Farm Scoop – June 2014

June 3rd, 2014 3:19 PM

MOFGA-Logo-Green-72dpi-for-web-250x237Farm & Homestead Day – June 14

Farm & Homestead Day, a free event, offers hands-on and interactive sessions on farming and homesteading skills. It will be held on Saturday, June 14, 2014 at the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association’s Common Ground Education Center on Crosby Brook Road in Unity. More information can be found on the MOFGA website.

 

Maine Family Farms: Life and Business in Balance

By Associate Extension Professors Leslie Forstadt and Tori Jackson, University of Maine

With the 2012 Census of Agriculture numbers available, a portrait of Maine farmers reflects lives that are complex, with much to keep in balance. There are more than 8,000 farms in Maine, an increase of 12 percent since 2002. Of these, 49 percent list their primary occupation as farming, with the average age of the principal operator 57 years old. Among women farmers, 57 percent list their primary occupation as farming, and 38 percent of them are in the “beginning farmer” category, with 10 or fewer years of farming experience on the present farm. The principal female operator is 53 years old on average, but there are young women too—24 percent of primary women farmers are under the age of 44 years.

The needs of farmers at each life stage are unique, as choices about farming practices, child rearing, business growth, and succession planning enter into decision making.

This series, Maine Family Farms: Life and Business in Balance, provides a starting point for farm families to think about issues that range from family conversations to managing stress and sharing ideas about life and business balance.

Titles include:

#4801 Why “Thank You” Matters: Expressing Appreciation
#4802 Running Successful Farm-Family Meetings
#4803 Farm and Family—Finding Balance
#4804 Understanding Roles in the Farm Family
#4805 Recognizing the Signs of Farm Family Stress

There are rewards and stressors at each stage of farm business and farm family life. This series of publications was designed with the people of Maine’s farming industry in mind. Interpersonal and intrapersonal needs are addressed, as readers are encouraged to think about, discuss, and access resources to support the personal experiences and relationships in family farming. We hope that these fact sheets will help foster farm family sustainability.

Workshops are available on the topics listed and more! For farmers and farm service providers Contact Leslie Forstadt for more information.

 

Farm plot2Food Donation and Liability on the Farm

Are you interested in donating produce you cannot sell, or having gleaners come into your fields to harvest unwanted crops? Are you worried about liability issues? The Federal Public Law 104-210, The Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, may relieve any fears or trepidation related to allowing gleaning or donating to occur on your farm.

Federal law: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-104publ210/pdf/PLAW-104publ210.pdf

Maine State Revised Statutes: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/statutes/14/title14ch7.pdf

The existing UMaine Extension publication Bulletin #4301, Food for Your Community: Gleaning and Sharing has this information included in it.

 

Vegetable Growers: Expanded Crop Label for Dual Magnum® Herbicide

Maine vegetable growers now are able to use Dual Magnum® on an expanded range of vegetable crops including: asparagus, bell pepper, cabbage, carrots, garden beets, dry bulb onions, green onions, spinach, Swiss chard, pumpkin.  The target weeds for this registration and use are galinsoga and yellow nutsedge.  Growers need to go to Syngenta’s web site and agree to a waiver of liability and print off the 24C label. All label instructions will be supplied after the application for use is completed. Once on the farm assist web site, click products at top left, then indemnified labels.  Create a user name and password, select Dual Magnum, and the crop.  This is ONLY for the product Dual Magnum®, EPA #100-816.  It is not for Dual II Magnum® or the generic Dual/metolochlor products. Rates are about ½ of the normal rate of Dual® on many of these crops, so growers will need to pay attention to that.

 

Agricultural News – Sources You Might Find of Interest

  • Harvest Public Media – Harvest Public Media is a reporting collaboration focused on issues of food, fuel and field. Based at KCUR in Kansas City, Harvest covers these agriculture related topics through an expanding network of reporters and partner stations throughout the Midwest.
  • Morning Ag Clips – This electronic ag news service collects breaking news and information for today’s farmer. They aggregate stories from the general media, industry trades, extension publications and other sources. Through their website or state-by-state daily e-blast, farmers, ranchers, industry leaders, advocates, educators and friends of farming get quick news on agriculture happenings every business day.  Morning Ag Clips New England edition is available.

 

usda (1)USDA Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program Sign-Up Begins –
Deadline is August 29, 2014

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that sign-up begins today for 2012 crop losses under the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) program. The program, established by the 2008 Farm Bill, provides for one final period of eligibility for producers suffering crop losses caused by natural disasters occurring through Sept. 30, 2011, for crops intended for 2012 harvest.

“This sign-up period is only for those producers who suffered crop losses for 2012 crops before Sept. 30, 2011” said FSA Administrator Juan M. Garcia.

To be eligible for SURE, a farm or ranch must have:

  • At least a 10 percent production loss on a crop of economic significance resulting from a disaster occurring on or before September 30, 2011. A crop of economic significance contributes at least five percent of the expected revenue for a producer’s farm.

Additionally, the crop must also meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • The crop must be considered a 2012 crop which means, in general, that the crop was intended for harvest in 2012;
  • For insured crops, the coverage period must have begun on or before Sept. 30, 2011;
  • For crops covered by the Non-Insured Crop Assistance Program, the coverage period must have begun on or before Sept. 30, 2011;
  • The final planting date, according to the specific coverage for the crop, must have been on or before Sept. 30, 2011.

Note:  A producer who only plants fall seeded or spring seeded crops with a final planting date on Oct. 1, 2011 or later) cannot meet the above eligibility criteria and will not be eligible for the 2012 SURE program.

  • A policy or plan of insurance under the Federal Crop Insurance Act or the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program for all economically significant crops;
  • Been physically located in a county that was declared a primary disaster county or contiguous county by the Secretary of Agriculture under a Secretarial Disaster Designation. Without a Secretarial Disaster Designation, individual producers may be eligible if the actual production on the farm is less than 50 percent of the normal production on the farm due to a natural disaster. A “farm” for SURE purposes means the entirety of all crop acreage in all counties that a producer planted or intended to be planted for harvest for normal commercial sale or on-farm livestock feeding, including native and improved grassland intended for haying.
  • Producers considered socially disadvantaged, a beginning farmer or rancher, or a limited resource farmer may be eligible for SURE without a policy or plan of insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program coverage. Farmers and ranchers interested in signing up must do so before the Aug. 29, 2014, deadline. For more information on the 2012 SURE program, visit any USDA Service Center or online.

 

NRCS Announces 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.

More information on the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the Agricultural Management Assistance Program can be found online.

 

Seeds for Veterans

If you are or know of a family of a military veteran, Burpee Seeds has a special program with free seeds. UMaine Extension is partnering with Maine Farmer Veteran Coalition in making these seeds available in Maine. To obtain the “welcome home” packet of garden seeds, contact Extension at 1.800.287.1471 or email Lynne Hazelton. Use Seeds for Veterans in the subject line of your email message.

Farm Scoop – May 2014

May 1st, 2014 9:21 AM

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.

 

University of MaineNew 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  photo by Scott Bauer

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 US

The 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.

More additional resources:

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

 

Farm Scoop – April 2014

April 9th, 2014 2:19 PM

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.

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.

 

 

Thirty-two UMaine Faculty Members Receive Tenure and/or Promotion

March 25th, 2014 1:03 PM

The University of Maine System Board of Trustees has approved promotion and/or tenure for 32 University of Maine faculty members. The professors were nominated by University of Maine President Paul Ferguson based on a peer and administrative review of their successful work in teaching, research and public service.

“This annual process and recognition of excellence constitutes an important tradition to celebrate the University of Maine’s faculty and their role in the distinctiveness of Maine’s flagship, land grant university,” says President  Ferguson. “Their teaching, research and community outreach reaffirm the impactful role of public higher education in the quality of life for Maine citizens.”

University of Maine Faculty Promoted and/or Tenured, 2013–14

Promoted to professor

College of Engineering
Howard Gray, Civil Engineering Technology
M. Clayton Wheeler, Chemical Engineering

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Francois Amar, Chemistry
Mark Brewer, Political Science
Samuel Hess, Physics and Astronomy
Jon Ippolito, New Media
Richard Powell, Political Science
Liam Riordan, History

College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture
Robert Lilieholm, Forest Resources
Ann Rosebush Sossong, Nursing
Vivian Chi-Hua Wu, Food Science and Human Nutrition

Promoted to associate research professor

Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Environmental and Watershed Research
Sarah Nelson

Promoted to associate professor with tenure

College of Engineering
Nuri Emanetoglu, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Melissa Maynard, Civil Engineering

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Daniel Bilodeau, Theatre
Dylan Dryer, English
Mary Hough, History and Women’s Studies
Shannon McCoy, Psychology
Robert Meulenberg, Physics and Astronomy and Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology
Kathleen Yoon, Psychology

Maine Business School
Niclas Erhardt, Human Resources
Jason Harkins, Entrepreneurship
Patti Miles, Operations Management

College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture
Julie Gosse, Biochemistry
Teresa Johnson, Marine Policy
Robert Wheeler, Microbiology

Promoted to associate Extension professor with continuing contract

Tori Jackson, Cooperative Extension
Kristy Ouellette, Cooperative Extension
Andrew Plant, Cooperative Extension

Promoted to associate Extension professor and associate professor with continuing contract

Anne Lichtenwalner, Cooperative Extension and Animal and Veterinary Sciences
Ellen Mallory, Cooperative Extension and Sustainable Agriculture

Granted tenure at current rank of associate professor

Honors College
Margaret Killinger, Rezendes Preceptor of the Arts

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745

UMaine Extension offers hayfield, pasture management workshops

March 19th, 2014 10:34 AM
Baling hayUniversity 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:

  • March 25, 6:30-8:30 p.m., UMaine Extension, 992 Waterville Road, Waldo
  • April 3, 6-8 p.m., Farmington Grange, 124 Bridge St., West Farmington
  • April 10, 7-9 p.m., UMaine Extension, 307 Maine Ave., 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 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 http://umaine.edu/waldo/programs/events/got-hayfields.

Saar Talks to Sun Journal about Cooperative Extension’s Senior Companion Program

February 7th, 2014 1:21 PM

Anna Saar, who coordinates the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Senior Companion Program for Oxford, Androscoggin and Franklin counties, spoke with the Sun Journal about the program and her upcoming talk in Otisfield. Saar is scheduled to speak February 6, 2014 at a presentation hosted by the Otisfield Social Outreach Committee for residents interested in helping their elderly homebound neighbors stay independent. She said the need for volunteers is great, and the visits require nothing more than companionship.

Jackson Interviewed in Press Herald Blog about Training Congolese Farmers

July 1st, 2013 2:28 PM

Tori Lee Jackson, extension educator with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was interviewed for the latest entry of the Portland Press Herald blog, “The Root: Dispatches from Maine’s food sources.” Jackson spoke about the recent visit to Maine of four people from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The visitors spent four days learning farm business skills from UMaine Extension.

Farm Scoop February 2013

February 7th, 2013 4:06 PM

by Richard Brzozowski, Extension Educator, Cumberland County and Tori Jackson, Extension Educator, Androscoggin & Sagadahoc Counties

Farm Service Agency Announces Important Program Updates

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds producers that the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 extended the authorization of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (the 2008 Farm Bill) for many Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) commodity, disaster, and conservation programs through 2013. FSA administers these programs.

The extended programs include, among others: the Direct and Counter-Cyclical Payment Program (DCP), the Average Crop Revenue Election Program (ACRE), and the Milk Income Loss Contract Program (MILC). FSA is preparing the following actions:

  • FSA will begin sign-ups for DCP and ACRE for the 2013 crops on Feb. 19, 2013. The DCP sign-up period will end on Aug. 2, 2013; the ACRE sign-up period will end on June 3, 2013.

The 2013 DCP and ACRE program provisions are unchanged from 2012, except that all eligible participants in 2013 may choose to enroll in either DCP or ACRE for the 2013 crop year. This means that eligible producers who were enrolled in ACRE in 2012 may elect to enroll in DCP in 2013 or may re-enroll in ACRE in 2013 (and vice versa). All dairy producers’ MILC contracts are automatically extended to Sept. 30, 2013. Eligible producers therefore do not need to re-enroll in MILC. Specific details regarding certain modifications to MILC will be released soon.

FSA will provide producers with information on program requirements, updates and signups as the information becomes available. Any additional details will be posted on FSA’s Web site.

2013 Maine Vegetable & Fruit School

The 2013 Maine Vegetable & Fruit School will be held Tuesday, March 12, at Seasons Conference Center in Portland, and on Wednesday, March 13, at the Bangor Motor Inn. Preregistration is requested no later than February 25, 2013.

Topics include:

  • Storage Crops and Post Harvest Considerations
  • Determining Your Storage Needs and Designing a Solution
  • Produce Cooling and Storage by Design at Laughingstock Farm
  • Storing Vegetables at Checkerberry Farm
  • Marketing Winter Crops at Six River Farm
  • Spotted Wing Drosophila Quiz
  • A Virtual Visit to Jordan’s Farm
  • Marketing to Your Community at Jordan’s Farm
  • Should Strawberries be on Your Menu?
  • Using Compost: The Good, Bad and Ugly
  • New Pest Update: Spotted Wing Drosophila, Stink Bugs, Cutworms, Borers and Moths

The fee is $35.00 and includes lunch. Participants may receive 1 Pesticide Applicator recertification credit, and Certified Crop Advisors may earn 5 recertification credits. More information, including how to register, is posted on the Highmoor Farm Web site.

New Microloans Expand Small Farm Finance Options

FSA to Help Beginning and Small Farmers

New and beginning farmers in Maine now have an agricultural Microloan credit option to consider. As of Jan. 15, 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will offer its customers a Microloan designed to help farmers with credit needs of $35,000 or less. The loan features a streamlined application and a simplified qualification process built to fit the needs of new and smaller producers.

“This innovative offering will be more customer-friendly than our larger, more traditional loan programs,” said Farm Loan Manager Mike Dennison. “Farms seeking a smaller loan for start-up or operational needs now have a great new tool to consider. For those selling at Farmers’ Markets or through community-supported agriculture operations (CSAs), a Microloan might serve their needs perfectly,” Dennison continued, “and the reduced paperwork associated with the new Microloan will help expedite the process for everyone.”

In FY2012, the Farm Service Agency provided approximately $13.2 million in farm loan assistance to agricultural producers of all sizes in Maine. That year, operating loans accounted for the majority of the loans extended (126), while farm ownership loans were fewer (20).

“The interest rate of 1.25 percent on the new FSA Microloan is also a great benefit for farmers who are just starting out, in need of capital and on a tight budget,” according to FLM Dennison. “Producers in every Maine county can contact their nearest FSA office for details and to determine if they qualify for a Microloan.” The Microloan term can be up to seven years.

In response to tighter financial markets, USDA has expanded the availability of farm credit, helping farmers refinance loans across the U.S. Since 2009, USDA has provided more than 128,000 loans to family farmers totaling more than $18 billion. Over 50 percent of the loans went to beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. For more information on Microloans and other FSA programs, please contact your local USDA service center.

Scaling Up for Small Farm Profitability – Ready To Gross Up To $100,000 A Year?

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District are offering a five-workshop series covering the following topics:

  • Marketing Your Farm Products
  • Animal Health Issues
  • Livestock Regulations and Production Practices
  • General Soil Health, IPM and Pesticide Safety
  • High Tunnel Basics

These weekly workshop sessions will begin February 26 and end March 26, 2013. The workshops will be held at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Office, 24 Main Street, Lisbon Falls. The cost is $75 per person to attend all five sessions or $20 per person for any individual session. The Small Farmer Workshop Flyer, and registration forms are available at the Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District Web site.

 

 

Sabattus Primary School Youth Learn How to “Eat Your Colors”

May 23rd, 2012 2:47 PM

University of Maine Cooperative Extension Eat Well Nutrition Education Program, Nutrition Associate Courtney Davis worked with youth Pre-K through 2nd grade at the Sabattus Primary School this May during their Wellness Week to teach them about the importance of eating from all the food groups, physical activity and trying new fruits and vegetables.

Photos show the youths’ artwork on the five food groups, demonstrating how you “Eat Your Colors” and what they learned about eating well. (Click on the images to view enlargements.)

kids in front of their drawings

Eat Your Colors drawing Eat Your Colors drawing Eat Your Colors drawing

Farm Scoop March 2012

March 12th, 2012 10:17 AM

by Richard Brzozowski, Extension Educator, Cumberland County and Tori Jackson, Extension Educator, Androscoggin & Sagadahoc Counties

 Maine Hay School Webinar Series

A five-session webinar series, the Maine Hay School, began on March 1, 2012. This series of one-hour webinars is designed to instruct beginner and experienced hay producers in Maine about selecting, growing, making, storing, and marketing the best quality hays or other preserved forages possible at a profit. All of these webinars will be recorded and free for the viewing.

Links to the next sessions of the Maine Hay School are as follows:

Maine Hay School Webinar – Part 2 – March 8th, 7-8 PM

Maine Hay School Webinar – Part 3 – March 15th, 7-8 PM

Maine Hay School Webinar – Part 4 – March 22nd, 7-8 PM

Maine Hay School Webinar – Part 5 – March 29th, 7-8 PM

To participate, simply enter the webinar as a ‘guest’.

Beginning Farmer Series Scheduled

Interested in starting a farm? Getting information at the outset can put you on the road to success by saving you time, money, and energy. University of Maine Cooperative Extension will offer a 5-session Beginning Farmer Series in Waldo starting March 13, 2012. Classes will be held on Thursdays from 6:30 – 9:00 PM. UMaine Extension Educators Rick Kersbergen and Caragh Fitzgerald will collaborate with farmers and other experts from around the region to present this series. Novice farmers will be given the tools to evaluate and choose enterprises, develop a business plan, and market their products. Cost is $60 per farm and includes course books and other program materials. Registration ends March 7. For more information, contact Caragh Fitzgerald or call (207) 622-7546 (toll free 1-800-287-1481 in Maine), TDD 1-800-287-8957.

Maine Grass Farmers Network 8th Annual Grazing Conference

The Maine Beef Producers Association and Maine Grass Farmers Network present the 8th Annual Grazing Conference on Saturday, March 17, 2012 from 8:00am – 4:00pm at Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield, ME. Topics will include KVCC’s New Role in Agricultural Education, Managed Grazing Systems, Forage Species Selection and Management, Marketing Your Farm Products, Finishing Cattle on Grass, Pork Cutting Demonstration and more. More information, including registration, is available online.

Egg Producer School

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension is partnering with the Maine Poultry Growers Association in presenting a day-long Egg Producer School. The school is scheduled from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield, Maine. The cost to participate in this practical school is $25.00 per person. This fee includes lunch and reference materials. This day-long school is designed for individuals who have (or plan to have) a small-scale or mid-size egg production enterprise. The instructors for the school are University of Connecticut Extension Poultry Specialist, Dr. Michael Darre and UMaine Extension Educator, Richard Brzozowski. Participants will be equipped with information and skills to assist them in reaching & managing a profitable egg enterprise. For more information contact UMaine Extension at 207-781-6099 or  1-800-287-1471 (toll-free in Maine) or email Colleen Hoyt.

Sheep Shearing Schools

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension has partnered with the Maine Sheep Breeders Association to offer three sheep shearing schools Spring 2012. The first school is a blade shearing school using non-electric hand shears and will feature blade shearer Kevin Ford. The school is scheduled Friday, March 30, at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in New Gloucester, ME, starting at 8:00 AM. Enrollment is limited to eight students. The fee is $80 per student. Spectators are welcome. The other two sheep shearing schools are beginner level schools and will feature teams of instructors. These day-long schools will be held Saturday, April 21 in Windham, ME, and Saturday, April 28 in Littleton, ME. Enrollment is limited to 22 students per school, and each costs $35 per person. For more information or to register, please contact UMaine Extension at 207-781-6099 or 1-800-287-1471 (toll-free in Maine).

Focus Group for Maine Land Use Futures Research

Michelle Johnson, Ph.D. student in Ecology and Environmental Science, and Research Fellow for the Sustainability Solutions Initiative, would like to invite you to participate in a University of Maine-led focus group related to agricultural land use in the Casco Bay/Lower Androscoggin Watershed region. The purpose of this focus group is to identify key factors that determine what makes parcels in the region suitable or unsuitable for agriculture. The outcomes of the agriculture focus group will be combined with information from other land use focus groups (forestry, development, ecosystem conservation) the team will hold. The information will then be presented in a map-based format to identify potential future conflicts and compatibilities of the various land uses.

The focus group will be held between March 26 – April 6, and will run 3 hours (morning or afternoon) with refreshments available. The location will be either USM’s Portland campus or the UMaine Extension office in Falmouth. Those with experience in agricultural activities in the Casco Bay and Lower Androscoggin Watersheds are being invited to participate. The group will participate in discussion about suitability of key factors for agriculture, with a goal of creating a list of the factors and identifying the relative importance of each factor. If you are a farmer interested in participating, please contact Michelle Johnson or call 207-852-1181.

Dairy Producers Reminded of MILC Program

The Maine Farm Service Agency would like to remind dairy producers of some important program eligibility requirements for payment under the Milk Income Loss Contract program (MILC). FSA Androscoggin/Sagadahoc County Executive Director Marcia Hall says dairy prices may authorize potential MILC payments, but all dairy producers need to be aware of the program requirements should those conditions arise.

Dairy operators currently enrolled in MILC, need to notify the local county office if there have been any changes to their dairy operation. If a payment rate is announced, dairy producers enrolled in the MILC program will need to provide the local county office with documentation showing the eligible milk production and commercial milk marketing for the months with a MILC payment rate in effect.

MILC program participants are also required to comply with FSA’s Adjusted Gross Income requirements each fiscal year. This certification, on a CCC-931, must be completed prior to a payment being disbursed. New dairies that have not previously participated in the MILC program will need to fill out the CCC-580, Milk Income Loss Contract. For more information contact: Marcia Hall or call 207/753-9400 ext. 2.

Starting from Scratch with a Smart Phone, Mobile Device or Computer? We can help!

If you want to learn how to use a smart phone, iPad, laptop or other mobile device for your farm business, contact Tori at 1-800-287-1458 or Dick at 1-800-287-1471 at UMaine Extension. A smart phone or computer might make sense for you in more efficient communications, marketing, management and making business decisions. It is never too late to start using such devices.

Do You Have an Email Address?

Getting this newsletter and other announcements from UMaine Extension and other agricultural groups is quicker and less expensive via email address. If you have an email address and would like to be added to our mailing list, please send a request to Dana Rickman. Thank you.