Farm Scoop – July 2016

Maine Producers Reminded of Nearing Deadline to Submit Nominations for Farm Service Agency County Committees

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Maine Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director, SED Don Todd, today reminded farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers that they have until August 1, 2016, to nominate eligible candidates to serve on local FSA county committees.

FSA county committees help local farmers through their decisions on commodity price support loans, conservation programs, and disaster programs, and by working closely with county executive directors. More information can be found at COC Noms Deadline Nearing to Submit Nominations for 2016 COC Elections News Release (Word).

Thinking about Your Wholesale Business?

September will be here before we know it, and with it the New England Made Giftware & Specialty Food Show in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, September 11-12.

The Fall show is an affordable, easy way to connect with buyers who are definitely there to buy. And many of those buyers are from year-round businesses. Don’t miss this great opportunity to boost your sales for the 4th quarter and all winter long! Details can be found online.

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Proclaims August 7-13 “National Farmers Market Week”

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today signed a proclamation declaring August 7-13, 2016, as “National Farmers Market Week.” This year marks the 17th annual National Farmers Market Week to honor and celebrate the important role that farmers markets play in local economies.

“Farmers markets are an important part of strong local and regional food systems that connect farmers with new customers and grow rural economies. In many areas, they are also expanding access to fresh, healthy food for people of all income levels,” said Secretary Vilsack.  “National Farmers Market Week recognizes the growth of these markets and their role in supporting both urban and rural communities.”

Throughout the week, USDA officials will celebrate at farmers market locations across the country. On Saturday, August 6, Elanor Starmer, the Administrator of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) — which conducts research, provides technical assistance, and awards grants to support local and regional food systems — will kick off the week visiting a farmers market and wrap up the week at USDA’s own farmers market in Washington, D.C., on Friday, August 12. Download the News Release (Word).

Androscoggin/Sagadahoc/Oxford County FSA Acreage Reporting Dates for 2016

Androscoggin/Sagadahoc/Oxford County USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Executive Director (CED) Marcia Hall announced that producers who file accurate and timely reports for all crops and land uses, including failed acreage can prevent the potential loss of FSA program benefits. Please pay close attention to the acreage reporting dates below for 2016.

The following acreage reporting dates are applicable for Androscoggin/Sagadahoc/Oxford Counties:

July 15, 2016: Spring Seeded Crops — such as cucumbers, green peas, peppers, potatoes, herbs

September 30, 2016: Value Lost Crops — such as ornamental nursery, aquaculture, turf, grass, sod, Christmas trees, potted floriculture

The following exceptions apply to the above acreage reporting dates:

  • If the crop has not been planted by the above acreage reporting date, then the acreage must be reported no later than 15 calendar days after planting is completed.
  • If a producer acquires additional acreage after the above acreage reporting date, then the acreage must be reported no later than 30 calendars days after purchase or acquiring the lease. Appropriate documentation must be provided to the county office.
  • If a perennial forage crop is reported with the intended use of “cover only,” “green manure,” “left standing,” or “seed” then the acreage must be reported by July 15.

According to CED Hall, Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) policy holders should note that the acreage reporting date for NAP covered crops is the earlier of the dates listed above or 15 calendar days before grazing or harvesting of the crop begins.

For questions regarding crop certification and crop loss reports, please contact the Androscoggin/Sagadahoc County FSA office at 207.753.9400, Ext 2 and the Oxford County FSA office at 207.743.5789, Ext 2.

Pasture & Grazing Management Workshop, July 30, 2016

Knox-Lincoln Soil & Water Conservation District will present the final Beginning Farmer Workshop of 2016 on Saturday, July 30 from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at Aldemere Farm, 70 Russell Ave in Rockport. This free program is sponsored by a grant from USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The schedule for the day is:
8:00 AM – Coffee and registration
8:30-10:00 – Pasture Mgt 101 & Intro to Rotational Grazing with UMaine Extension Pasture Specialist Rick Kersbergen
10:00-11:30 – Infrastructure for Rotational Grazing & Record Keeping with Univ. of Vermont Extension Grazing Specialist Kimberley Hagan
11:30-12:30 – Lunch
12:30-2:30 – Training Livestock to Eat Weeds/Weed ID with Kimberley Hagan and MOFGA Organic Livestock Specialist Diane Schivera
2:30-3:15 – Pasture Measurements & Biomonitoring with Diane Schivera
3:15-4:00 – Sustainable Farming with Carnivores with carnivore conservation biologist Geri Vistein

FMI or to register: 207.596.2040,, or

Maine Tree Farm/Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine (SWOAM) Forestry Field Day

Saturday, September 10 is the date for the 62nd Annual Forestry Field Day to be held this year at the Pine Tree Camp in Rome. Pine Tree Camp is the 2016 Maine State Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year, and is one of 8 finalists for the National OTFY.

The Camp, a project of the Pine Tree Society, headquartered in Bath, will host the event, which is open to the public, at its 285-acre property on North Pond, where forest management activity is built around the camp’s mission to provide quality recreation experiences for people with special needs

The creation and placement of harvesting routes — some of which are later converted to nature paths — open up the woods to many experiences that are completely new for most campers. These include accessing “remote” places to swim, fish, or sleep overnight in a tent. The Field Day will include woods tours covering a variety of topics such as locating and constructing roads and trails, best management practices to protect water quality, managing deer wintering areas and stands of older trees, and rebuilding camper’s cabins with the help of local forest products businesses. There will be vendors on site and educational stations hosted by a variety of organizations, agencies, and other groups. Lunch will be available for a modest fee (cash only).

For more information contact Gretchen Heldmann, the Maine Tree Farm Coordinator or SWOAM.

Cover Crop Walk Thursday, July 14, 2016, 5:00 p.m., Clinton

Join University of Maine Cooperative Extension faculty and staff at 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 14 in Clinton to learn more about summer-planted cover crops. We’ll look at a demonstration plot with twenty-four species, varieties, and mixes. This is a great chance to observe differences in growth and weed competitiveness before trying a new cover crop on your farm. We’ll also discuss soil health benefits, termination strategies and timing, and using summer cover crops as livestock feed.

The program is free and will be held at the Farm Days site at Misty Meadows Farm on the Hill Road in Clinton. The field entrance is about one mile North of the I-95 overpass, on the left just after the silage pad.

For more information, contact Caragh Fitzgerald at 207.622.7546.

If you are a person with a disability and need an accommodation to participate in this program, please contact Caragh Fitzgerald at 207.622.7546 to discuss your needs. Receiving requests for accommodations at least seven days before the program provides a reasonable amount of time to meet the request, however, all requests will be considered.

Dairy Producers Can Enroll Today to Protect Milk Production Margins

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Maine today announced that dairy producers can enroll for 2017 coverage in the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy) starting July 1. The voluntary program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides financial assistance to participating dairy producers when the margin — the difference between the price of milk and feed costs — falls below the coverage level selected by the producer.

The Margin Protection Program gives participating dairy producers the flexibility to select coverage levels best suited for their operation. Enrollment begins July 1 and ends on Sept. 30, 2016, for coverage in calendar year 2017. Participating farmers will remain in the program through 2018 and pay a minimum $100 administrative fee each year. Producers have the option of selecting a different coverage level during open enrollment each year.

USDA has a web tool to help producers determine the level of coverage under the Margin Protection Program that will provide them with the strongest safety net under a variety of conditions. The online resource, available at, allows dairy farmers to quickly and easily combine unique operation data and other key variables to calculate their coverage needs based on price projections. Producers can also review historical data or estimate future coverage needs, based on data projections. The secure site can be accessed via computer, Smartphone or tablet 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The entire news release can be downloaded at Dairy Producers Can Enroll to Protect Milk Production Margins News Release (PDF).

SARE Offers Free Online Sustainable Agriculture Courses

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) is offering three free, online, self-paced sustainable agriculture courses.

These include Sustainable Agriculture Principles and Concept Overview, Strategic Farm/Ranch Planning and Marketing, and a new course on Agricultural Ecosystem Management. This program is designed primarily for Cooperative Extension and Natural Resources Conservation Service personnel and is open to farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural professionals nationwide. More information can be found online.