Farm Scoop – July 2015

Livestock First Aid and Safety

Livestock First Aid and Safety on Friday, July 31 at 2:00 p.m. EDT. This webinar will focus on basic first aid techniques for use with livestock and working animals.

Click here to log-in as a guest and participate in the free live event. The webinar will also be recorded for later viewing. To register, receive notifications about the webinar and to add it to your calendar, go to Learn.

Register for this event.

The webinar will be presented by Scott Cotton, University of Wyoming Area Educator and EDEN Chair-elect, and Dr. John Duncan, Area Veterinary Medical Officer, USDA APHIS, and moderated by Andrea Higdon, Emergency Management System Director for the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment at the University of Kentucky.

A press release for the webinar is available here.

A New Tool for Improved Profitability on Your Farm

Many diversified farms are entering the busiest part of their season with harvest getting underway on most crops. A sustainable farm business is one that is profitable. For those looking for ways to maximize profitability, there is a new tool you may wish to consider.

Cabbige is an online pricing tool that helps small farms manage their business and make more money. With Cabbige’s pricing tool, farmers know the best price to charge for each crop throughout the season, helping them make more money with less effort. Here is a case study from a small, diversified farm in Massachusetts:

Natick Community Organic Farm Gets Big Gains with Cabbige

Natick Community Organic Farm  (NCOF) is a small-scale, certified organic farm in Natick, Massachusetts. Under the leadership of Director Lynda Symkins and Assistant Director, Casey Townsend, NCOF produces a wide variety of vegetables, meat, eggs, and maple syrup for sale at their farm stand, various farmers’ markets, and to wholesale customers in the Metrowest region of Boston.

NCOF’s heart is in land preservation and conservation, education programs that teach the next generation about the value of sustainable agriculture, and maintaining responsible stewardship of the land; and its head is in using revenue from the farm to make its programs and mission possible.

NCOF piloted Cabbige’s pricing tool from June – September 2014, tracking 6 distinct crops, including:

  • Kale/Collards
  • Mixed Greens
  • Flower Bouquets
  • Blueberries
  • Slicing Tomatoes
  • Cherry Tomatoes

NCOF entered harvest and sales data; Cabbige used that data to determine the current best price for their crops and sent them twice weekly price recommendations via e-mail. The recommended prices were highlighted green if the recommendation was higher than the previous price and red if it was lower.

At various points in the season, NCOF altered their prices based on Cabbige’s price recommendations, and the results were very positive.

“Both Lynda and I really like the price recommendations and have been adjusting our prices based on them.” – Casey Townsend,

NCOF consistently sold a large percentage of its Kale/collards crop; with a high sell-through rate, Cabbige recommended a price increase, and NCOF raised the price from $2.50 to $3.00. Kale/collards continued to sell well after the price increase, and the 20% price increase allowed NCOF to capture 9.4% more revenue for this crop than they  would have with the baseline $2.50 price.

NCOF also used Cabbige to help price a less consistent product: flower bouquets. Throughout the season, NCOF adjusted the price of its bouquets from $10.00 – $15.00/bunch. At the end of the season, analysis of the data entered into Cabbige revealed that the most consistently profitable price was~$12.00/bunch. Cabbige measured the effective cost of each bunch (Revenue/ Total Harvest) to factor revenue across both sold and unsold bunches. The results were an effective cost per bouquet (eCPB) of $5.59/bunch when priced at $10.00/bunch; $10.39/bunch when priced at $12.00/bunch; and $9.94/bunch when priced at $15.00/bunch.

With Cabbige, NCOF was able to earn more revenue over the course of the season and have the data needed to improve revenue and profitability into the future.

You can learn more at

Spotted Wing Drosophila Alert for July 20, 2015

This announcement is also posted as a SWD blog with color pictures on the Highmoor Farm website, where you can subscribe to updates.

26th Annual Maine Open Farm Day

 A Maine tradition, farms will open their gates to the public this Sunday

AUGUSTA — Visit select Maine farms this Sunday, July 26. All across the State of Maine, close to 100 family farms will open their doors to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Held each year, Open Farm Day is an opportunity for consumers to learn about Maine food producers and for farms to show the public their products. More information can be found online.

Public Notice for RFP# 201507116 — Maine Farms for the Future

State of Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Public Notice for RFP# 201507116

Maine Farms for the Future Program, Round 15: Phase 1 — Business Plan Development (2015-2017) with potential Phase 2 — Investment Support in 2017.

A Bidders’ Conference will be held at the Department Offices on Thursday, August 13, 2015, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in Room 319 in the Deering Building located at 90 Blossom Lane in Augusta, Maine.

Proposals must be submitted to the State of Maine Division of Purchases, located at the Burton M. Cross Office Building, 111 Sewall Street, 4th Floor, 9 State House Station, Augusta, Maine, 04333-0009.  Proposals must be submitted by 2:00 p.m., local time, on Thursday, September 10, 2015.

More information can be found online.

FREE Webinar — Legal Issues Related to Livestock Production

2015 has seen interesting development in legal issues related to livestock production. In January 2015, a federal district judge ruled that manure (stored or applied to a field) could become a solid waste under federal environmental laws.  At the same time, a consortium of environmental and animal welfare groups filed a lawsuit against the EPA for failure to act on their petition to regulate ammonia gas releases from animal feeding operations.  The law as it relates to these operations is currently in a state of flux.

On August 6th at noon (EDT) the Northeast Extension Risk Management Education Center will co-sponsor a webinar featuring Dr. Shannon Ferrell, Oklahoma associate professor of agricultural economics, Department of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University, discussing the implications of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and Clean Air Act (CAA) on animal agriculture, recent litigation, and other legal issues.

This webinar is open to livestock producers, Extension educators, agricultural service professionals, and anyone else interested in learning more about the potential impacts of RCRA and the CAA on livestock operations.  The webinar is free to attend, register online.

New, USDA Poultry Slaughter Now Available

The new USDA poultry slaughter facility in Gardiner, Commonwealth Poultry, has been up and running for the past 4 months. They are now ready to begin processing additional flocks under USDA inspection.

If you are interested in this service please contact Ryan Wilson via email ( or by phone 207.582.4900.

The plant is currently accepting birds by appointment.

MOFGA’s Farm Training Project Schedule

The schedule of farm visits/workshops can be found online here. The workshops are free and open to the public. They were designed with an audience of farm apprentices in mind, but lots of beginning farmers, other growers, and the curious public are also welcome to attend. Workshop starts at 5:00 p.m., usually wraps up by 7:00 p.m., and are generally followed by a potluck. Ag service providers are always welcome to attend too!

Understanding Farm Leases

Watch for this presentation at the Common Ground Fair, September 25-27 in Unity!

If you are a beginning farmer looking to access land, an established farmer looking to expand your business, or a landowner looking to make some of your land available for farming — a farm lease could be just what you need. Farm leases can be simple or highly detailed, “boiler plate” or custom-made, short- or long-term. Come hear about various kinds of leases, what the various sections in a lease mean, and which type of lease would be right for you.

Enrollment for 2016 Dairy Margin Protection Program to Begin July 1

(Bangor, ME) – June 29, 2015 — Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden today announced that starting July 1, 2015, dairy farmers can enroll in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Margin Protection Program for coverage in 2016. The voluntary program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides financial assistance to participating dairy operations when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below the coverage level selected by the farmer. Harden made the announcement while visiting Wolfe’s Neck Farm and dairy school in Freeport, Maine.

The full press release can be read at Enrollment for 2016 Dairy Margin Protection Program to Begin July 1 06-29-15 Word).

For more information, visit FSA or stop by a local FSA office to learn more about the Margin Protection Program. Find a local FSA office in your area.

Rusted Rooster Farm Grain Walk

4:00 – 7:00 p.m., Thursday, July 23
Rusted Rooster Farm
Parkman, Maine

Sean and Sandra O’Donnell invite anyone interested in grain production on a walking tour of their grain fields followed by a shared dinner.  They are growing a wide variety of cereal grains (wheat, oats, barley, flint corn, and millet) and legumes (field peas, soybeans, and dry beans), and have special projects customizing spring wheat varieties for their farm and producing seed of improved Red Fife wheat in collaboration with the University of Maine and Cornell University.  This is a great chance to discuss the nuts and bolts of organic grain production with the O’Donnells and others.  Bring a dish to share if you’d like.

Other upcoming grain events this summer include the Variety Selection and Seed Production Workshop, 1:00 – 3:30 p.m., and the UMaine Sustainable Ag Twilight Meeting, 5:00 – 7:45 p.m., both on July 16 in Old Town. For more information see our Upcoming Twilight Meetings and Workshops webpage.

UMaine Extension Offering a Weed Identification Walk — Date Change

SANGERVILLE, ME — University of Maine Cooperative Extension announced that a Weed Identification Walk will now be held on August 5 at 6:00 p.m. at the Stutzman’s Farm, 891 Douty Hill Rd, Sangerville. Registration is free. Two hours of pesticide recertification credit are available for private and agricultural basic pesticide applicators.

Farmers will benefit from the weed identification walk by learning common weeds that can invade their vegetable, fruit and other cultivated crops. Donna Coffin, Extension Educator will lead the walk and have a number of references available for farmers to learn how to identify weeds and how to manage them in their crops. Farmers with weeds to identify from their home farm are encouraged to bring a digital picture of their problem weed.

For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact Donna Coffin at 207.564.3301 or 800.287.1491 (in Maine), or e-mail Donna Coffin.