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Farm Scoop December 2012/January 2013

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

 23rd Annual Maine Beef Conference

December 1, 2012, the Maine Beef Conference will take place at the Hilton Garden Inn in Bangor. The focus will be on marketing with keynote speaker Dr. Jim Ochterski from Cornell. Dr Ochterski will be talking about whole farm marketing strategy. Dr. Henrettia Beaufait from the ME Department of Agriculture will talk about regulations for selling meat in Maine. Gabe Clark of Cold Spring Ranch in New Portland will talk about the cost of production and what that means for making a profit. Trades show vendors will be available at breaks and during lunch. Registration begins at 8:00 a.m.

Find more information on the day’s schedule, registration fees, and how to register online, or contact Melissa Libby, 134 Hitchner Hall, UMaine Extension, Orono, ME 04469-5735, or call (207) 581-2788 or 1-800-287-7170 (toll-free in Maine).

Free Poultry Break Even Calculator – Webinar for Small Scale Producers

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension has arranged for a free webinar on the business side of keeping poultry. In order to stay in business, your business needs to be profitable, no matter what size. The webinar is a product of a SARE grant in applied poultry science coordinated by UMaine Extension.

Learn how to use a spreadsheet for your backyard, small scale or mid-size poultry enterprise at a free, 60-minute webinar scheduled for 7:00 pm (EST) Tuesday, December 4, 2012.

The spreadsheet, known as the “break even calculator,” will help poultry producers better understand their costs and calculate a reasonable price for their product. The spreadsheet, developed by Extension Educator Adam Hady of Wisconsin Extension in Richland County, was designed with tabs for meat producers and egg producers to establish a minimum price for their product. To participate in the webinar, simply connect to the webinar site a few minutes before the scheduled start time. For an electronic copy of the break even calculator for poultry, email Extension Educator, Richard Brzozowski.

Maine Agriculture Trades Show

The 72nd Annual Maine Agricultural Trades Show will take place January 8-10, 2013, at the Augusta Civic Center. Sponsored by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, this show provides an atmosphere to walk through, observe, and educate the public about different areas of agriculture. Many producer groups also sponsor seminars and workshops over the three-day event. This is a wonderful opportunity to network with other farmers, pick up a new tool, or learn a new skill to take back to your farm. Find more information on the event Web site.

Marketing for Profit: Tools for Success – Webinar Series Registration Now Open!

The Farmers Market Federation of NY and the NY Farm Viability Institute have partnered with USDA Northeast SARE to present “Marketing for Profits: Tools for Success”, a series of webinars on marketing. These webinars have been designed with the assistance of regional and national marketing experts to provide critical marketing insights for farmers and farm markets throughout the northeast. The webinars are free, approximately an hour and a half long, and easy to access with a basic internet connection. Interested participants are encouraged to register online TODAY for the webinars they think they will attend. Each webinar will be repeated twice to maximize opportunity to participate, and are FREE.  For more information, detailed descriptions of the sessions or a full 3-year curriculum, please contact Diane Eggert or David Grusenmeyer.

2012 Census of Agriculture

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) urges producers to ensure their farm or ranch is also counted in the 2012 Census of Agriculture. The Census is a crucial tool that provides farmers with a voice in the future of their community and operation. Conducted every five years by NASS, the Census is a complete count of the U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. The Census looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures and other topics. It provides the only source of uniform, comprehensive agricultural data for every county in the nation. Results of the Census are used to serve farmers and their communities today, and help benefit the future generations of farmers tomorrow. Legislators at various levels of government use the data when shaping farm policy, and agribusinesses factor it into their planning efforts. Census forms will be mailed out in late December and responses are due by February 4, 2013. Producers have the option to complete their forms online or by mail. After all, the Census is your voice, your future and your responsibility. More information about the Census is available online, or call 1-888-4AG-STAT (1-888-424-7828).

So, You Want to Farm in Maine

A short course for farmers thinking about starting a new farm or new farm enterprise will be held at the UMaine Extension office in Falmouth in February 2013. More information to follow in January.

2013 Maine Poultry Coop Contest Announced

The Maine Poultry Growers Association has partnered with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension in co-sponsoring the 2013 Maine Poultry Coop Contest.

You are invited to enter your poultry coop in this contest with a photo and description. The purpose of the contest is to showcase the many and varied designs used by Maine poultry keepers and enthusiasts. The Maine Poultry Growers Association will provide prizes of $200, $100, and $50 to the top three entries, respectively, and a subscription to Backyard Poultry magazine for the fourth and fifth place entries. Only Maine residents may enter the contest. All entries must include at least one, but not more than three, coop photo and a completed entry form.

The entry form and criteria are available online, or contact Andrea Herr at (207) 781-6099 or 1-800-287-1471 (toll free in Maine only). The deadline for submitting entries is December 31, 2012. Winning entries will be announced at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show on the afternoon of Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at the Augusta Civic Center. One need not be present to win.

Harvest Public Media

Harvest Public Media is a news media outlet that focuses on agricultural issues and related news stories. It is an interesting resource for national agriculture news, and may be helpful when communicating with others about national agricultural policy, weather or markets.

Need Pesticide Recertification Credits?

Check out the Maine Board of Pesticide credit calendar. Many approved pesticide applicator recertification programs are listed. You can view the calendar on their Web site or call 207-287-273.

Free Grazing Videos

The Cornell Small Farms Program now has a series of twelve YouTube videos covering all aspects of grazing. The series, which is just over 2 hours in total, covers everything from setting up electric fence, water systems and laneways to how to manage weeds or periods of drought. All 12 videos can be viewed here. The “How To” grazing videos were produced by Chenango County Cooperative Extension with funding from a Small Farms Program mini-grant.




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