Farm Scoop – March 2017

Free Renewable Energy Workshop

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

GPCOG is hosting a Free Renewable Energy Workshop for Agricultural Producers and Rural Small Businesses. They will have information on how to access USDA Rural Development guaranteed loan or competitive grant funds for the purchase, installation and construction of renewable energy systems and energy efficiency projects. They will also have presentations on Solar Power and Modern Wood Heating applications for agriculture and business. The workshop will take place  from 5:30-7:00pm at Center for an Ecology Based Economy  (447 Main St., Norway, Maine).

To register, email Jennifer Brennan at GPCOG.

What is the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and How Could It Impact Your Farm?

Are you a grower or producer interested in learning more about food safety on your farm? If so, please join us for an introduction to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule. This session will be held on Thursday, April 6, 2017, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Knox/Lincoln Counties Cooperative Extension Office, 377 Manktown Road, Waldoboro, Maine 04572. The venue phone number is 207.832.0343.

This introductory session, sponsored by the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Knox-Lincoln Soil and Water Conservation District, and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension will address produce safety, farm food safety best practices, and upcoming regulations. Dr. David Handley, from the University of Maine’s Highmoor Farm, will be our presenter. Handley is an Extension Vegetable and Small Fruit Specialist with over 30 years of experience in the field. This will be a valuable information session for all those wanting to improve food safety on their farm.

This event is free and open to the public. Please preregister by sending an email to Aaron Englander. For more information, you may contact Aaron at the above email or Mark Hutchinson at 207.832.0343.

Calibration Workshop

UMaine Cooperative Extension will be holding a Calibration Workshop on Thursday, April 13, 2017, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Rain date is Thursday, April 20th. The location is at Brodis Blueberries, 367 Buzzell Hill Road, Hope, Maine 04847 (near the Hope Elementary School). The venue phone number is 207.785.4433. We will review and demonstrate the calibration for both a tractor-mounted boom and air blast sprayer. Certified pesticide applicators will receive two credits for attending the workshop.

Cost for this workshop is free, and no preregistration is required. Contact Mark Hutchinson for more information regarding the Calibration Workshop or rain date rescheduling at the Knox/Lincoln Counties Cooperative Extension Office, 207.832.0343.

New England Meat Conference

FridaySaturday, April 2829, 2017
The Radisson Manchester Downtown Manchester, NH

Sample of Topics:

  • Poultry Production & Processing
  • HACCP Symposium: Planning for potential problems
  • Selling Your Story Through the Web: Social Media and Beyond
  • Producing Your Own Value-Added Product
  • Whole Animal Purchasing for Institutions: The Hotchkiss School
  • Overview of Lean Principles
  • Emerging Markets in the Northeast: Challenges and Opportunities
  • Pricing for processors: How to choose the best environment for your needs
  • Marketing to Large Scale Businesses
  • Inventory Management from Pasture to Package
  • Pork: Balancing rations with alternative feeds
  • Growing the Business to Business Collaboration with the Michigan Meat Network
  • A Question of Scale: Getting to Profitability When Raising Sheep

The full schedule can be found at the New England Meat Conference website.

The Meat Ball

Chopped-style competition where chefs compete for bragging rights. More information to come.

Purchase Tickets

*Groups of 3 or more are eligible for a 25% discount off ticket prices. Please contact Erin Allgood in order to receive this discount.

Help Promote 2017 Census

The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service conducts the Census of Agriculture just once every five years, and it’s that time again. Currently, the census is the only complete count of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. It includes even the smallest plots of land – rural or urban – growing fruits, vegetables, or raising food animals, if $1,000 or more of such products were raised and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the census year.

This December, the 2017 Census of Agriculture will be mailed to more than three million U.S. farmers. Your support in promoting the census is critical to its success. Over the next few months, please help us remind producers of the importance of their responses. It is through the census that they can show the nation the value and importance of agriculture.

There are more types of materials available at; click on “2017 Partner Tools” along left-hand side.


The Maine Vegetable and Fruit Schools will be rescheduled due to the winter storm. The new dates are Monday, March 27 at Seasons Event & Conference Center in Portland and Friday, March 31 at Bangor Motor Inn Conference Center. As it stands now, the agendas for the schools will remain the same, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

If you are unable to attend at the new date for your registered location, or would like to switch locations, please contact us for a refund at or 207.933.2100.

2017 Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training

Location: Courtyard Portland Downtown / Waterfront, Casco Bay Room, 321 Commercial Street, Portland, Maine
Dates: April 11, 12:30 – 5:30 PM & April 12, 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Fee: $40

The course will provide a foundation of farm food safety best practices and co-management information, FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirements, and details on how to develop a farm food safety plan. Register online.

Sponsored by:  The University of Maine Cooperative Extension, University of New Hampshire Extension, University of Vermont Extension, and the Northeast Center to Advanced Food Safety.

Webinar — Connecting with Institutional Markets: Strategies and Programs for Producers

For many farmers and ranchers, branching into institutional sales alone might seem daunting. Some producers may rely on independent distributors or co-ops to engage with these markets.

This newly archived webinar on the ATTRA website, NCAT and partners discuss topics including developing partnerships, direct marketing, wholesaling, forward contracting, utilizing MOU’s, and briefly, food safety.

Though focused on Montana, the principles discussed in the video can be applied elsewhere in the country.

Go directly to the hour-long video or find it on the ATTRA website.

$10,000 No-Interest Loans Available through

In honor of International Women’s Day,, the popular online crowd-funded loan platform, has announced a matching program that effectively commits half of each requested loan for proposals that go live by Wednesday, March 8. MOFGA has teamed up with Collective Commitments, a new social enterprise working in Maine, to help you access 0% interest loans from for any business purpose. Patricia Pinto, Collective Commitments Founder, is available to answer your questions, and help you through the entire process, 207.650.4430. You can also start the application on your own.

Excellence in Exhibition: Preventing Disease in Animals and People A Free Online Course for Youth in Animal Agriculture

The Center for Food Security and Public Health at Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine created an online course to teach youth about zoonotic diseases, “Excellence in Exhibition: Preventing Disease in Animals and People”. Targeted at youth aged 13–18 years, the free online course is meant to encourage showmanship and animal involvement while keeping both animals and humans safe and healthy.

The web-based course includes lessons, case studies, and supplemental materials. It is self-paced and accessible online at any time for participants.

Learn more or take the course.

Introduction to Farm Accounting with QuickBooks Pro

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 – 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

This free workshop is for farmers who are first-time users or have less than a year’s experience with QuickBooks. The presenters, QuickBooks ProAdvisors from Austin Associates, will demonstrate how to record farm business transactions, generate reports for measuring financial performance, and provide an example of how QuickBooks is used on a Maine vegetable farm. Participants will be entered in a drawing to win a QuickBooks Pro™ subscription.

This announcement is also posted on our website.

2017 Maine Grain Conference

Monday, March 13, 2017
Southern Aroostook Agriculture Museum
1664 US Hwy 1, Littleton, ME

The annual Maine Grain Conference is a day-long event that features topics related to the commercial production and processing of small grains and oilseeds for food and feed markets. This year’s conference will focus on alternative crops and precision guided cultivation systems.  Guest speakers will include among others:

  • Willie Hughes, Hughes Farms, Janesville, Wisconsin.  Willie will talk about his family’s split conventional/organic, 5000-acre operation. Hughes Farms grow grains (wheat, rye, soybean, corn) and processing vegetables (sweet corn, peas, and snap beans).
  • Jeremiah Evans, JAM Organics, Merced, Manitoba.  Jeremiah uses of a video-guided hoe to cultivate organic grains.  He grows 450 acres of organic spelt, winter wheat, red spring wheat, field peas, and condiment mustard, as well as red clover and biannual sweet clover for plow-down.
  • Peter Scott, Crop Development Specialist, New Brunswick Department of Agriculture.  Peter will give an overview of results from his cereal and oilseed research program.


Maine Dairy Seminar

March 1, 2017 – Waterville Elks Club

Schedule of events and pre-registration can be found here Dairy Seminar Brochure (PDF).

Local and Regional Agricultural Production and Intermediated Markets Survey

A new study, funded by USDA, and led by Syracuse University, New York University, the Pennsylvania State University, and the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) seeks to examine local and regional agricultural production and intermediated markets.

The study will examine the opportunities and risks of four main marketing opportunities for farmers — direct-to-consumer, direct-to-institution, direct-to-retail, and selling to intermediaries (such as distributors or food hubs), who in turn sell the products as local food. We are interested in all farmers’ perceptions of these markets, whether currently selling to these markets or not.

The survey has several intended benefits for farmers, including the identification of technical assistance and information needs to help scale up farms for marketing to intermediaries. A national outreach and technical assistance program, conducted by NCAT’s ATTRA Program (National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service) will be developed based on the results of this research.

The survey should take approximately 10 minutes to complete. It includes questions to gather basic information about your farm, production, and marketing practices, and your technical assistance and training needs.

Here is the link to the survey.

This survey is voluntary, but your input is critical. Your participation in this research is confidential; your responses will not be linked to your contact information in any way.

If you would prefer to complete a paper version of the survey, you can request a copy by contacting Lydia Oberholtzer, Penn State, at 301.891.­0470 or