Customers?

The Agricultural Act of 2014 (the Act), also known as the 2014 Farm Bill, was signed by President Obama on Feb. 7, 2014. The Act repeals certain programs, continues some programs with modifications, and authorizes several new programs administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). Most of these programs are authorized and funded through 2018.

 

unhusked cornScaling up Your Vegetable Farm

A new publication from the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service helps farmers decide if they are ready to expand their operations to serve wholesale markets or produce more for direct markets. It describes how organization and planning can help a producer meet the challenges involved in scaling up. This publication addresses important considerations such as land, labor, food safety, marketing, and insurance. Find it for free online.

 

USDA Provides 12-Week Progress Update on Disaster Assistance

106,000 Payments Helping Farmers in 40 States Recover from Losses.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack provided a 12-week progress report on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster assistance programs today, announcing that USDA has processed 106,000 payments to farmers in 40 states across the country who suffered livestock and grazing losses between October 2011 and passage of the 2014 Farm Bill.

“Farmers and ranchers who waited two and a half years for a Farm Bill are now getting some relief,” said Vilsack. “We met the very ambitious goal to get these programs up and running in just 60 days. Now, thanks to our dedicated staff in offices across the country, we’ve provided more than 106,000 payments to farmers and ranchers in 40 states who suffered drought, blizzard, and other weather related losses.”

A quick implementation of the disaster assistance programs has been a top priority for USDA. In February, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that enrollment for four disaster assistance programs would begin April 15, 2014, 60 days from the date the programs were reestablished by the 2014 Farm Bill. After the 2008 Farm Bill, it took over one year for the programs to get up and running.

Since then, dedicated full-time FSA staff, as well as temporary employees hired to expedite the application process, have processed over $1.2 billion in payments to qualifying farmers and ranchers. The first payments were sent out to farmers and ranchers within two weeks of enrollment. USDA estimated that roughly $2.5 billion would be provided in disaster relief to cover losses from October 2011 through September 2014. If those estimates prove accurate, it would mean nearly half of all disaster payments have already been provided.

While disaster relief is a critical lifeline that can prevent farmers and ranchers who do not have access to crop insurance from being wiped out by weather-related losses beyond their control, most producers only receive support equal to 60 percent of their actual losses.

USDA disaster programs include:

  • The Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) and the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) provides payments for grazing losses due to drought and livestock deaths due to adverse weather.
  • The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) provides assistance for livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish losses due to disease (including cattle tick fever), weather, wildfires and colony collapse disorder, or for losses not covered under other disaster assistance programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill.
  • The Tree Assistance Program (TAP) provides financial assistance to eligible orchardists and nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate trees, bushes and vines that were lost or damaged by natural disasters.

Specific program deadlines are as follows:

• 2011-2013 ELAP – Friday, Aug. 1, 2014

• 2011 -2014 LFP – Friday, Jan. 30, 2015

• 2011-2014 LIP – Friday, Jan. 30, 2015

• 2011-2014 TAP – Monday, Feb. 2, 2015

Producers affected by adverse weather should contact their FSA county office to make an appointment and learn if they are eligible for disaster assistance. For more information, producers may review the 2014 Farm Bill Fact Sheet, and the LIP, LFP, ELAP and TAP fact sheets online, or visit any local FSA office.

 

goat producer with goats; photo by Edwin Remsberg, USDAScrapie Information for Goat and Sheep Producers

As a producer of sheep or goats, you ought to be aware of the latest information about scrapie.  The Scrapie Eradication Program has been fairly successful to date, however, there are still steps to be taken so that the disease might be completely eradicated from the US.  In an effort to keep you posted and with the support of the American Sheep Industry, Dick Brzozowski, Extension Educator assembled a file of information for sheep and goat producers. To get the complete file contact contact Lynne Hazelton at 1.800.287-.1471.

In addition, below are 3 links to more scrapie-related information.

 

Country of Origin Labeling — The Basics

When: Thursday, September 25, 2014, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time

Join USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) for a live and interactive webinar, “Country of Origin Labeling—The Basics.”

Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) is a labeling law that requires retailers to provide their customers with information about the origin of various food products.  This includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, shellfish, beef, veal, pork, lamb, goat, and chicken.  Mandatory COOL requirements help consumers make informed decisions about the food they buy.

AMS implements, administers, and enforces the COOL regulations.  Since the regulations were finalized in 2009, AMS and our state partners have closely monitored industry compliance with COOL through reviews of more than 25,000 retail stores and audits of nearly 2,000 suppliers.

During the webinar, Julie Henderson, Director of AMS’ COOL Division, will introduce COOL and discuss what we’ve found through our monitoring activities.  Her formal presentation will be followed by interactive question and answer session.

This webinar is free and available to anyone with Internet access.  However, space is limited and you must register to participate.  Register today for our webinar!

To learn more about COOL visit www.ams.usda.gov/COOL.

This webinar is hosted by the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).   To view previous webinars online, visit our Webinar Archive.

If you have any questions about our webinar series or USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, please contact Christopher Purdy at 202.720.3209.

 

strawberriesDisaster Assistance for 2012 Frost or Freeze Fruit Crop Losses Announced

Enrollment Begins July 22

WASHINGTON, July 21, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) assistance for losses to bush or tree fruit crops due to frost or freeze during the 2012 crop year.  The program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides supplemental NAP payments to eligible producers.

Farmers who did not have access to crop insurance and are in primary and adjacent counties that received a Secretarial disaster designation because of frost or freeze in 2012 are eligible for NAP assistance.  Losses due to weather damage or other adverse natural occurrences may also qualify for program assistance.

NAP enrollment begins July 22, 2014.  Applications must be submitted to FSA county offices by Sept. 22, 2014.

“After the 2014 Farm Bill was enacted into law, USDA expedited the restart of disaster assistance programs as a top priority,” said FSA Administrator Juan Garcia. “Fruit producers experienced significant financial losses from weather-related damage in 2012.  NAP provides them with long-awaited disaster relief.”

To expedite applications, producers who experienced losses are encouraged to collect records documenting these losses in preparation for the sign-up in this program. Producers also are encouraged to contact their FSA county office to schedule an appointment. Limited resource, socially disadvantaged, and beginning producers are eligible for premium reductions and also may be eligible for fee reductions.

Interested producers can view the 2012 NAP Coverage for Frost, Freeze or Weather Related Fruit Losses Fact Sheet, or visit a local FSA office. To find out if land is located in an eligible frost/freeze county.

 

Nomination Deadline Nears for Farm Service Agency County Committees

WASHINGTON, July 17, 2014 — U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan Garcia reminds farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers that Aug. 1, 2014, is the deadline for local FSA county committee nominations.

County committees are an important link between the farm community and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Farmers and ranchers elected to local committees share their opinions and ideas on federal farm programs.

“There’s still time for eligible farmers and ranchers to get involved in this year’s county committee elections,” said Garcia. “Nominate yourself or a candidate of your choice to serve on the local county committee. I especially encourage the nomination of beginning farmers and ranchers, as well as women and minorities. This is your opportunity to have a say in how federal programs are delivered in your county.”

While FSA county committees do not approve or deny farm ownership or operating loans, they work closely with county executive directors and make decisions on disaster and conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan programs and other agricultural issues.

Members serve three-year terms. Nationwide, there are about 7,800 farmers and ranchers serving on FSA county committees. Committees consist of three to 11 members that are elected by eligible producers.

To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area where the person is nominated.

To become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign the nomination form, FSA-669A. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections. Forms for the 2014 election must be postmarked or received in the local USDA Service Center by close of business on Aug. 1, 2014. Ballots will be mailed to eligible voters by Nov. 3 and are due back to the local USDA Service Centers on Dec. 1. The newly elected county committee members will take office on Jan. 1, 2015.

 

 

Farm Scoop – July 2014

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Is Endophyte a Concern for Maine Livestock Producers?

This spring a few beef producers contacted UMaine Extension concerned that Endophyte infected fescue or perennial ryegrass may be adversely affecting their pregnant cattle. In other states Endophyte (fungus) infected pastures can cause abortions and/or poor weight gains in cattle and other livestock that graze these grasses.

Donna Coffin, Extension Educator received funding for a research project to try to assess if our fescue or ryegrass pastures or haylands are infected, how widespread the infected grasses are in Maine and how much of a concern it should be for livestock producers. If you have stands that are predominantly fescue or ryegrass and would like to have them tested for free for endophyte please contact her at 207.564.3301 or by email at Donna Coffin.

 

USDA Announces Funding Availability for Biomass Material into Energy

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) began accepting applications June 16 from energy facilities interested in receiving forest or agricultural residues to generate clean energy. The support comes through the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), which was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

BCAP provides financial assistance to farmers and ranchers who establish and maintain new crops of energy biomass, or who harvest and deliver forest or agricultural residues to a qualifying energy facility. Of the total $25 million per year authorized for BCAP, the 2014 Farm Bill provides up to 50 percent ($12.5 million) each year for matching payments for the harvest and transportation of biomass residues. BCAP matching payments will resume this summer, while crop incentives will begin in 2015. Some matching payments will support the removal of dead or diseased trees from National Forests and Bureau of Land Management public lands. This will be turned into renewable energy while reducing the risk of forest fire. Agriculture residues, such as corn cobs and stalks, also may qualify as energy-producing feedstock.

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), which administers BCAP, will begin accepting applications from biomass conversion facilities beginning June 16, 2014, through July 14, 2014. Information on funding availability can be found in the Federal Register notice. For more details on applications and deadlines on BCAP, visit a local FSA county office or go online.

 

Hay & Straw DirectoryBaling hay

June has been a great month for making hay.  If you have excess or are the position to sell hay or straw, consider using the Maine Hay and Straw Directory.  It is free to use.  More information is available online, or call Cooperative Extension 1.800.287.1426.

 

Preserving the Harvest July Workshops AnnouncedVegetables for food preservation

Ever wonder about preserving your garden produce?  Learn how at a University of Maine Preserving the Harvest class. Visit the UMaine Cooperative Extension Food and Health page for a listing of current workshops.

 

Maine Home Garden News July Issue Announced

Gardening advice by the month throughout the growing season!  Sign up for gardening information, timely tips and research-based articles written by UMaine Extension staff and Master Gardener Volunteers at Maine Home Garden News.

 

Have you Considered Agritoursim?

Agritoursim is one way to generate more income from the farm.  But it is not for every farm.  Learn more about the benefits and drawbacks by visiting a web site hosted by Rutgers University. The site was initiated to train agriculture service providers. However, much of the information posted can be used directly by farmers and growers. At the site, you will find short videos, training module, fact sheets and worksheets.

 

Tractor Safety on Public Roadsteen on tractro

Consider a safety check-in and conversation with your family members or employees regarding operating tractors on public roads.  Here are a few links for information you may find useful.  Road Safety for Tractors & Farm Machinery and Operating the Tractor on Public Roads.

 

Maine Farms: Life and Business in Balance

The Maine Family Farms: Life and Business in Balance  series recognizes that the needs of farmers at each various life stage are unique, as choices about farming practices, child rearing, business growth, and succession planning enter into decision making. This series consists of five fact sheets plus an introductory fact sheet that can purchased/downloaded individually or as a series. Click here to view

Retail price: FREE DOWNLOAD; color printout $3.00 entire series / $0.50 – $0.75 each

Contact person:  Leslie Forstadt and Tori Jackson

Publisher: UMaine Extension

To order: by email extension.orders@maine.edu or call 207.581.3792 .

To view all the publications:

 

Backyard Locavore Day

Backyard Locavore Day scheduled for August 9th Rain or Shine. This is a unique one day educational event. Gain knowledge on food preservation and gardening from UMaine Extension’s Master Food Preservers and Master Volunteers.  Learn more at the Backyard Locavore Day page.

 

NRCS Announces Application Deadline for Conservation Programs

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced the application deadline dates for two of its conservation programs — the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the Agricultural Management Assistance Program.  The Fiscal Year 2015 application deadline for both of these programs is August 15, 2014.

Agricultural producers and foresters are encouraged to sign up now for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), which provides financial and technical assistance to address varying natural resource priorities. The Fiscal Year 2015 funding consideration application deadline for most EQIP fund pool categories will be August 15, 2014.  This does not include the EQIP National Water Quality Initiative and Conservation Innovation Grants.  These deadlines are yet to be determined.

The August 15, 2014 deadline for 2015 funding consideration is for both applications for EQIP local Field Office fund pool categories (such as animal waste, cropland, forestry, seasonal high tunnels, pasture, and wildlife) and the statewide fund pool categories (Beginning Farmer, Socially Disadvantaged, Tribal Projects, Water Conservation/Irrigation, Aquatic Organism Passage Projects, Conservation Activity Plans, On-Farm Energy and Organic).  The August 15, 2014 signup deadline is an extension to the previously posted July 1, 2014 deadline for the EQIP local Field Office fund pool, or “general” categories.

Agricultural producers are also encouraged to sign up now for the Agricultural Management Assistance Program (AMA), which also has a Fiscal Year 2015 funding consideration application deadline of August 15, 2014.  AMA assists agricultural producers to manage risk and voluntarily address issues such as water management, water quality, and erosion control by incorporating conservation practices into their farming operations. For 2015, Maine NRCS will again be offering financial assistance for irrigation systems and  introducing an opportunity for funding deer exclusion fencing for orchards through the AMA program.

There is a continuous, year-round sign-up for these two programs, but applications submitted by August 15, 2014 will be considered for funding in Fiscal Year 2015.  Proposals submitted after that date will be held for Fiscal Year 2016 funding consideration.

Interested landowners should visit their local NRCS office located at the USDA Service Center to determine eligibility.   USDA Service Centers are listed online, or in the telephone book under United States Government, Agriculture Department. For more information on EQIP and AMA, please visit the NRCS website.

 

usdaNew USDA Website for Beginning Farmers

New Farm Bill measures and other policy changes to improve the financial security of new and beginning farmers and ranchers. Harden also unveiled www.usda.gov/newfarmers, a new website that will provide a centralized, one-stop resource where beginning farmers and ranchers can explore the variety of USDA initiatives designed to help them succeed.

“New and beginning farmers are the future of American agriculture,” Said Deputy Secretary Harden. “The average age of an American farmer is 58 and rising, so we must help new farmers get started if America is going to continue feeding the world and maintain a strong agriculture economy. The new policies announced today will help give beginning farmers the financial security they need to succeed. Our new online tool will provide one-stop shopping for beginning farmers to learn more about accessing USDA services that can help their operations thrive.”

USDA’s new farmer website has in depth information for new farmers and ranchers, including: how to increase access to land and capital; build new market opportunities; participate in conservation opportunities; select and use the right risk management tools; and access USDA education, and technical support programs. These issues have been identified as top priorities by new farmers. The website will also feature instructive case studies about beginning farmers who have successfully utilized USDA resources to start or expand their business operations.

Today’s policy announcements in support of beginning farmers and ranchers include:

  • Waiving service fees for new and beginning farmers or ranchers to enroll in the Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) for the 2014 crop year. NAP provides risk management tools to farmers who grow crops for which there is no crop insurance product. Under this waiver, announced via an official notice to Farm Service Agency offices, farmers and ranchers who already enrolled in NAP for the 2014 crop year are eligible for a service fee refund.
  • Eliminating payment reductions under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for new and beginning farmers which will allow routine, prescribed, and emergency grazing outside the primary nesting season on enrolled land consistent with approved conservation plans. Previously, farmers and ranchers grazing on CRP land were subject to a reduction in CRP payments of up to 25 percent. Waiving these reductions for new and beginning farmers will provide extra financial support during times of emergency like drought and other natural disasters. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).
  • Increasing payment rates to beginning farmers and ranchers under Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP). Under this provision, beginning farmers and ranchers can claim up 90 percent of losses for lost livestock, such as bees, under ELAP. This is a fifty percent increase over previously available payment amounts to new and beginning farmers.

USDA 2014 Farm Bill logoIn the near future, USDA will also announce additional crop insurance program changes for beginning farmers and ranchers – including discounted premiums, waiver of administrative fees, and other benefits. These policy announcements are made possible through the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

The Deputy Secretary made these announcements at the inaugural meeting of the reconvened Beginning Farmer and Rancher Advisory Committee held at the University of California Davis, California. This Advisory Committee, composed of 20 members, including Extension agents, lenders, farmers, ranchers and academics will meet through 2015 to learn, discuss, and formulate recommendations to USDA on how to support new and beginning farmers.

Additional information about USDA actions in support of beginning farmers and ranchers is available online.

Rogers Farm site of free Sustainable Agriculture Field Day

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014
UMaine Sustainable Ag Field DayThe University of Maine Cooperative Extension will hold its annual Sustainable Agriculture Field Day 4-7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 26, at Rogers Farm, 914 Bennoch Road, Old Town.

Rogers Farm is part of UMaine’s J.F. Witter Teaching and Research Center. The free event is designed for farmers, crop advisers and others interested in agricultural production. UMaine agricultural researchers and Extension faculty will present field research highlighting current applied agricultural research projects, including alternative weed management strategies in vegetable production, opportunities and challenges with winter grains and evaluating plants to support native pollinators.

Presenters include Ellen Mallory, Extension sustainable agriculture specialist; Lois Berg Stack, Extension ornamental horticulture specialist; Eric Gallandt, associate professor of weed ecology and management; John Jemison, Extension water quality specialist; Bryan Brown and Erin Roche, UMaine graduate students in Sustainable Agriculture; and Tom Molloy, sustainable agriculture research associate. Ilse Rasmussen, visiting scholar from the International Center for Research on Organic Food Systems, will discuss sustainable agriculture in Denmark.

Participants will receive one pesticide certification credit and two Certified Crop Adviser credits. Registration begins at 4:30 p.m.; events are 5-7:30 p.m. Participants are invited to arrive at 4 p.m. to participate in a walking weed tour conducted by Gallandt.

For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, contact Mallory at 207.581.2942 or Jemison at 207.581.3241.

What’s That Weed? UMaine Extension Knows

Thursday, May 29th, 2014
Cinquefoil

Rough cinquefoil (Potentilla norvegica L.) in flower, June. Photo by Jennifer Cote

Common weeds that invade vegetable, fruit, and other cultivated crops will be the focus of the walk led by Extension Educator Donna Coffin. She’ll have references available for those who want to learn how to identify and manage weeds. Participants are encouraged to bring a digital photo of problematic weeds in their farms and gardens. Two hours of pesticide recertification credit are available for private pesticide applicators.

For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, contact Coffin at 207.564.3301,800.287.1491 (in Maine), or donna.coffin@maine.edu. Details also are available at calendar.umaine.edu/events/.

Farm Scoop – May 2014

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

University of Maine Cooperative Extension offers FREE Hayfield, Pasture Management Workshops

Baling hayRick Kersbergen, UMaine Extension educator in Waldo County, will lead the “Got Hayfields?” workshops, which focus on how to best manage hayfields and pastures to produce high-quality feed for livestock. Topics include weed control, managing soil fertility, hay and pasture renovation techniques, grazing management and basics of forage quality.

Workshops are scheduled for the following dates, times and locations:

•  May 14, 5:30-7:30 p.m., UMaine Extension, 24 Main St., Lisbon Falls

•  June 3, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Noon Family Sheep Farm, 78 Sunset Road, Springvale

Pre-registration is requested. To register, or to request a disability accommodation, call 1.800.287.1426, or visit the Waldo County program page

2014 FAMACHA Workshop

GoatOn Saturday, May 17th at 3:00 p.m. the North East Livestock Expo (NELE) in Windsor, attend a FAMACHA workshop, designed to equip sheep and goat producers with the skills and knowledge to determine the degree of infections of Haemonchus contorutus (barber pole worm). Cost PER FARM: $20.00 (enrolls multiple attendees). For more information or to enroll, please visit the Cumberland County program page

Pilot Farmers’ Market in Lisbon

The Town of Lisbon, under its Healthy Maine Streets initiative, is interested in starting a pilot Farmer’s Market for the 2014 season at the MTM Community Center at 18 School Street. If you are interested in participating in this exciting new market, please contact Economic & Community Development Director, Tracey Steuber.

There will be an informational meeting for all interested vendors on Tuesday, May 20th at 5:30 p.m. at the UMaine Cooperative Extension office located at 24 Main Street in Lisbon Falls. If you are interested, but unable to make this meeting, please let Tracey know.

UMaine Cooperative Extension offers 2014 Master Food Preserver Program

Strawberries-with-other-vegsMaster Food Preserver (MFP) volunteers serve to extend Extension’s educational programs in food preservation to adults and youth. The MFP Program includes 10 three-hour kitchen lab sessions in the Gorham Middle School, Family and Consumer Science Room, and the UMaine Cooperative Extension Cumberland County office in Falmouth.

Sessions will take place throughout the growing season from June – September, focusing on food preservation techniques including: canning, drying, freezing, fermenting and winter storage techniques.

Once MFPs have successfully completed the Program, they serve as a volunteer and resource in the community to provide the public with research-based information from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and USDA.

Details and application packets are available online at the Food Preservation – Master Food Preserver Program page.

The Andy Valley Successful Farmer Irrigation Workshop

This is the final session in a series of workshops for farmers in the Androscoggin Valley. Irrigation for Field and High Tunnel Production will cover state regulations, water budget, watering systems, drip irrigation, soil moisture monitoring, water conservation and related programs— May 6—All-day— Classroom session at Androscoggin/Sagadahoc Cooperative Extension Office, 24 Main Street, Lisbon Falls and on-site session  at Six River Farm in Bowdoinham.  Advanced Registration Required. To register contact: Jane Heikkinen at 207.753.9400 ext. 400 for a form or go to www.androscogginswcd.org.

Please notify us with any special accommodation needs by May 1. The cost for this workshop session is $15 per person.  BRING YOUR  OWN  LUNCH . Scholarships are available for second person from the farm. Call at number above for scholarship details. Costs are able to remain minimal because of grant funding provided by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service under project#68-1218-13-17.

garlic; photo by Edwin RemsbergNew UMaine Extension Garlic Website

Found as an important ingredient in many cuisines, garlic is an easy-to-grow, high value crop that is increasingly popular in Maine with farmers and gardeners. The UMaine Garlic Website will assist in all aspects of the garlic growing cycle.

Sign-Up for USDA Disaster Assistance Programs Restored by Farm Bill

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that starting today, eligible farmers and ranchers can sign up for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster assistance programs restored by passage of the 2014 Farm Bill.

Depending on the size and type of farm or ranch operation, eligible producers can enroll in one of four programs administered by the Farm Service Agency.  The Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP), and the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) will provide payments to eligible producers for livestock deaths and grazing losses that have occurred since the expiration of the livestock disaster assistance programs in 2011, and including calendar years 2012, 2013, and 2014.  The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish that have suffered losses because of disease, severe weather, blizzards and wildfires.

Producers signing up for these programs are encouraged to contact their local FSA office for information on the types of records needed and to schedule an appointment.  Taking these steps in advance will help producers ensure their application moves through the process as quickly as possible.

Supporting documents may include livestock birth records, purchase and transportation receipts, photos and ownership records showing the number and type of livestock lost, documents listing the gallons of water transported to livestock during drought, and more.  Crop records may include purchase receipts for eligible trees, bushes, or vines, seed and fertilizer purchases, planting and production records, and documentation of labor and equipment used to plant or remove eligible trees, bushes, or vines.

Producers have three to nine months to apply depending on the program and year of the loss.  Details are available from any local FSA office.

For more information, producers may review the 2014 Farm Bill Fact Sheet, and the LIP, LFP, ELAP and TAP fact sheets online, or visit any local FSA office or USDA Service Center.

Marketing for Profit: Tools for Success Free Course for Farmers

The Farmers Market Federation of NY and the NY Farm Viability Institute are cosponsoring an online course in Marketing aimed at farmers called Marketing for Profit: Tools for Success. This program is funded by USDA SARE’s NE Professional Development Program and hosted by Cornell Cooperative Extension Broome County.

There is no charge for the course which can be taken by farmers at their convenience asynchronously and is accessible any time, day or night. Participants do not have to follow a specific schedule which makes it easier for farmers to participate since they can move through the course at their own pace.

The curriculum includes the following five components, or modules: Self-Assessment, Market Assessment, Customer Assessment, Communications Assessment, and Business Assessment. Within each module there are three sessions which include a video of each live presentation, Q & A documents, glossary of terms, links to additional resources, an online discussion forum, homework assignments, and a quiz. By completing all five modules, farmers will be able to learn essential marketing skills to analyze their personal and business capacity, determine optimal marketing channels, build their customer base, and increase their sales and profits. After completing the course, participants will have all the knowledge needed to create their complete farm business and marketing plan.

Successful completion of all sessions within each of the 5 components including the assignments and quizzes will earn the participant a Certificate of Achievement. In addition, farmers who complete the course in its entirety will be eligible for borrower training credits through the USDA Farm Services Agency.

To register for this free online curriculum to help farmers increase their marketing skills and grow their business, go to the Marketing for Profit: Tools for Success page.

For more information on the curriculum, or on using the course to qualify for borrower training credits, please contact the Farmers Market Federation office at 315.637.4690.

Female black-legged tick

Female black-legged tick; photo by Scott Bauer.

UMaine Extension Tick I.D. Lab

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension Pest Management Office has started a new tick identification lab.  The PMO has always identified ticks with averaging around 50 or so specimens a year.  The bulk of Maine’s tick identifications were done at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute in Scarborough.  There, they processed up to 1300 samples per year, looking at tick distribution and occurrence of Lyme disease as well as other tick borne problems.

As of Dec 31, 2013 they stopped this part of their research and approached the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Pest Management Office to take over the I.D. part of this service.  A website, as well as a submission program/online form, were quickly established, and a $10 fee per tick for ID instated.  To ensure quick turnaround time on specimens, an extensive day-long training was held at PMO for tick ID of the 14 species found in Maine. The program came online the first week April, and the first tick specimens are now being submitted.  Please go online to view the new website and find the submission form.

Pollinator Protection – A very important topic for growers, commercial beekeepers and pesticide applicators

In 2012, David Yarborough, University of Maine Wild Blueberry Specialist, said, “There are usually about 55,000 hives trucked in each spring from places as far away as Florida, Texas and California.” With anywhere from 20,000 to 40,000 bees per hive, that’s a billion bees. Without these pollinators Maine’s wild blueberry crop yields would suffer.  Many other crops also rely on pollinators, especially our fruits and vegetables.

Nationwide, honey bee colonies have been declining in recent years due to several factors, including parasitic mites, viruses, fungal diseases, malnutrition, lack of genetic diversity and improper use of pesticides. The overwintering losses have averaged in the 30% range over the last seven seasons (see graph below courtesy of www.beeinformed.org).  This level of decline is not sustainable.

honey bee loss graph in the USThe prevailing theory among scientists in the EPA, USDA and global scientific and regulatory community is that the general declining health of honey bees is related to complex interactions among multiple stressors including:

  • pests (e.g., varroa mite), pathogens (e.g., the bacterial disease American foulbrood) and viruses.
  • poor nutrition (e.g., due to loss of foraging habitat and increased reliance on supplemental diets);
  • pesticide exposure;
  • bee management practices (e.g., long migratory routes to support pollination services); and
  • lack of genetic diversity.

Growers, commercial beekeepers and pesticide applicators in Maine must work together to help stem this tide of pollinator decline.  The Board of Pesticide Control’s website now has a web page to provide growers and applicators with resources to help reduce the risk of pesticide applications affecting pollinators (see link below).

We all need to know which pesticides and adjuvants are toxic to pollinators and how to reduce the potential for pollinator exposure when we use those products.  Of course the most risky products are insecticides, but there are some combinations of insecticides and fungicides or certain types of surfactants that appear to be toxic to bees and other pollinators in either their adult or larval stages.

Pesticide Bee IconSome products (neonicotinoid and diamide insecticides at first) will have new label warnings that include this “bee icon” on the label.  It is extremely important for growers and applicators to follow the restrictions on those labels very carefully.  Other labels will continue to have language that restricts application during bloom or when bees (or other pollinators) are foraging on flowering crops or adjacent weeds.  Of course those restrictions are equally binding.

Other important practices that pesticide applicators should follow to protect pollinators include:

  • Avoiding unnecessary pesticide applications by following integrated pest management practices
  • Choosing pesticides carefully – see How to Reduce Bee Poisoning from Pesticides
  • Application of pollinator toxic pesticides (PTP) at night or when temperatures are under 45 degrees F
  • Delaying application of PTP until after full petal fall
  • Avoiding tank mixes, especially with insecticide-miticide or insecticide-fungicide combinations
  • Avoiding spills or splashes that leave pesticides in puddles or standing water
  • Notifying beekeepers within 2 – 3 miles of your application site prior to PTP applications
  • Avoiding multiple applications of systemic insecticides on potted nursery plants
  • Avoiding use of organo-silicone surfactants around bloom periods – see Compendium of Herbicide Adjuvants
  • Proper planting of treated seed to avoid creation of toxic dusts

The Board’s new Pollinator Protection web resource page provides additional information.

Additional resources:

 If you have any questions, please contact us at pesticides@maine.gov .

Learn to ID Goat, Sheep Parasite at UMaine Extension FAMACHA Workshop

Friday, April 18th, 2014
goatsUniversity of Maine Cooperative Extension will offer a FAMACHA workshop to teach farmers how to identify parasite infection in sheep and goats Saturday, May 17 at the Northeast Livestock Expo in Windsor, Maine.

FAMACHA is a diagnostic tool — a chart — that matches an animal’s eyelid color to anemia levels, thus enabling farmers to target treatment for sheep and goats infected with the barber pole worm. Thomas Settlemire, professor emeritus at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, and Richard Brzozowski, UMaine Extension small ruminant specialist, will present the workshop.

Participants will receive hands-on training, an information packet, record sheets and a FAMACHA card. Cost is $20 per farm. To enroll, visit http://umaine.edu/cumberland/programs/famacha-workshops/. For more information, or to request disability accommodations, contact 207.781.6099, 1.800.287.1471 (in Maine) or lynne.b.hazelton@maine.edu.

Farm Scoop – April 2014

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

UMaine Extension offers Hayfield,
Pasture Management WorkshopsBaling hay

University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering free workshops on hayfield and pasture management this spring around the state.

Rick Kersbergen, UMaine Extension educator in Waldo County, will lead the “Got Hayfields?” workshops, which focus on how to best manage hayfields and pastures to produce high-quality feed for livestock. Topics include weed control, managing soil fertility, hay and pasture renovation techniques, grazing management and basics of forage quality.

Workshops are scheduled for the following dates, times and locations:

•  April 3, 6-8 p.m., Farmington Grange, 124 Bridge Street, West Farmington

•  April 10, 7-9 p.m., UMaine Extension, 307 Maine Avenue, Bangor

•  April 24, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Vassalboro Grange, Route 32, East Vassalboro

•  April 30, 2-4 p.m., UMaine Extension, 57 Houlton Road, Presque Isle

•  May 14, 5:30-7:30 p.m., UMaine Extension, 24 Main Street, Lisbon Falls

•  June 3, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Noon Family Sheep Farm, 78 Sunset Road, Springvale

Pre-registration is requested. Register here, or to request a disability accommodation, call 1.800.287.1426.

 

School for Poultry Producers Focuses on
Best Practices, Bird Health

UMaine Extension and Maine Poultry Growers Association (MPGA) will offer a daylong school for poultry producers on Saturday, April 5th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield.

Topics will include best management practices, bird health and disease prevention for egg layers and meat birds. Additional topics include poultry nutrition, poultry product quality and organic practices.

The school is designed for farmers with a poultry enterprise and is appropriate for backyard keepers, bird fanciers and 4-H teens. The $25 fee ($10 for MPGA members) includes a reference notebook, a poultry break-even calculator and refreshments. Participants should bring their lunch.

The Maine Farm Bureau and Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association are co-sponsors. For more information and to register, visit the Cumberland County Extension page, or call UMaine Extension, 207.781.6099. To request a disability accommodation, call 207.781.6099 or 1.800.287.1471 (in Maine only).

 

Conservation of our Native BeesA queen bee with some of her attending workers.

Alison C. Dibble, Ph.D., conservation biologist and pollination ecologist from the University of Maine, Orono, will speak on April 8, at 7:00 p.m. (weather date April 15) at the Standish Town Hall. Her talk will feature a summary of what we know of the 270 species of native bees in Maine, their importance as pollinators, and recognition of their potential role in crop pollination given the decline of the introduced honey bee due to Colony Collapse Disorder. She will offer practical tips on how to enhance bee habitats in the home garden and around the farm, and where to look for more resources. She will emphasize bumble bees, which are easy to recognize and are starting to fly in early April. With Dr. Frank Drummond and others at the University of Maine, Dr. Dibble researches use of native bees as pollinators of the wild blueberry crop in a 5-year USDA-funded project on pollination security in four crops of the northeast (includes also apple, cranberry, squashes). She also prepares pollinator habitat enhancement plans for farmers around the state.

The talk is hosted by the Wildridge Garden Club and is free and open to the public.

 

Final Date for Maine Farms for the Future Clinics

GET YOURSELF READY NOW! This is the final free clinic offered by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, to help interested and farmers confirm their eligibility and “practice” applying for the Maine Farms for the Future Business Planning Grant in mid-September.

The last clinic will be held in Room 319 of the Deering Building which is located at 90 Blossom Lane in Augusta.

Thursday, April 10 – 1:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

Space is limited to 15 participants per clinic. Please call Kimbalie Lawrence at 207.287.3491 to reserve your place at the table and get a jump on your application.

 

Organic Livestock Health Care

with Susan Beal

April 12, 2014; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Common Ground Education Center, Unity.

Please bring a bag lunch and register here.

Susan has a clear understanding of organic livestock care and its relation to physiology, nutrition, herbs and homeopathy. She will give a good overview related to all species.

Agenda:

Morning: Patterns and Articulation: Individual and Intergenerational Health and Vitality

Afternoon: Building Holistic Health: Patterns and Practices, Tools and Techniques

Question and Answer Session

 

Blade Shearing School with Kevin Fordsheep shearing

Date: April 11-12, 2014

Time: 9:00 a.m.

Fee: $110 per student. Limit of 10 participants. Includes shearing manual, morning refreshments and lunch each day.

Location: At the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in New Gloucester, Maine.

Spectators are welcome.

 

Intermediate Level Sheep Shearing School
with Gwen Hinman

Date: April 13th, 2014

Time: 9:00 a.m.

Fee: $85 per student. Limit of six participants. Includes shearing manual, morning refreshments and lunch.

Location: Washington, Maine

 

Beginner Level Sheep Shearing School

Date: April 26th, 2014

Time: 9:00 a.m.

Fee: $40 per student. Limit of 18 participants. Includes shearing manual, morning refreshments and lunch.

Location: Wolfe Neck Farm, Freeport, ME

Spectators are welcome.

For more information or to register please visit the Cumberland County Extension page.

 

Farm Tractor Safety Course for
Youth and AdultsYouth 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.

 

York County Farmers’ Network (YCFN) Upcoming Events

YCFN Potluck Dinner and Conservation Easement Workshop

Date: Tuesday, April 15

Time: 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.

Location: Anderson Learning Center, 21 Bradeen St., Springvale, Maine 04083

Cost: Free

Jointly sponsored with Three Rivers Land Trust, from 5:30 to 6:15, enjoy the potluck dinner (bring a dish to share and your own plates and utensils). Following dinner, we’ll have a presentation about conservation easements, with a special focus on how easements may fit into landowners’ plans for future use of their farm or property. Please RSVP and feel free to tell interested friends and neighbors about this event.

 YCFN Potluck Supper and Farm Tour at Riverside Farm

Date: Tuesday, May 13

Time: 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.

Location: N. Berwick, hosted by Riverside Farm owner Dave Tuttle

Potluck supper, followed by a tour of Riverside Farm’s new hydroponics endeavor. Dave Tuttle will lead discussions on small tools as well as on farm transitions: wholesale to retail and from one generation to the next. Questions, or if you need directions, please contact Frank Wertheim or Becky Gowdy at UMaine Extension in York County, 207-324-2814.

 

UMaine Cooperative Extension offers
2014 Master Food Preserver ProgramMason jars full of canned produce

Master Food Preserver (MFP) volunteers serve to extend Extension’s educational programs in food preservation to adults and youth. The MFP Program includes 10 three-hour kitchen lab sessions in the Gorham Middle School, Family and Consumer Science Room, and the UMaine Cooperative Extension Cumberland County office in Falmouth.

Sessions will take place throughout the growing season from June – September, focusing on food preservation techniques including: canning, drying, freezing, fermenting and winter storage techniques.

Once MFPs have successfully completed the Program, they serve as a volunteer and resource in the community to provide the public with research-based information from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and USDA.

Details and application packets are available online at the Food Preservation – Master Food Preserver Program page.

 

University of Maine Cooperative Extension
launches a new Garlic Website4-garlic-bulbs

Garlic is a member of the Allium family, which includes onions, chives, and leeks. Garlic originated in central Asia, and has been grown for 5,000 years in Egypt and India. Found as an important ingredient in many cuisines, garlic is an easy-to-grow, high value crop that is increasingly popular in Maine with farmers and gardeners. Visit the new garlic website for more information.

 

Wishing for Spring?

Read the latest articles on gardening in the Maine Home Garden News. Sign up online to receive monthly issues throughout the growing season.

 

USDA Enhances Farm Storage Facility Loan Program

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.

 

 

Explore Farming with UMaine Extension

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014
University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Piscataquis Valley Adult Education Cooperative (PVAEC) explore what it takes to be a farmer in Maine on Wednesday, March 26, 5:30-7:30 p.m., at UMaine Extension, 165 East Main St., Dover-Foxcroft.

“Is Farming for ME?” will instruct attendees how to assess all assets that can contribute to a successful farm and where they can go for more information on starting a farm business plan. The program is part of the YOU CAN series of workshops developed to teach self-sufficiency skills to Maine families.

Donna Coffin, Extension Educator for Piscataquis and Penobscot counties and statewide resource for the Maine beef and equine industry, will lead the workshop. Cost is $5; pre-registration is required. To register, call 207.564.6525 or visit http://bit.ly/pyoucan. For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, call 207.564.3301 or 800.287.1491 (in Maine).

Farm Scoop – March 2014

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Maine Hay Directory & Maine Straw Directoryround bales of hay piled in a field; photo by Edwin Remsberg

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.

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

 

York County Farmers Network Upcoming Events

Off-the-Farm YCFN Winter Breakfast

Date: March 4th
Time: 8:00 a.m.
Location: Hen House Cafe, 446 Main Street, Springvale, Maine 04083
Cost: Free to YCFN members, generously sponsored by Farm Credit of Maine

​Thanks to Farm Credit of Maine, this breakfast is free to YCFN members.  A small donation from non-member visitors is requested. The Hen House Cafe in Springvale is a quick hop from the Extension office building, right across the street from the Maine District Courthouse on Main Street (Route 109). Questions, or if you need directions, please contact Frank Wertheim or Becky Gowdy at 207.324.2814. You may call the Extension office before 4:30 p.m. on the day before the breakfast (Monday) to check on possible cancellation due to weather.

YCFN Potluck – Farm Transitions and Succession Planning: What to Do, What Not to Do

Date: March 18th
Time: 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (program starts at 6:30 p.m.)
Location: Nasson Heritage room, Anderson Learning Center, 21 Bradeen Street, Springvale, Maine 04083

Who is going to carry on your work on the family woodlot or family farm when you’re gone? Please come for a potluck dinner and presentation on farms and other real property in transition from the current owners to the next generation or to others, and pointers on how to help it happen smoothly. Rich Merk, President of SWOAM (Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine), will lead a discussion on succession planning; how to plan for the future ownership or control of real property that you have invested in for years or maybe generations. The Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine, Three Rivers Land Trust and the York County Farmers Network jointly present this program.  Questions, or if you need directions, please contact Frank Wertheim or Becky Gowdy at UMaine Extension in York County, 207.324.2814. You may call the Extension office before 4:30 p.m. on the day of the event to check on possible cancellation due to weather.

YCFN Potluck – 100 Unique Maine Farms

Date: March 25th
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. (program starts at 6:30 p.m.)
Location: Nasson Heritage room, Anderson Learning Center, 21 Bradeen Street, Springvale, Maine 04083

York County resident Mary Doyle spent two years on the road visiting 100 unique Maine farms and is writing a book on that topic. She has incredible stories and pictures to share. Questions, or if you need directions, please contact Frank Wertheim or Becky Gowdy at UMaine Extension in York County, 207.324.2814. You may call the Extension office before 4:30 p.m. on the day of the event to check on possible cancellation due to weather.

Chelsea (MA) Market YCFN Field Trip

Date: March 27th
Time: 1:00 a.m. – 7:00 a.m.
Location: Wells Transportation Center parking lot

Meet at the Wells Transportation Center/Park at 1:00 a.m. and commute with fellow farmers to a 3:00 a.m. arrival at Chelsea Market outside of Boston. Experience a unique behind the scenes tour of the market. We should be done by 5:00 a.m. and back in Wells by 7:00 a.m. for a day’s work.

FMI on all these events visit the York County Farmers Network.

 

The Andy Valley Successful Farmer Workshop Series –

Rescheduled for March!Farmer and duck with ducklings

Dates: Wednesdays, March 5-26, 2014
Time:
5:45 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. 
Location: Androscoggin Valley Soil & Water Conservation District,
254 Goddard Road, Lewiston, Maine 04240

Registration: Full 5-session registration $50/person or $15/individual session

Join with other new and experienced farmers, University of Maine Cooperative Extension educators, and other agricultural professionals to share strategies for successful farming. Topics include crop, nutrient and pest management; irrigation, and transition to organic production. This series includes four evening sessions and one full-day session in May. Full details, including how to register, are available at AVSWCD. Contact Jane Heikkinen, 207.753.9400 x 400, with any questions or to request a disability accommodation.

Sponsored by Androscoggin Valley Soil & Water Conservation District, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry; USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services; and University of Maine Cooperative Extension. All sponsors are equal opportunity employers.

FREE Cover Crops Webinars

Dates: Thursdays, March 6-27, 2014, 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. (EST)
Registration: FREE to all who wish to participate! Register online for individual webinars or the entire series.

Improving soil health not only cleans up water quality and reduces soil loss but also provides a better environment for cash crops to succeed. Learn about basic soil health principles and how cover crops are key to making those happen on your farm.
This ASA webinar series will focus on cover crops and their implications on soil health, maximizing yields, livestock considerations, and crop management.
Webinars 

March 6 – Cover Crops, Soil Health Principals and Maximizing Yields

March 13 – Combining Livestock, Manure and Cover Crops

March 20 – Cover Crops Seed Selection and Planting

March 27 – Cover Crop Management and Termination

 

2014 Maine Grain Conference

wheat field

Saturday, March 15th
8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Spectacular Events Center, Bangor
(395 Griffin Road, near the airport)

Guests:

  • Klaas and Mary-Howell Martens, Lakeview Organic Grains, Penn Yan, New York
  • Dorn Cox, Tuckaway Farm, Lee, New Hampshire

Agenda:

  • Rotations for Organic Grains
  • Alternative Grain Options and Production Considerations
  • Growing Grains for Seed
  • Protecting Quality – Harvesting, Drying, Cleaning and Storing Grains
  • Grain Equipment for All Sizes
  • What’s Going On with Grains in Maine
  • UMaine Grain Research Results
  • Tap the Expertise in the Room – Come prepared with questions to ask the group.

Get more information, or register online by March 13th for the Maine Grain Conference! Pre-registration is required – $20 before March 10th; $30 afterwards; Includes snack and lunch. Pesticide and CCA credits have been requested. To register by phone and pay by check, call Meghan Dill, 207.581.3878. Other questions, call or email Cooperative Extension Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Ellen Mallory, 207.581.2942.

Maine Grass Farmers Network 10th Annual Grazing Conference

Saturday, March 15th
8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield

The cost is $75 per person, $25 for each additional person from the same farm or household, with discounts for students and MGFN members. This conference is designed for livestock producers who want to learn how to best use pasture and forage crops to feed their livestock profitably.

This year’s conference features Forrest Pritchard, a professional farmer, writer and public speaker. His farm, Smith Meadows, is one of the first “grass finished” farms in the country, and has sold products at farmers markets in Washington, D.C., for 15 years. His book Gaining Ground, A Story of Farmers’ Markets, Local Food and Saving the Family Farm was named a Top Read by Publishers Weekly, The Washington Post and NPR’s “The Splendid Table.” Pritchard’s keynote presentation is “The Economics of Grass-Based Livestock.”

Additional presenters will include University of Vermont livestock specialist Joe Emenheiser and Crystal Springs Farm manager Seth Kroek. The conference will also feature the MGFN annual business meeting, a grass-fed beef cook-off and a trade show.

For more information and to register, visit the MGFN website. For any questions or to request a disability accommodation, contact Rick Kersbergen, or 207.342.5971

The MGFN Conference is co-sponsored by University of Maine Cooperative Extension; The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association; The Natural Resources Conservation Service; The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry; and the Maine Beef Producers Association.

 

2014 Pesticide Applicator Recertification Training

Presented by UMaine Cooperative Extension & Maine Board of Pesticides Control

For your convenience, recertification meetings have been scheduled at various sites around the state. Each of these sessions is worth 4 recertification credits.

Seating is limited at each location, so be sure to pre-register by returning the Pesticide Registration Form by March 17. Pre-registration is $20. Registration after March 17 is $30.

Locations, Dates and Times:

Presque Isle – March 25 – Presque Isle Inn, 116 Main St., 12:30 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Brewer – March 26 Jeff’s Catering, 15 Littlefield Ave., 8:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Augusta – March 26 Augusta Civic Center, Washington and York Rooms, 76 Community Dr., 12:30 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Portland – March 27 – Keeley’s Banquet Center, 178 Warren Ave., 8:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Agenda:

  • Registration check-in – 30 minutes before the program starts.
  • 1st Hour – Bee Health Status, Commercial and Native Bees – Frank Drummond, UMaine Cooperative Extension
  • 2nd Hour – Pollinator Protection – How Pesticide Applicators Can Reduce the Risks – Gary Fish, Board of Pesticides Control
  • Break
  • 3rd Hour – Pesticide Selection & Regulation Update – Gary Fish, Board of Pesticides Control
  • 4th Hour – Invasive Insects & Plants – Staff, MeDACF

Credits are given for one session only.  Questions about your recertification credits? Call the Board of Pesticides Control 207.287.2731.

 

Maine Farms for the Future Clinics

GET YOURSELF READY NOW!  In March and April, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, will offer three free clinics to help interested and farmers confirm their eligibility and “practice” applying for the Maine Farms for the Future Business Planning Grant in mid-September.

The clinics will be held on the following dates, in Room 319 of the Deering Building which is located at 90 Blossom Lane in Augusta.

  • Tuesday, March 18 – 9:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
  • Friday, March 21 – 9:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
  • Thursday, April 10 – 1:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

Space is limited to 15 participants per clinic. Please call Kimbalie Lawrence at 207.287.3491 to reserve your place at the table and get a jump on your application.

Transferring the Farm

A Workshop to Help Farm Families Minimize Farm Business Succession Risk by addressing estate planning, business structures, and developing plans to move your farm to the next generation.

Two dates/locations from which to choose:

April 1, 2014
Cooperative Extension Office
307 Maine Ave.
Bangor, ME

April 2, 2014
Androscoggin-Sagadahoc Extension Office
24 Main Street
Lisbon Falls, ME

Additional information and registration available here, 2014 Transferring the Farm brochure Bangor and Lisbon Falls. Registration deadline is March 28.

 

Maine Migrant Health ProgramThe Maine Migrant Health Program

Do you need affordable health insurance? Free, in-person help is available! The Maine Migrant Health Program is a non-profit organization with over 20 years of experience providing healthcare to Maine’s migrant and seasonal farmworkers. If you own your own farm, need coverage for you and your family, are an employee who is looking for coverage, or a member of the general public, we are here to help members of Maine’s agricultural community get enrolled in a health insurance plan.

We have Certified Application Counselors across the state that are available to:

  • meet with you to provide information on the Affordable Care Act
  • explain the discounts that are available to low and moderate income individuals and families
  • assist you in applying for coverage
  • support you in choosing a health insurance plan.

Our services are free and available to the general public. Don’t delay!  The deadline to enroll is March 31, 2014.  Please call Liz Charles at 207.441.1633 or Eduardo Cortes at 207.485.5553 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

UMaine Cooperative Extension offers
2014 Master Food Preserver ProgramVegetables for food preservation

Master Food Preserver (MFP) volunteers serve to extend Extension’s educational programs in food preservation to adults and youth. The MFP Program includes 10 three-hour kitchen lab sessions in the Gorham Middle School, Family and Consumer Science Room, and the UMaine Cooperative Extension Cumberland County office in Falmouth.

Sessions will take place throughout the growing season from June – September, focusing on food preservation techniques including: canning, drying, freezing, fermenting and winter storage techniques.

Once MFPs have successfully completed the Program, they serve as a volunteer and resource in the community to provide the public with research-based information from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and USDA.

Details and application packets are available online at the Food Preservation – Master Food Preserver Program page.

School for Poultry Producers Focuses on Best Practices, Maine Poultry Growers Association
Bird Health

UMaine Extension and Maine Poultry Growers Association (MPGA) will offer a daylong school for poultry producers on Saturday, April 5th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield.

Topics will include best management practices, bird health and disease prevention for egg layers and meat birds. Additional topics include poultry nutrition, poultry product quality and organic practices.

The school is designed for farmers with a poultry enterprise and is appropriate for backyard keepers, bird fanciers and 4-H teens. The $25 fee ($10 for MPGA members) includes a reference notebook, a poultry break-even calculator and refreshments. Participants should bring their lunch.

The Maine Farm Bureau and Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association are co-sponsors. For more information and to register visit the UMaine Extension Maine Poultry School page, or call UMaine Extension, 207.781.6099. To request a disability accommodation, call 207.781.6099 or 1.800.287.1471 (in Maine only).

Presentation on Conservation of our Native BeesA queen bee with some of her attending workers.

Alison C. Dibble, Ph.D., conservation biologist and pollination ecologist from the University of Maine, Orono, will speak on April 7 at 7:00 p.m. (weather date April 14) at the Standish Town Hall. Her talk will feature a summary of what we know of the 270 species of native bees in Maine, their importance as pollinators, and recognition of their potential role in crop pollination given the decline of the introduced honey bee due to Colony Collapse Disorder.

She will offer practical tips on how to enhance bee habitats in the home garden and around the farm, and where to look for more resources. She will emphasize bumblebees, which are easy to recognize and are starting to fly in early April.

With Dr. Frank Drummond and others at the University of Maine, Dr. Dibble researches use of native bees as pollinators of the wild blueberry crop in a 5-year USDA-funded project on pollination security in four crops of the northeast (includes also apple, cranberry, squashes). She also prepares pollinator habitat enhancement plans for farmers around the state.

The talk is hosted by the Wildridge Garden Club and is free and open to the public.

Blade Shearing School with Kevin Fordsheep shearing

April 11-12, 2014
Time: 9:00 a.m.

Fee: $110 per student. Limit of ten participants. Includes shearing manual, morning refreshments and lunch each day.
Location: At the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in New Gloucester, Maine.

Spectators are welcome.

Intermediate Level Sheep Shearing School with Gwen Hinman

April 13th, 2014
Time: 9:00 a.m.

Fee: $85 per student. Limit of six participants. Includes shearing manual, morning refreshments and lunch.
Location: Washington, Maine

Beginner Level Sheep Shearing School

April 26th, 2014
Time: 9:00 a.m.

Fee: $40 per student. Limit of ten participants. Includes shearing manual, morning refreshments and lunch.
Location: Wolfe Neck Farm, Freeport, ME

Spectators are welcome. Information and registration are available online.

Proposed Changes to the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS)

EPA has issued proposed changes to the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) to increase protections from pesticide exposure for the nation’s two million agricultural workers and their families.  The best source of information is on the EPA website. EPA is seeking your input by the date specified in the Federal Register notice, which will publish within 10 days, identified by docket number EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0184-0002.

Background:

EPA is proposing revisions to the Worker Protection Standard through a Federal Register Notice.  These revisions will protect more than two million farm workers from pesticide exposure.

  • Today marks an important milestone for the farm workers who plant, tend, and harvest the food that we put on our tables each day.
  • EPA is proposing revisions to the Worker Protection Standard in order to protect more than 2 million farm workers and their families from pesticide exposure.
  • EPA’s revised Worker Protection Standard will afford farm workers similar health protections to those already enjoyed by workers in other jobs.
  • EPA’s commonsense revisions include provisions that will ensure farm workers have access to annual safety training; prohibit children under the age of 16 from handling pesticides; and make certain that workers are aware of the protections they are afforded under the law and have the tools they need to protect themselves and their families from exposure to pesticides.
  • Protecting our nation’s farm workers from pesticide exposures is at the core of EPA’s work to ensure environmental justice for all Americans.

Key Proposed Challenges:

  • More frequent (annual) and expanded mandatory training will inform farm workers about the protections they are afforded under the law, including entry restrictions into pesticide-treated fields, decontamination supplies, access to information and use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Additional content includes how to reduce take-home exposure from pesticides on work clothing. (Current rule requires training every 5 years.)
  • Mandatory posting of signs for the most hazardous pesticides; the signs prohibit re-entry into treated fields until residues decline to a safe level. (Current rule allows for the option of either oral or posted notification.)
  • Minimum age requirement: Children under 16 will be prohibited from handling pesticides. [Note: Department of Labor requires that people who handle pesticides in toxicity categories I and II (the riskiest pesticides) to be at least 16 years old but there is no  minimum age requirement to handle pesticides in toxicity categories III and IV (less risky pesticides)]. (Current rule has no minimum age requirement.)
  • No-entry buffer areas surrounding the site being treated with a pesticide will protect workers and others from exposure from pesticide overspray and fumes. (Current rule has this restriction only for pesticide applications in nurseries and greenhouses, not farms and forests.)
  • Improve the states’ ability to enforce compliance by requiring employers to keep records of application-specific pesticide information as well as farmworker training and early-entry notification for two years. (Current rule does not require recordkeeping.)
  • PPE (respirator use) must be consistent with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration standards for ensuring respirators are providing protection, including fit test, medical evaluation and training. (Current rule does not require that respirators meet the OSHA standard.)
  • Make available to farm workers or their advocates (including medical personnel) information specific to the pesticide application, including the pesticide label and Safety Data Sheets. (Current rule requires that this information is posted at a central location until 30 days after the restricted entry interval expires.)
  • Provide greater information to early-entry workers – people entering a treated site before residues have reached safe levels. Information includes the specific pesticide applied, what work can be done by early-entry workers and the amount of time they can remain in the treated area. Early entry into the recently pesticide-treated site is sometimes allowed for emergency situations or other short term essential tasks.  (Current rule only requires informing early-entry workers of label hazards.)
  • Additional changes make the rule more practical and easier to comply with for farmers. In addition, this proposal continues the exemptions from the current rule for family farms.

Wishing for Spring? 

Read the latest articles on gardening in the Maine Home Garden News. Sign up online to receive monthly issues throughout the growing season at:  http://umaine.edu/gardening/maine-home-garden-news/

Farm Scoop – February 2014

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

Webinar on Availability of Agricultural Grants and Application

Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014
10:00 a.m.-Noon
Hosted by Farm Credit East

Northeast producers are invited to participate in a webinar that will provide answers to questions about the grant process. This webinar is hosted by Farm Credit East.

This webinar will provide information on grants available to agriculture producers and who funds them, as well as answer questions about the grant process. Topics to be covered include what the application process is like, grants farmers can apply for on their own and when a grant writer should be engaged. In addition, information will be provided on the services Farm Credit East provides.

Presenter for this webinar will be Nathan Rudgers, director of business development for Farm Credit East. Mr. Rudgers works with clients planning or undergoing major business changes, including projects involving renewable energy systems, in particular, farm based renewable energy. He frequently speaks in state, national and international forums on such topics as renewable energy, food safety, international trade, agriculture policy and economic development.

Join us on Thursday, February 27, from 10:00 a.m. to noon to learn more about agricultural grants and how to apply. This webinar is free to participate. If you’d like to attend, click here to register.

February 17 & 18, 2014 – Business Planning Workshop with Richard Wiswall

Monday – 9:00 am to 4:00 pm; Tuesday – 9:00 am to noon

MOFGA’s Common Ground Education Center, 294 Crosby Brook Road, Unity, Maine. Directions.

$60 per person including lunch – Register online for the Business Planning Workshop

This one and a half day workshop is designed to help those who have one year of farm production data and are ready to sharpen their pencil and get a better handle on their business. Please bring pen, paper, and a calculator. If possible bring your financials from the 2013 season including crop plan, income & expenses and sales figures.

The workshop will cover the following topics:

  • Planning for Profit
  • Making a Profit on YOUR farm
  • Understanding Financial Statements
  • Your marketing strategies
  • Enterprise Budgeting

Instructor Richard Wiswall is the owner/operator of Cate Farm in Vermont and author of The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook.

An Update on The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

The comment period on FSMA will be reopened after the FDA has completed their initial review of over 17,000 comments submitted during the first open comment period. What does this really mean? It means that, if you think any parts of the proposed Produce Rule will negatively impact the environment on your farm or around your farm, you may submit your comments in one of the ways outlined below.

Written comments can be submitted to the following address:

Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305)
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061
Rockville, MD 20852

Submit electronic comments.

The Andy Valley Successful Farmer Workshops

Have You Been Looking For New Strategies For Your Farm? New and veteran farmers are welcome.

Workshop Topics

February 4 – Soil Health and Nutrient Management — Sign-in 5:45 p.m., Class 6:00-9:00 p.m. – Topics will be soil testing & analysis, conditioning preparation & spreading, phosphorus index, and related programs – at USDA Service Center, 254 Goddard Road, Lewiston.

February 11 –  Pest Management for Fruit and Vegetables – Sign-in 5:45 p.m., Class 6:00-9:00 p.m. – Topics will be pesticide safety & licensing, common pests and diseases, pest identification and resources, crop integrated pest management, related programs – at USDA Service Center, 254 Goddard Road, Lewiston.

February 18 – Transitioning To and Organic Production – Sign-in 5:45 p.m., Class 6:00-9:00 p.m. –  Topics will be best management practices, common amendments and fertilizers, regulations and certifications, related programs – at USDA Service Center, 254 Goddard Road, Lewiston.

Tomatoes growing in a High Tunnel

High Tunnel Tomatoes;
photo by Danielle Murray

May 6 –  Irrigation for Field and High Tunnel Production – Sign-in 8:45 a.m., Class 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. – Topics will be state regulations, water budget, watering systems, drip irrigation, soil moisture monitoring, water conservation and related programs. Classroom session at Androscoggin-Sagadahoc Cooperative Extension Office, 24 Main Street, Lisbon Falls and on-site session at Six River Farm in Bowdoinham. BRING YOUR OWN LUNCH.

Advanced registration is required. To register contact Jane Heikkinen at 207.753.9400 ext. 400 for a form, or go to www.androscogginswcd.org. Please notify us with any special accommodation needs five days before session. Cost for each workshop session is $15 per person. Scholarships are available for second person from the farm. Call at number above for scholarship details. Costs are able to remain minimal because of grant funding provided by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service under project. If any session is cancelled due to weather, workshop will be held the next day.

Pesticide Credits

February 11 – Two pesticide credits

February 18 – One pesticide credit

Nutrient Management Credits

February 4 – Two nutrient management recertification credits

February 18 – One nutrient management recertification credit

York County Farmers Network Upcoming Events

Sourcing Local Food – How We Do It – February 11, 5:30 p.m. – Potluck dinner and program starts at 6:30 p.m., 21 Bradeen Street, Springvale, Maine.
A panel discussion between farmers, restaurateurs and others who source local foods for CSAs, restaurants and other markets.

Farm Transition and Conservation Easements – March 18, 5:30 p.m. – Potluck dinner and program starts at 6:30 p.m., 21 Bradeen Street, Springvale, Maine.
A presentation on farms in transition from the current owners to the next generation or to other farmers, and considerations for farmland conservation easements.

100 Unique Maine Farms – March 25, 5:30 p.m. – Potluck dinner and program starts at 6:30 p.m., 21 Bradeen Street, Springvale, Maine.
York County resident Mary Doyle spent 2 years on the road visiting 100 Unique Maine Farms and is writing a book on that topic. She has incredible stories and pictures to share.

Chelsea Market Field Trip – March 27 - Meet at the Wells Transportation Center/Park at 1:00 a.m. and commute with fellow farmers to a 3:00 a.m. arrival at Chelsea Market outside of Boston.
Experience a unique behind the scenes tour of the market. We should be done by 5:00 a.m. and back in Wells by 7:00 a.m. for a day’s work.

FMI on all these events visit www.ycfn.org.

February 18: Join the Cover Crops and Soil Health Forum

potatoesYou are invited to attend a free live broadcast of the National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health and join the discussion about soil health, improved yields, preventing erosion, managing pests, and building resilience in your farming system. In 40 locations across the Northeast, farmers and farm advisors will have an opportunity to learn from one another while exploring local and national perspectives on cover crops.

Beginning at 10 a.m. EST, a live-streamed broadcast of opening sessions from the national conference will feature Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, and Howard G. Buffett, along with a panel of expert farmers. This session will be followed by facilitated discussions on local issues pertaining to cover crops. See a list of broadcast locations in the Northeast.

Because the national conference attendance is limited, these local forums are a way to include farmers, educators and researchers across the country in the conversation about the use and benefits of cover crops.

There is no cost to participate, but please contact the site you plan to attend in order to register and confirm both the location and other program details. Providing an RSVP will help host locations make adequate accommodations. Learn more about the conference.

The Maine Board of Pesticides Control will offer 1 pesticide recertification credit for participation.

February 19: Greenhouse Energy Workshop at Cozy Acres Greenhouses, North Yarmouth

Cozy Acres Greenhouses logo

Would you like see an operating solar panel/geothermal heat system in a Maine greenhouse? Learn about funding sources that can help you install a greenhouse energy project? Hear about a program that will subsidize an energy audit at your business? Learn about energy projects that other Maine greenhouse growers have installed? It’s all happening February 19th at Cozy Acres Greenhouses, North Yarmouth Maine from 9:00 a.m.- 3:30 p.m. The cost is $15, which includes lunch.

Sponsors: Cozy Acres, UMaine Cooperative Extension, Maine State Florists’ and Growers’ Association, Northeast Greenhouse Conference, and Maine’s Ornamental Horticulture Council

Space is limited, and preregistration is required.

Questions? Please email or call Lois Stack at lois.stack@maine.edu or 207.581.2949

Hope to see you there. This is a great way to get started on that energy project you’ve been thinking about!

Maine Vegetable and Fruit School 2014

Highmoor FarmThe day-long Maine Vegetable and Fruit School is offered on two dates at two locations: March 10 in Portland or March 11 in Bangor.
Preregistration is required.  Registration cost is $35 and includes lunch. Please register by February 21, 2014.

More information.

SAVE THE DATE! 2014 Maine Grain Conference

The Maine Grain Conference will be March 15th, at the Bangor Spectacular Events Center, and feature speakers Mary-Howell and Klaas Martens of Lakeview Organic Grains, Penn Yan, NY.  The Martens are regional experts in all aspects of organic grain production and handling.  They will discuss crop rotations, fertility and weed management, seed production, and post-harvest grain cleaning, drying, and storage; as well as the topics and questions that you bring.  We’ll also learn from a panel of Maine grain growers about their successes and lessons learned; and hear about results from UMaine grain research. Registration information will be online at http://umaine.edu/localwheat/events/ when available.

Maine Wants People to Report Ice Storm Damage

The Maine Emergency Management Agency wants to hear from people who’ve suffered ice storm damage. MEMA is collecting information about the damage from the Christmas week storm that knocked out power to more than 160,000 homes and businesses, and left many in the dark for a week. MEMA Spokeswoman, Lynette Miller, says more information is needed to determine if the state might be eligible for assistance; it’s especially important to report major damage like burst pipes, heating and electrical problems and roof and structure damage from falling limbs and ice.

Mainers can report their damage by dialing 211.

The Maine Poultry Growers Association Wants You!

Maine Poultry Growers AssociationThe Maine Poultry Growers Association (MPGA) is looking to add new members to its organization and wishes to extend an invitation to you. The MPGA provides strong and enlightened leadership to Maine poultry growers, poultry fanciers, and game bird growers as well as strengthening sustainable poultry production. It also encourages environmental and animal care stewardship, the development and consolidation of specialty markets, and the production of unique and wholesome products.  The MPGA is also involved in teaching youth to acquire positive life skills by raising and caring for poultry, for fun and profit. Member benefits include educational programs, a MPGA newsletter, access to poultry experts, and much more! Becoming a member is easy. All you have to do is fill out the form found on the link below, then return with appropriate annual dues to the MPGA Treasurer, Alexander Luke.

For more information please visit our website www.mainepoultrygrowers.org.

2014 Maine Poultry Keepers School

University of Maine Cooperative Extension is partnering with the Maine Poultry Growers Association in presenting a day-long school for poultry producers scheduled for Saturday, April 5, 2014 at the Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  Additional co-sponsors of the school include the Maine Farm Bureau, Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association and the Central Maine Bird Fanciers.

The purpose of the school is to equip Maine producers of poultry meat or eggs with practical knowledge and skills to improve their production and the quality of their products.  The school is designed for full or part-time farmers with a poultry enterprise.  However, the information presented will also be suitable for backyard keepers, bird fanciers and 4H teens.   A team of instructors from Cooperative Extension, MOFGA and the agricultural community will cover topics of poultry nutrition, efficient production, poultry health, best management practices, organic production considerations, labor saving tips and poultry meat quality.

The fee for participating in this school is $25 per person.  A discounted fee of $10 is available to members of the Maine Poultry Growers Association (MPGA). Each participant will receive a reference notebook, a poultry breakeven calculator, additional resources and refreshments.  Lunch will not be provided.  Registrants should bring their own lunch.

For more information and to register for the 2014 Maine Poultry Keepers School, please visit the Maine Poultry Keepers School website or call 207.781.6099.

2014 Ag Trades Show Pesticide Applicator Recertification Program Presentations Available Online

Agricultural Trades Show Maine logoSome of the pesticide applicator recertification presentations from the 2014 Agricultural Trades Show have been posted on the Board of Pesticides Control website. We will post as many as we can get permission to post. Currently you can see the following presentations:

2014 Agricultural Trades Show Presentations

  • Board of Pesticides Control Update (PPT or PDF)
  • Pollinator Protection: How Pesticide Applicators can Reduce the Risks (PPT or PDF)
  • Outbreak of Winter Moth in Harpswell Maine (PPT or PDF)
  • Blueberry Tip Midge 2013 Update (PPT or PDF)
  • Wild Blueberry Pest Management Update (PPT or PDF)
  • 2014 Corn and Forage Update (PDF only)

To look for more presentations, go to http://www.maine.gov/dacf/php/pesticides/download_library.shtml#PRESENT.  Just remember to refresh your browser each time.