Farm Scoop – September 2017

Need funding for your technology development project or infrastructure?

MTI offers early stage grants to entrepreneurs and companies who are developing innovative products, processes or services.

TechStart Grants of up to $5,000 can be used to conduct market research, develop a business plan, and file for patent protections. Learn more here.

Seed Grants of up to $25,000 can be used to develop a prototype, demonstrate proof of concept, and conduct field trials. Learn more here.

Who should attend? Inventors, entrepreneurs, small business owners, anyone who wants to know about early-stage funding programs and resources available for innovative technology-based ideas!

October 4, 12:00 – 2:00   Portland

October 5, 12:00 – 2:00   Bangor

October 11, 2:00 – 3:30   Webinar

MTI offers grant funds to stimulate investments in innovation capacity and infrastructure

The Maine Technology Asset Fund 2.0 provides challenge grants for infrastructure, equipment and technology upgrades for research, development and commercialization. The projects that are selected will be those that lead to applicants to hold and gain market share, increase revenues, expand employment or retain jobs. Learn more here.

Workshops for Potential Applicants

Who should attend: Potential applicants seeking clarification of the purpose of the program who need help assessing whether they might choose to apply for the Lightning Rounds

October 2, 3:00 – 4:00       Farmington

October 3, 2:00 – 3:00       Belfast

October 5, 1:00 – 2:00       Portland

October 6, 10:00 – 12:00   Caribou

Workshops for Service Providers, Business Counselors, Others working with Applicants:

Who should attend: Service providers, business counselors and other who assist clients with business planning, expansion and success. MTI will help train service providers to have a level of comfort with their understanding of the Program to offer technical assistance throughout the application process.

October 2, 2:00 – 3:00     Farmington

October 3, 9:00 – 11:00   Portland

October 3, 1:00 – 2:00     Belfast

October 5, 12:00 – 1:00   Portland

Register online

USDA Survey to Focus on Farm Labor

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will continue its biannual Agricultural Labor Survey during the second half of October. The survey will collect information about hired labor from more than 1,400 Northeastern farmers.

USDA and the U.S. Department of Labor will use statistics gathered in the Agricultural Labor Survey to establish minimum wage rates for agricultural workers, administer farm labor recruitment and placement service programs, and assist legislators in determining labor policies.

In the survey, NASS asks participants to answer a variety of questions about hired farm labor on their operations, including total number of hired farm workers, the average hours worked, and wage rates paid for the weeks of July 9-15 and October 8-14. For their convenience, survey participants have the option to respond online.

NASS will compile, analyze, and publish survey results in the November 16 Farm Labor report. All previous Farm Labor publications are available online at For more information on NASS surveys and reports, call the NASS Northeastern Regional Field Office at 800.498.1518.

Maine Farms for the Future Program, Round 17: Phase 1 – Business Plan Development (2017-2019) with potential Phase 2 – Investment Support in 2019

The State of Maine, Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Bureau of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources, is required to offer grants for business plan development (Phase 1) and investment support (Phase 2) as authorized in the Maine Farms for the Future Program (Title7, MRS Chapter 10-B).

A copy of the RFP, as well as the Question & Answer Summary and all amendments related to this RFP, can be obtained at the following website:

A Bidders Conference will be held on Wednesday, September 27, 2017 from 2:30 – 4:00 p.m. at the following location: Conference Room # 118 located in the Marquardt Building, 32 Blossom Lane, Augusta, ME, with a public entrance at Door D7.

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, Augusta, ME 04330.  Proposals must be submitted by 4:00 pm, local time, on Tuesday, October 17th, when they will be opened.  Proposals not received at the Division of Purchases’ aforementioned address by the aforementioned deadline will not be considered for contract award.

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.