School for Poultry Producers Focuses on Best Practices, Bird Health

February 10th, 2014 9:34 AM

University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Poultry Growers Association (MPGA) will offer a daylong school for poultry producers Saturday, April 5, 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 http://umaine.edu/cumberland/programs/poultry-keepers/ or call UMaine Extension, 207.781.6099. To request a disability accommodation, call 207.781.6099 or 1.800.287.1471 (in Maine only).

Press Herald Article Focuses on Maine FoodCorps Program

February 7th, 2014 1:43 PM

The Portland Press Herald reported on the Maine FoodCorps program, the state branch of a national program that teaches healthful eating, expands school-based gardens and increases locally grown food in school cafeterias. The University of Maine Cooperative Extension oversees the Maine program that is funded by the Maine Commission for Community Service, with 20 percent of the funding coming from the federal AmeriCorps program. The article states Maine was chosen as one of the original FoodCorps sites because of the state’s interest in and support of the farm-to-school movement.

MPBN Interviews Rebar for Report on Farm Bill, Hemp Growing

February 7th, 2014 12:56 PM

The Maine Public Broadcasting Network spoke with John Rebar, executive director of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, for a report about how the final enactment of the current version of the Farm Bill, which is expected to be approved in the U.S. Senate, would remove a federal ban on growing hemp. Although growing hemp is already legal in Maine, Rebar said with federal bans in place, UMaine Extension never cultivated a crop or studied the issue beyond a 2003 study that found hemp could be a possible crop for Maine. He said if the bill passes, UMaine Extension will take time to understand what it would mean to grow hemp and the implications.

Rural Media Group to Air UMaine Cooperative Extension Videos

February 7th, 2014 12:30 PM

Rural Media Group (RMG), a privately held corporation that owns and operates a portfolio of rural-based entertainment companies, is slated to air University of Maine Cooperative Extension videos on their morning “Market Day Report” and “Rural Evening News” programs. Videos likely to air include “How to Frost Seed,” “Working with Maine Business,”“How Do I Tap a Maple Tree?” and “Darling Marine Center Scallop Research.” RMG’s two channels, RFD-TV and RURAL TV, are dedicated to serving the needs and interests of people living in rural America with programming focused on agriculture, rural lifestyle, traditional country music, and live news and daily market coverage with a focus on the business and policy issues of rural America. RMG’s programming is available internationally and is currently distributed into more than 53 million homes through satellite and cable providers including DISH Network, DIRECTV, Time Warner Cable and Comcast.

Rebar Talks to Press Herald for Article on Legality of Growing Hemp

February 7th, 2014 12:05 PM

John Rebar, executive director of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was interviewed by the Portland Press Herald for the article “Growing hemp nears legality in Maine, but just for research.” The article states Maine is one of a dozen states in which hemp could be grown for research purposes if the farm bill passed Wednesday in the U.S. House of Representatives becomes law. Rebar said as long as commercial hemp production remains a violation of federal law, it’s unlikely Maine research institutions would be interested in studying it. He also said the potential market for hemp remains unknown because it is illegal to grow commercially in the United States, and the farm bill wouldn’t change that.

Tractor Safety Course Begins March 31

February 3rd, 2014 2:05 PM
A five-week 4-H tractor safety course mandatory for youth ages 14-15 hired to operate equipment on farms not run by their families begins March 31, at Kramer’s Inc. on West River Road in Sidney.

The class, sponsored by University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Kennebec County Farm Bureau and Kramer’s Inc., will meet 6-8 p.m. Mondays, March 31 through April 21, with a written exam and driving test April 28.

Jeff Bragg of Sidney, Neal Caverly of Clinton, Cliff Kramer of Kramer’s Inc., and Karen Hatch Gagne of UMaine Extension are instructors. They will teach participants to safely handle tractors and equipment, to identify hazards and to minimize the risk of accidents. The course is open to all; priority will be given to youth 14-16 years old. Participants who successfully complete the classroom sessions, written exam and driving test earn a federal certificate of training.

Preregistration is required. To register online, visit http://umaine.edu/agriculture/programs/tractor-safety/kennebec/. A fee of $20 includes books, snacks and other materials. For more information, to receive a registration form, or to request a disability accommodation, contact Gagne or Diana Hartley at 207.622.7546, 800.287.1481 (in Maine), karen.h.gagne@maine.edu or diana.hartley@maine.edu.

Farm Scoop – February 2014

February 1st, 2014 8:00 AM

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. Register online.

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. 

 

Explore Alternative Farming Fuels

January 28th, 2014 2:59 PM

Farmers and others interested in using alternative fuels for transportation and equipment are invited to a program at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Piscataquis County Office, 165 East Main St., Dover-Foxcroft.

The Maine Highlands Farmers and UMaine Extension are sponsoring the free program titled “Alternative Fuels Available to Farms and the Transportation Industry.” Tim Seymour, a sales representative at Darling’s, will talk about advantages and disadvantages of using alternative energy for transportation, as well as sources and supplies of alternative fuels and the future of fuels.

Following the program, the Maine Highlands Farmers will discuss upcoming group activities. For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, contact Extension Educator Donna Coffin, 207.564.3301, 800.287.1491 (in Maine) or donna.coffin@maine.edu.

Pesticide Applicator Exam Training Available for Farmers

January 27th, 2014 10:03 AM

The Maine Board of Pesticides Control (BPC) and University of Maine Cooperative Extension will sponsor a basic pesticide applicator license training for farmers March 3, 3-6 p.m. at the Penobscot County UMaine Extension office, 307 Maine Ave., Bangor. The exam also can be taken from 6:30-8:30 the same evening.

Pre-registration is required by Feb. 28. The $5 registration fee covers the training and exam administration.
 
To register or to request a disability accommodation, contact Theresa Tilton, 207.942.7396 or 800.287.1485 in Maine; Theresa.tilton@maine.edu. Please let her know if you plan to take the exam at the end of the training.

Growers who use only general-use (over-the-counter) pesticides and annually sell more than $1,000 of plant or plant products intended for human consumption are now required to be licensed by the Maine BPC. A three-year license costs $15 and requires one hour of continuing education annually.

By definition, a pesticide is any naturally or synthetically derived substance used to kill, control or repel undesired insects, weeds, fungi, bacteria, mammals, birds, rodents or other organisms. Organic products are also pesticides if they are used as described above.

In addition to this training, Maine BPC and UMaine Extension will be offering additional sessions to help prepare growers for the Private Pesticide Applicator core exam before the requirement becomes fully enforceable April 1, 2015. Exam candidates should review the Pesticide Education (Core) Manual, available from UMaine Extension, prior to taking the exam. The exam can be taken at the BPC office in Augusta or at county Extension office. Call BPC, 207.287.2731, to schedule a time or have the exam mailed to your local Extension office.

Maine Vegetable and Fruit School – March 10 and 11, 2014

January 17th, 2014 8:29 AM

Maine Vegetable and Fruit School 2014

Highmoor Farm

Monday, March 10, 2014
8:30 AM to 4:00 PM
Seasons
Conference Center, Portland, Maine

OR

Tuesday, March 11, 2014
8:30 AM to 4:00 PM
Bangor
Motor Inn Conference Center, Bangor, Maine

Registration Fee:  $35.00, includes lunch

PREREGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. Please preregister by February 21, 2014.

This day-long school is offered for Maine farmers on two dates at two locations: March 10 in Portland or March 11 in Bangor. The agenda and registration form are posted on UMaine Cooperative Extension’s Highmoor Farm website.