The Beginning Farmer Resource Network of Maine is a coalition of Maine agriculture agencies and organizations working together to connect aspiring, beginning, and transitioning farmers to resources for farm business success. We hope you find the resources useful and inspiring!
Archive for the ‘Farmers’ Category
The 2013 Beginning Women Farmers class starts on January 6, 2013, in Fairfield, Maine. This ten-session program is scheduled for selected Sundays, January through early June, from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. The topics and dates are:
- Orientation and overview of holistic management – January 6, 2013
- Holistic goal and testing decisions – January 20, 2013
- Financial Planning 1 – February 3, 2013
- Financial Planning 2 – February 17, 2013
- Business Planning – March 3, 2013
- Marketing – March 17, 2013
- Leadership and Communication – April 7, 2013
- Land Planning – April 21, 2013
- Soil Fertility – May 5, 2013
- Grazing Planning – June 2, 2013
Sponsored by the Maine Women’s Agricultural Network, and funded by the USDA, this series of Beginning Women Farmers program classes draw on Allen Savory’s work in Holistic Management.
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.
by Richard Brzozowski, Extension Educator, Cumberland County and Tori Jackson, Extension Educator, Androscoggin-Sagadahoc Counties
The 23rd Annual Maine Beef Conference, “Becoming a More Successful Marketer,” is being held December 1st, 2012 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Bangor, Maine. The conference is being hosted by the Maine Beef Producers Association, Maine Grass Farmers Network and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. We would like you and your business to be a part of this year’s exciting program. For more information contact Donna Coffin or call 207-942-7396.
Break Even Calculator for Poultry Enterprises
A break even calculator for poultry meat and egg enterprises has recently been revised by its original developer, Adam Hady of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension. Adam has given permission for UMaine Extension to distribute it to producers in New England. Email Richard Brzozowski for an electronic copy of the excel spreadsheet. In addition, we plan to have a webinar on using the calculator. This spreadsheet could be a very handy tool in calculating your costs and determining a profitable price of the poultry meat (any poultry species) or eggs that are produced on your farm.
The 60-minute webinar is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, December 4 at 7:00 pm. Please contact Colleen Hoyt or call 207-781-6099 for more information.
Soil Sampling Before the Ground Freezes
If you sample your fields now before the ground freezes, you can hold the samples until after January 1, 2013, when there is a window of opportunity for a reduced fee for analysis ($12 instead of the regular $15). Make sure you label your samples for storage. More information on soil analysis and pricing from the Maine Soil Testing Service laboratory in Oronois is available at their Web site.
2013 Cucumber Project
Extension Educator Richard Brzozowski has an idea for a cucumber/pickle project next year. It is limited to farmers and growers in Cumberland County. To find out more about the project, contact Richard Brzozowski or call him at 207-951-7155.
On average, how many cull cows (dairy or beef) do you send off your farm each month? UMaine Extension is looking into the possibility of helping dairy and beef producers get a better price for those cull cows in good condition by having the cows processed locally and sold as ground meat to institutions in Maine. If you are interested in possibly participating in this project or want to provide some input, please contact Extension Educator Richard Brzozowski or call 1-800-287-1471.
Chainsaw Safety DVD
Do you or those on your farm need a brush-up on safe chainsaw use? UMaine Extension has received a DVD on chainsaw safety from Stihl. This safety video applies to any make of chainsaw. To borrow the DVD, please contact Colleen Hoyt or call 1-800-287-1471.
The Maine Grass Farmers Network (MGFN) is sponsoring a pasture walk this Saturday, October 27, starting at 2:00 p.m., at Sebago Lake Ranch in Gorham ME.
Ben Hartwell, owner-operator, will open his pastures up and talk about how he has been stockpiling his pasture to extend his grazing season well into the winter. Ben is very excited about the opportunities stockpiled grazing has to offer to increase pasture resources, cut costs and improve livestock health.
Participants should meet at the corners of the Huston and Harding Bridge Road in Gorham. For directions or questions about the pasture walk, please call 207.892.2586.
Allis-Chalmers All Crop Harvester Technical Forum & Operator Round-Table
Saturday, November 3, 2012 8:30 – 4:30 pm Spring Creek Farm Lyman, Maine
With Special Guest Tom Yasnowski from allcropharvester.com
Topics will include:
- Pros & Cons of Pull-Type vs. Self-Propelled Combines
- Capabilities of the All-Crop Harvester
- Considerations for Finding & Obtaining the Right All-Crop Trouble-Shooting, Repairing & Sourcing Parts
- Hands-on Machine Overview with AC Models 60A, 66 & 66 – Bagger
- User Feedback & Input from the Field & Farm Encouraged – Q&A on All Topics
The goal of this event is to connect All-Crop Users & Small Grain Farmers from the Northern New England region. If you own a combine, or you would like to, please come! It should be an opportunity for you to share and enhance your experience with others.
Registration Fee: $20.00 (includes refreshments & lunch). For more information and to register contact Nick Armentrout or call 207-985-5652.
Marketing to Make Money: Two Fall Online Courses for Experienced or Aspiring Farmers
Most people get into farming for the love of growing good food, without much thought for how they will sell what they grow, what prices they’ll be able to get, or whether they will be able to earn enough to keep doing what they love. The topic of marketing is so important for new and experienced growers that the Cornell Small Farms Program is devoting two online courses to it this November:
BF 102: Markets and Profits is an intro-level course. This course is for you if you are a new or aspiring farmer with lots of enterprise ideas, but still need to explore the details of how you will sell your bounty and whether your products will generate enough profit to support the farm long-term. This course will help you create enterprise budgets customized to your operation, begin to explore concepts around branding and selling your products, and consider the pros and cons of marketing via farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture models, farm stands, restaurants, wholesale, and more. Read the complete course description and register here.
BF 201: Marketing Planning is a more advanced course. It is for you if you have already done the initial explorations about the right products and markets for your farm, and are ready to dive in deeper to be even more strategic as your farm operation grows. Each week of the course covers one section of the Marketing Plan, which you can complete and get feedback on from your instructors as you go. Read the complete course description and register here.
Both courses are six weeks long. BF 102 runs from Nov. 8 – Dec. 13 with webinars every Thurs. evening (except Thanksgiving), while BF 201 runs from Nov. 13 – Dec. 18, with webinars every Tues. evening. The courses are $200 each. Participants successfully completing all aspects of either course will receive a certificate.
For more information contact Erica Frenay or call 607-255-9911.
Maine Farms for the Future Program – Round 12 – Phase 1 Business Plan Development
The notice for Maine Farms for the Future Program – Round 12 – Phase 1 Business Development grants has been published. All potential applicants must contact Stephanie Gilbert, RFP Coordinator, to request the official RFP. The RFP can, also, be requested by mail to Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Maine Farms for the Future Program – Room 314, 28 SHS, Augusta, ME, 04333- 0028. The Department encourages all interested vendors to obtain a copy of the RFP and submit a competitive proposal.The deadline for application is 2:00 PM local time, Tuesday October 16th, 2012.
Small and Medium Scale Farm Growth Study
Reproduction and Persistence at the Rural Urban Interface:
Family, Goals, Opportunities and Risks
Researchers at Ohio State University are conducting a national study of small and medium farm viability in communities experiencing high rates of population growth and development.
This project, Agriculture and Farming at the Rural-Urban Interface, is funded by the USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative and is intended to help develop policy that minimizes the challenges and maximizes the opportunities farm families face in urbanizing communities. The findings will be shared with policy makers with the goal of helping small and medium farms achieve success.
Farms within the metropolitan regions of Lewiston ME, Columbus OH, Miami FL, and Honolulu HI will be included in the study. Interviews with farm families will be scheduled in November 2012. For more information, and to be included in this study, please contact Vicki Garrett or call 614-247-4813.
The USDA Farm Service Agency reminds producers that the deadline to sign-up for the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program is September 30, 2012. The MILC Program financially compensates dairy producers when domestic milk prices fall below a specified level. MILC payments are made monthly when the milk price falls below the established price per hundredweight.
For more clarification on the MILC Program, please contact your local Farm Service Agency office or call 207-753-9400, Ext 2.