Blueberries Ready for Picking, Yarborough Tells Kennebec Journal

August 5th, 2014 2:42 PM

David Yarborough, a blueberry specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with the Kennebec Journal about blueberry picking and this year’s harvest. Yarborough said the season started last week in central Maine, with reports of a good crop. Down East barrens will likely be ready for harvesting next week, he added. “The season is running a little later than usual because of the cold spring,” he said. “I think the pickings are pretty excellent.” He recommended picking berries that are fully blue. “When you pick your own, you know it’s fresh,” he said.

Sweet Corn IPM Newsletter No. 6 – July 31, 2014

August 5th, 2014 9:35 AM

Sweet Corn

Please visit the Highmoor Farm website for the University of Maine Sweet Corn Integrated Pest Management Newsletter No. 6, July 31, 2014, “Pest Pressure Moderate as Corn Harvest Begins.”

Spotted Wing Drosophila Update: 8/1/2014

August 4th, 2014 2:37 PM
Male Spotted Wing Drosophila

Male Spotted Wing Drosophila, photo by Griffin Dill

Spotted wing drosophila captures continued to be low and erratic this week. Please visit the Highmoor farm website for the August 1, 2014 Spotted Wing Drosophila Update, where you can subscribe to updates.

Master Gardener Volunteer Training to be Held in Machias

August 4th, 2014 11:48 AM

University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardener Volunteer training begins from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 2, at the Washington County UMaine Extension office, 28 Center St., Machias.

The 40-hour course provides intensive instruction on growing fruits and vegetables. In exchange for the training, participants volunteer their time and expertise in gardening-related community projects.

Cost is $220; limited scholarships are available. Monday, Aug. 25 is the application deadline. For more information, or to request an application or disability accommodation, call 800.287.1542 or email tara.a.wood@maine.edu.

Farm Scoop – August

August 1st, 2014 8:52 AM

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.

 

 

Tri-Town Weekly Publishes Q&A with McCarty

July 31st, 2014 9:18 AM

Tri-Town Weekly interviewed Kate McCarty, a food preservation community education assistant with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, in advance of UMaine Extension’s sixth annual Backyard Locavore Day on Aug. 9. McCarty will be one of several experts on hand for guided tours of backyards in Freeport and Brunswick for the event. During McCarty’s tour in Freeport, she will demonstrate how to increase self-sufficiency to meet food needs through backyard gardening techniques and food preservation methods. “I love Maine and believe it produces incredible food. I take every opportunity to support our local food producers, and it’s easy to do so with so many talented chefs, farmers, bakers, cheese makers and brewers,” McCarty said.

Sweet Corn IPM Newsletter No. 5 – July 28, 2014

July 29th, 2014 12:50 PM

Sweet Corn

Please visit the Highmoor Farm website for the University of Maine Sweet Corn Integrated Pest Management Newsletter No. 5, July 28, 2014, “Early Corn Harvest Underway.”

Fuller Talks to Press Herald About Growing Garlic in Maine

July 29th, 2014 9:33 AM

David Fuller, an agricultural and non-timber forest products professional with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was interviewed by the Portland Press Herald for an article about the increase of garlic in Maine gardens. According to UMaine Extension, about 100 farmers around the state grow garlic and that number is on the rise, Fuller said. He added Mainers are now growing about 70 different varieties. Fuller also spoke about the Maine Garlic Project, a research study he started in 2010 with crops specialist Steven Johnson. The study, which concluded last year, was intended to encourage more garlic production in the state among both farmers and home gardeners. “You start talking garlic with some people, and they just don’t stop,” Fuller said of the passionate farmers he has met.

Eat Nutritiously, Save Money with UMaine Extension

July 25th, 2014 2:55 PM

University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Eat Well Nutrition Program will be offered 9:30–11 a.m. Tuesdays from Sept. 16 through Nov. 4 at the UMaine Extension office, 75 Clearwater Drive, Falmouth.

This program is free for income-eligible adults with dependent children. Participants will receive a certificate upon successful completion of the program, which includes hands-on food preparation, budgeting information and tips on how to shop at farmers markets and grocery stores. Eat Well Program graduates save an average of $36 per month on food bills, according to UMaine Extension.

To register, call 207.781.6099 or email extension.rlreception@maine.edu. For more information or to request a disability accommodation or an interpreter, call 207.781.6099 or 800.287.1471 (in Maine).

Jemison Gives Tips for Combating Weeds on WVII ‘Backyard Gardener’ Series

July 24th, 2014 2:35 PM

John Jemison, a soil and water quality specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was featured in the latest installment of the “Backyard Gardener” series on WVII (Channel 7). Jemison spoke about common weeds in the garden and gave advice on how to combat them. He said an efficient way to remove weeds is to use a shovel and get all of the roots, then dispose of the plant in the trash or woods. Jemison added the best thing a gardener can do is stay ahead of the game and not let the weeds go to seed.