Farm Scoop – June 2017

June 30 Deadline for Census of Agriculture

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. The information produced by the Census of Agriculture guides Congress, agribusiness, policymakers, researchers, local governments and many others on the creation and funding of agricultural programs and services – decisions that can directly impact your local operations and the future of the agriculture industry for years to come.

Please note that new farmers or existing farmers who have not participated in a prior Census of Agriculture still have time to sign up to be counted through the end of June at https://www.agcounts.usda.gov/cgi-bin/counts/.  The survey takes less than a minute – and will ensure that you receive a Census form (that you can fill out in paper form or online).  If a farmer/rancher is not on our list frame by June 30th, 2017, the producer will not have an opportunity to participate in the 2017 Census of Agriculture.

For more information about the census, please visit www.agcensus.usda.gov, follow NASS on Twitter @usda_nass, or call 800.727.9540.


July 6, 2017 – Soil Health Research Twilight Tour

When: Thursday, July 6, 2017

Time: 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM (registration starts at 4:15 PM)

Where: UMaine Rogers Research Farm, 914 Bennoch Road, Old Town, ME

Cost: FREE! and no pre-registration required

Pesticide Credits Available: 1

CCA Credits Available: 2.5

Refreshments provided on site.

SOIL HEALTH is the theme this year. Topics will include:

  • Soil health tests and demonstrations
  • Opportunities to reduce tillage in potato-grain rotations
  • Undersowing cover crops in small grains: Beyond red clover and fall plowing
  • Nurse cropping to prevent erosion in potatoes
  • Can soil health reduce the negative impacts of weather variability on crops?
  • Selecting winter rye varieties for different uses: cover cropping, mulching, or grain
  • Band sowing and cultivation to control weeds in small grains and other crops

July 21, 2017 – Produce Safety Training Available to Maine Growers

Kennebec County Soil & Water Conservation District, in collaboration with the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, AgMatters LLC, and University of Maine Cooperative Extension, will be hosting a Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training on Friday, July 21, 2017, in Augusta, ME.  The training is scheduled from 9:00am-6:00pm and will be held at the Maine Forest Products Council Building, located at 535 Civic Center Drive in Augusta.  Cost to attend is $10, or $25 for the training and lunch. Enrollment is limited to 25 attendees so please register early.  Registration closes on July 14th.

For more information and to obtain a copy of the registration form, please visit: http://www.maine.gov/dacf/qar/fsma/


June 28, 2017 – FREE Farm Finances Webinar: Crafting a Simple Balance Sheet

1:00-2:00 p.m. Central TimeDiscover the power of the balance sheet in this live webinar. In collaboration with the Land Stewardship Project, The Land Connection will walk participants through the various components of a balance sheet, how to interpret each line, and ways that a balance sheet is useful to your farm business.

If you can’t make it live, check back for the posted recording. See more and register at: http://thelandconnection.org/farmers/field-days-and-workshops/farm-finances-webinar


Host a Better Field Day

You’ve done some interesting work: You had a great idea, tried it on your farm and got surprising results. Now, you want to share those results with other farmers and ranchers. The only problem is, you’re busy and constantly pressed for time. Who has time to plan a field day? Thankfully, SARE’s new Farmer Field Day Toolkit is here to take off some of the pressure and get the right tools and tips into your hands.


New Bulletin – Pecking and Cannibalism by Hens

#2113 Pecking and Cannibalism by Hens: How to Stop It?


USDA Farm Service Agency County Committee Nomination Period Begins June 15

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today that the nomination period for local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees begins on Thursday, June 15, 2017.

County committees are made up of farmers and ranchers elected by other producers in their communities to guide the delivery of farm programs at the local level. Committee members play a critical role in the day-to-day operations of FSA. Committees consist of three to 11 members and meet once a month or as needed to make important decisions on disaster and conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan programs, county office employment and other agricultural issues.  Members serve three-year terms. Nationwide there are over 7,700 farmer and ranchers serving on FSA county committees.

To become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign an FSA-669A nomination form. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections. All nomination forms for the 2017 election must be postmarked or received in the local FSA office by Aug. 1, 2017.  Locate your local office at https://offices.usda.gov and visit to get more information.


Save the Date — Farm Business Planning Class Starting Nov. 2017

The Maine Farms for the Future Program has contracted Jed Beach of FarmSmart Business Services to co-develop, administer, and instruct an agricultural business planning course.

Agricultural business owners who register (later this summer) will attend 6 day-long sessions on Wednesdays:  11/29, 12/13, 1/24, 2/7, and 2/21 at the KVCC facilities at Goodwill Hinckley Farm site in Fairfield; and one session on Monday, 1/8,  at the Trades Show in Augusta.

The course fee will be approximately $250. This course will run on a this cycle each year for the next 5 years. Our goal is to recruit 20 farms and 4 KVCC students each year.

The course is geared to assist farms that have been in operation for two or more years. However, we have created a format to ensure that beginning farmers will also benefit. We will use the NxLevelTMTilling the Soil of Opportunity curriculum and will include many Service Providers as guest speakers and panelists. We will also encourage the class participants to do a lot of networking with one another.

On-line registration will begin in August.


farmer on tractor in fieldCrop Insurance Survey for Maine Growers

The Maine Risk Management and Crop Insurance Education Program is seeking the following input from farmers about the Federal crop insurance program. This online survey should take 10 minutes to complete and responses will be anonymous. Visit the survey.


Open Maine Alpaca Association Meeting, June 10, 2017

Maine Alpaca Association logoAt the Great Wall Buffet in Augusta from 11:30 – 1:30.

Lunch Buffet: Members $8 and Guests $13.

Guest Speaker, Dr. Gary Anderson, Ph.D., from the University of Maine, Cooperative Extension, will be sharing information on keeping our animals safe. BIOSECURITY for your FARM. This applies to all farm animals — not just alpacas!

If you would like to join us, simply RSVP to mainealpacaassociation@gmail.com.


FSMA Required Records and Record TemplatesUnder the Food Safety

Under the Food Safety Modernization Act non-exempt farms must maintain records of several aspects of the farm. These records include management of compost, test results of irrigation and wash water, training of employees, and more. The Produce Safety Alliance has compiled a list of these required records with details about each, and templates to use for keeping records on your farm. See the PSA fact sheet (PDF). Click for printable versions of the templates (Word).