Registration is open for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s annual Maine Grain Conference, which will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 15, at the Spectacular Events Center, 395 Griffin Road, Bangor. The conference is designed for farmers, crop advisers and others involved in the agricultural community.
Featured speakers Klaas Martens and Mary-Howell Martens from Lakeview Organic Farm in Penn Yan, N.Y. will talk about organic grain rotations, production considerations for alternative grains, growing grain for seed and protecting grain quality with proper harvesting, drying, cleaning and storage. The Martens farm 1,400 acres of corn, wheat, barley, oats and legumes. They also operate a feed mill and sell organic feed, crop seed and food-grade grains.
Dorn Cox of the four-generation Tuckaway Farm in Lee, N.H. will discuss grain equipment options for all scales of operation. The grain grower will also give an overview of his 250-acre farm, as well as of the Great Bay Grain Cooperative that shares equipment and expertise.
Ellen Mallory, UMaine Extension sustainable agriculture specialist and conference organizer, will update attendees on UMaine grain research results with graduate students Aaron Englander and Erin Roche. An open question-and-discussion session will be held so participants can tap into available expertise.
Participants will receive two pesticide certification credits and six Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) credits.
Pre-registration is required by Thursday, March 13. Cost is $20 if pre-registered by March 10, $30 after. The fee covers lunch and a snack. To pre-register and pay online, visit http://umaine.edu/agriculture/
Image Description: Handful of grain
The Maine Grass Farmers Network (MGFN) annual Grazing Conference will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 15 at Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield.
The cost is $75 per person, $25 for each additional person from the same farm or household, with discounts for students and MGFN members. This conference is designed for livestock producers who want to learn how to best use pasture and forage crops to feed their livestock profitably.
This year’s conference features Forrest Pritchard, a professional farmer, writer and public speaker. His farm, Smith Meadows, is one of the first “grass finished” farms in the country, and has sold products at farmers markets in Washington, D.C., for 15 years. His book “Gaining Ground, A Story of Farmers’ Markets, Local Food and Saving the Family Farm” was named a Top Read by Publishers Weekly, The Washington Post and NPR’s “The Splendid Table.” Pritchard’s keynote presentation is “The Economics of Grass-Based Livestock.”
Additional presenters will include University of Vermont livestock specialist Joe Emenheiser and Crystal Springs Farm manager Seth Kroek. The conference will also feature the MGFN annual business meeting, a grass-fed beef cook-off and a trade show.
For more information and to register, visit the MGFN website at http://umaine.edu/livestock/mgfn/. For any questions or to request a disability accommodation, contact Rick Kersbergen, 207.342.5971; firstname.lastname@example.org.
The MGFN Conference is co-sponsored by University of Maine Cooperative Extension; The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association; The Natural Resources Conservation Service; The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry; and the Maine Beef Producers Association.
Image Description: Grazing cattle
Join with other new and experienced farmers, University of Maine Cooperative Extension educators, and other agricultural professionals to share strategies for successful farming. Topics include crop, nutrient and pest management; irrigation, and transition to organic production. This series includes four evening sessions and one full-day session in May. Full details, including how to register, are available online. Contact Jane Heikkinen, 207.753.9400 x 400, with any questions or to request a disability accommodation.
Sponsored by Androscoggin Valley Soil & Water Conservation District, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry; USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services; and University of Maine Cooperative Extension. All sponsors are equal opportunity employers.
Image Description: Farmer and duck with ducklings
The September 2013 issue of Farm Scoop is now available and includes information about So You Want to Farm in Maine? — A Short Course for Individuals Who Want a Profitable Farm Operation; a new online form to report livestock losses from predators; a hands-on workshop on Four Season Gardening; Lyme Disease statistics for Maine; SARE Partnership Grants for farmers and growers; tax tips if you’re starting a business, and more.
Farm Scoop is a free, farm-related, online newsletter. To receive notification of new issues via e-mail, contact KymNoelle Sposato at email@example.com.
The August issue of Farm Scoop is now available: Farm Scoop – August 2013. Read about
The May issue of Farm Scoop is now available: Farm Scoop — May 2013. Read about New District Foresters, Specialty Food in Your Farm, Agritourism, eXtension, Maine Harvest for Hunger, 2013-2014 New England Small Fruit Management Guide, and more.
View the April 2013 issue of Farm Scoop.
Farm Scoop is produced by Richard Brzozowski, Extension Educator, Cumberland County; Tori Jackson, Extension Educator, Androscoggin & Sagadahoc Counties; and Frank Wertheim, Extension Educator, York County.
by Richard Brzozowski, Extension Educator, Cumberland County; Tori Jackson, Extension Educator, Androscoggin & Sagadahoc Counties; and Frank Wertheim, Extension Educator, York County
March 19, 2013 at 8:00 a.m.
Anderson Learning Center, 21 Bradeen Street, Springvale ME
(downstairs in the Nasson Heritage Room)
Enjoy a free, catered breakfast gathering for York County Farmers Network (YCFN) members, sponsored this month by Farm Credit of Maine, courtesy of Rob Horne. Join your fellow YCFN members for an informal networking opportunity and compare notes on getting ready for spring! After breakfast, Dave Tuttle will host the group for a tour of his winter greens and new hydroponic operation at Riverside Farms in North Berwick. For directions, or if you have questions, email Becky Gowdy or Frank Wertheim, or call us at (207) 324-2814. In case of weather concerns and possible cancellation, please call the office by 4:30 p.m. the day before, or check WCSH6 Storm Center cancellations.
There has been a lot in the news about farmers not being able to save and replant Genetically Modified seeds. Here is a resource for those who do want to try saving seeds of their favorite or important varieties for market and what you need to know to do so. Funded by Northeast SARE, The Organic Seed Grower:A Farmer’s Guide to Vegetable Seed Production is available through Chelsea Green Publishing or call them at 1-800-639-4099.
Friday and Saturday, March 22-23, 2013
Grappone Conference Center, Concord, NH
The goal of the New England Meat Conference is to enhance the production, processing, and marketing of sustainable, nutritious, humanely-raised meat from New England farms by providing educational and networking opportunities for meat producers, processors and industry stakeholders. More information is available on the Conference website.
A group of federal, state and local agricultural service providers have joined together to assist aspiring, beginning, and transitioning farmers to succeed by providing information and assistance on everything from the soil to your wallet. This coalition, known as the Beginning Farmers Resource Network (BFRN), has created a one stop website for new and transitioning farmers. It offers a “toolbox” of information on important issues and concerns farmers should think about when starting or enhancing their business. The BFRN provides resources and contacts on such issues as acquiring land, how to farm, conserving natural resources, planning and managing your business, financing, regulations, marketing, and much more. The website, also, provides information on events and workshops that may be of interest. Please take some time to explore what the BFRN has to offer and let us know what you think.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), an agency under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is announcing availability of Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies. NRCS anticipates that the amount available for support of this program in FY 2013 will be up to $200,000. Applications are requested from eligible governmental or non-governmental organizations or individuals for competitive consideration of grant awards for projects between 1 and 3 years in duration.
Applications must be received by NRCS no later than April 1, 2013 by 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST). Applications sent via hand-delivery, express mail or overnight courier service must be sent to the following address:
Gerald Jacobs, Contracting Officer
Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service
Conservation Innovation Grants Program
967 Illinois Ave., Suite # 3, Bangor, ME 04401
Applications sent electronically must be sent through grants.gov.
For more information contact Christopher Jones, CIG Program Manager Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or call (207) 990-9563.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
University of Maine Regional Learning Center
75 Clearwater Drive, Suite 104, Falmouth ME
Registration fee is $35 MOFGA members; $40 non-members
This day-long workshop is designed for farmers and others interested in home food processing for resale. Licensing requirements, food safety and product liability insurance will be covered. Fee includes handouts and lunch. Register and find more information online, or call MOFGA at (207) 568-4142. This workshop is co-sponsored by MOFGA and UMaine Extension.
2013 Farm Tractor Safety Course
Tuesday evenings starting April 30, 2013
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Maine Forest Service, 356 Shaker Road, Gray ME
Fee: $20 includes the manual
This 5-session course is designed for new drivers (youth and adults). Individuals will receive practical training in the classroom, in the shop, and on tractors. Participants should be at least 13 years of age to participate in this certified course. Register or find more information online, or email Andrea Herr, or call 1-800-287-1471. Registration is required, and space is limited.
The New England Farm Account Book in Electronic Format!
This handy record book is now available electronically in an Excel spreadsheet format. To obtain a free copy of the electronic spreadsheet with directions on its use, please email Tori Jackson or call 1-800-287-1458.
by Richard Brzozowski, Extension Educator, Cumberland County and Tori Jackson, Extension Educator, Androscoggin & Sagadahoc Counties
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.