Farm Scoop – September 2017

3rd Annual Maine Farmland Access Conference

Maine Farmland Trust and Land For Good are pleased to announce that the 3rd Annual Maine Farmland Access Conference will be held Monday, December 4, 2017 at the Augusta Civic Center in Augusta, Maine. The organizers are seeking proposals for conference breakout sessions. Potential themes and topics can address a diverse array of issues relating to farmland access, tenure, transfer, viability, and protection in Maine and the region. The audience for the conference will include farmland seekers, non-farming and institutional landowners, farmers contemplating succession and transfer, and service providers.

More information and the proposal submission form can be found here: . Submission deadline is October 2, 2017. Contact Andrew Marshall, with questions or comments.

2018 AgrAbility National Training Workshop – March 19-22, 2018

Join us in Portland, Maine on March 19-22, 2018 for the AgrAbility National Training Workshop, the premier training event addressing issues of disability in agriculture. Professionals and consumers from all over the country will participate in four days of plenary sessions, breakouts, tours, networking, and special events. This year’s conference

headquarters is the Westin Portland Harborview Hotel in downtown Portland.

For more info visit:

Connecting Health Insurance and Agricultural Viability: Helping farmers and ranchers address health-related risks.

Day: October 10, 2017
Time: 1:30-3:30 ET
Free. Register online.

Health, access to care and health insurance affect the vitality of agricultural enterprises and farm and ranch families, according to results from a national research project funded by the USDA. Designed for Extension, tax, loan, health and other agricultural advisors, this webinar will provide an overview of the research findings and introduce some practical tools that educators and advisors can use to help farmers and ranchers make informed decisions for their businesses and households.

Participants will leave the webinar with:

  • An understanding of the intersection of health and agricultural business viability, grounded in 2016-2017 national research findings;
  • Tools they can use in their work farmers, including worksheets, videos and other informational resources.
  • Questions to ask farmers and ranchers to help incorporate health costs into farm enterprise and risk management planning.

Hosted by Scott Loveridge (North Central Regional Center for Rural Development); the webinar will include presentations from Shoshanah Inwood (The Ohio State University), Bonnie Braun (University of Maryland Extension), and Bob Parsons and Jake Jacobs (University of Vermont Extension).

For more information, please email Katlyn.Morris@uvm.eduTo request a disability-related accommodation to participate in this program, please contact September 19, so we may assist you.

The project was supported by the Agricultural and Food Research Initiative Competitive Program of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), grant number 2015-2014-05623.

Apply now to be a MOFGA Journeyperson! – Next deadline Monday, October 2

MOFGA’s Journeyperson Program is designed to provide new farmers with the education, technical support, and close mentorship critical to successfully bridging the transition from apprentice/farm worker to independent farmer.

Participants in MOFGA’s Journeyperson Program receive a 2-year package of free hands-on training, technical support and mentorship from some of Maine’s best organic farmers and experts. 93% of participants in MOFGA’s JP Program over the past decade are still farming today—a success rate twice that of the average new farm business. JPs also earn 22% more income than the typical new farmer in Maine.

JP Benefits include:

  • $500 annual educational stipend
  • Free access to more than 50 educational workshops, trainings, and conferences
  • Pairing with a paid farmer-mentor of your choice
  • Access to the MOFGA Farm Beginnings® intensive whole-farm & business planning course
  • Personal technical assistance from MOFGA staff
  • Assistance with land access and tenure issues through partnerships with Land For Good and Maine Farmland Trust
  • Discounts on seeds and supplies
  • Access to Shared Use Farm Equipment Pool
  • A supportive and active network of new and established farmers

To Apply:

  • Next deadline: Monday, October 2, 2017
  • Download an application: or call 207.568.6018 for a paper copy
  • For more details, contact: | 207.568.6018 |

BFRN Survey for Farmers about Communication and Decision Making

Extension and Volunteers of America Northern New England are embarking on an exciting program for 2018 to offer coaching for farm families on a variety of topics: communication, decision making, goal setting, farm transfer, and more.

We are hoping to gain some insight about what would be of interest for our program next year!

Survey link: Please complete the survey by September 29.

MOFGA Farm Beginnings

This a farmer-led program to help guide those with a strong commitment to creating a sustainable farm business achieve their goals. Designed for farmers with at least one year of production experience, this series of intensive workshops will help you to develop a whole farm plan through realistic goal setting, reflection, and assessment of your resources, skills, and markets – and gives you the business planning tools necessary to successfully implement your plan. The course was originally developed to support participants in the MOFGA Journeyperson Program but enrollment is open to any farm looking to apply whole farm planning and financial management tools to their operation.

To apply please visit this link

2017-2018 Course Schedule

The 2017-2018 Farm Beginnings course will consist of 7 six-hour sessions, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Sundays from mid-October through early March, a number of shorter workshops at the January Agricultural Trades Show in Augusta, and a workshop with Julia Shanks, author of “The Farmers’ Office” in February. Each of the six-hour sessions is farmer-led and professionally facilitated with course material covered through a combination of classroom presentations, group discussions, guest speakers and panels, as well as guided readings and exercises.

This year the course will be offered in two locations: at MOFGA in Unity, and in Portland. Up to three of the sessions will take place jointly in Unity. The 2017-2018 schedule of dates and session topics can be found here.