Farm Scoop – December 2017

An Introduction to Growing Grapes in Maine

Thursday, January 11, 2018, 10:30 AM to 3:00 PM

This school is designed to help people who are interested in small scale grape production as a commercial enterprise. Interest in grape growing in Maine is expanding as demand for locally grown produce expands and new, hardier varieties of grapes are being introduced. Basic site requirements, site preparation, plant selection, care of young plants, trellising and pruning options, nutrient management, and pest management will be discussed with Dr. David Handley, Vegetable and Small Fruit Specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Dr. Terence Bradshaw, Tree Fruit & Viticulture Specialist, University of Vermont.

The school will be held in the Arnold/Howard Rooms at the Augusta Civic Center during the Maine Agricultural Trades Show, which runs January 9-11 so participants will have an opportunity to come early and spend some time looking at the supplies, equipment and services on exhibit that are available to help them with grape and other agricultural enterprises. Admission to the Trades Show is free.

A registration fee of $25.00 will be charged for participation in the Grape Workshop and space is limited, so preregistration is strongly advised. Please register by January 5, 2018. Participants will be provided with the publication “Growing Grapes in Wisconsin” for an excellent reference companion to the workshop. Cash and checks will be accepted at the registration table; checks should be made out to “University of Maine Cooperative Extension.”

Participants may receive 3 Pesticide Applicator recertification credits for attending the entire workshop.

Register online at or contact Pam St. Peter at or 207.933.2100 to preregister before January 5, 2018.

Kansas State University Extension Specialists Share Tips for Managing Livestock in Winter

Livestock producers are entering a time of year that, because of winter weather, can often be challenging for maintaining the health of their herds, but a host of management steps and best practices can help to get the animals through the tough times. Read more here.

Join AgrAbility for a three-day web conference addressing issues of disability in agriculture – January 23-25, 2018

The AgrAbility Virtual National Training Workshop (VNTW) is a series of six, one-hour webinars conducted over three days. For session descriptions and more information, visit

The preliminary schedule is:

Tuesday, January 23

11:00 a.m. EST: Updates from NIFA on AgrAbility and Related Programs – Aida Balsano, USDA/NIFA

3:00 p.m. EST: Mental Health, Suicide Risk, and Establishing Community Supports – Cheryl Long, RN

Wednesday, January 24

11:00 a.m. EST: USDA: Connecting Veterans to Resources – Stefanie Pidgeon, USDA

3:00 p.m. EST: Improving Farm Home Accessibility, Safety, and Use of Space – Carla Wilhite, University of New Mexico

Thursday, January 25

11:00 a.m. EST: Using the VA Accelerator Program to Help Farmer Veterans with Disabilities – Phillip Selleh, Veterans Administration and Desma Brooks, Farmer Veteran

3:00 p.m. EST: Beekeeping Assistive Technology – Ned Stoller, Michigan AgrAbility

A question & answer period is scheduled for each presentation.

To participate in any of these free webinars, click here to access the online registration form by Friday, January 19. Instructions for accessing the session will be sent to registrants by Monday, January 22. Please pass on this invitation to others you believe may be interested. Contact AgrAbility at 800.825.4264, visit, or email if you have questions.

USDA Approves Emergency Forest Restoration Assistance for Androscoggin and Sagadahoc Counties

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Executive Director (CED Marcia Hall today announced that Androscoggin County is approved to accept applications for the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) to address damages due to high wind and rain from the severe storm on October 29, 2017.

EFRP provides payments to eligible owners of nonindustrial private forest (NIPF) land to enable the owners to carry out emergency measures to restore land damaged by a natural disaster. EFRP signup will begin on January 2, 2018, and end on March 2, 2018.

After applications are received, Maine Forest Service will provide technical assistance by evaluating the damage and developing a plan to restore the NIPF land. The local FSA county committee will determine land eligibility and approve applications.

In order to meet eligibility requirements, NIPF land must have existing tree cover or had tree cover immediately before the natural disaster occurred and be sustainable for growing trees. The land must also be owned by any nonindustrial private individual, group, association, corporation or other private legal entity that has definitive decision-making authority over the land. The natural disaster must have resulted in damage that if untreated would impair or endanger the natural resources on the land and/or materially affect future use of the land.

Please contact the Androscoggin County FSA office at 207.753.9400 ext. 2 for more information or visit The Androscoggin County FSA office is located at 254 Goddard Rd in Lewiston 04240.

77th Annual Agricultural Trades Show

Augusta Civic Center, January 9-11, 2018

This three-day event offers many opportunities to earn pesticide recertification credits.

View the sessions offering recertification credits.

There will also be Core training and exams for Private and Agricultural Basic Applicator licenses on January 9. Pre-registration required. Details & sign-up.

For more information about the Board of Pesticides Control visit:

USDA Seeks Applications for $10 Million in Conservation Innovation Grants

Grant proposals are due February 26, 2018

Introduction to QuickBooks Pro™ for Farmers

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 – 9 a.m.-12 noon • University of Maine Cooperative Extension, 307 Maine Avenue, Bangor

Thursday, February 8, 2018 – 9 a.m.-12 noon • UMaine Extension, 75 Clearwater Drive #104, Falmouth

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 – 9 a.m.-12 noon • UMaine Extension, 63 Boggy Brook Road, Ellsworth

This free workshop is for farmers who are first-time users of QuickBooks or with less than one year’s experience. The presenters, QuickBooks ProAdvisors from Austin Associates, will introduce the basics of QuickBooks Pro including setting up a chart of accounts, customers, vendor bills and bank reconciliation. The last hour is for optional one-on-one assistance with a ProAdvisor.

Pre-registration is required. Class is limited to 15. To register or request a disability accommodation, contact Pamela St. Peter, 207.933.9700.

Sponsored by UMaine Extension Crop Insurance Education Program.

Participants will be entered in a drawing to win a limited number of QuickBooks Pro™ subscriptions.

Farming in new weather reality focus of panel discussion

All farmers are invited to a panel discussion and networking event about farming in a new weather reality 1:50–4 p.m. Jan. 9 in the Hancock Room of the Augusta Civic Center, 76 Community Drive.

The session will open with a panel of experienced Maine crop and livestock farmers who will discuss how changes in weather patterns have affected their operation, how they have adjusted, and needs for coping better in the future. Ellen Mallory, a University of Maine School of Food and Agriculture associate professor and UMaine Extension sustainable agriculture specialist, will moderate the session.

All farmers are encouraged to share their own experiences, strategies, and needs during an open discussion. Service providers and policymakers will describe what resources are currently available in Maine to help farmers manage issues related to weather.

The free panel and discussion will be held during the Maine Agricultural Trades Show. One pesticide credit will be offered. The event is sponsored by the UMaine Climate and Agriculture Network and Maine Sustainable Agriculture Society.

For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact Mallory at 207.581.2942,

An Introduction to Growing Grapes in Maine

Thursday, January 11, 2018   10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Maine Agricultural Trades Show, Augusta Civic Center

This school is designed to help people who are interested in small scale grape production as a commercial enterprise. Interest in grape growing in Maine is expanding as demand for locally grown produce expands and new, hardier varieties of grapes are being introduced. Basic site requirements, site preparation, plant selection, care of young plants, trellising and pruning options, nutrient management, and pest management will be discussed with Dr. David Handley, Vegetable and Small Fruit Specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Dr. Terence Bradshaw, Tree Fruit & Viticulture Specialist, University of Vermont.

A registration fee of $25.00 will be charged for participation in the Grape Workshop and space is limited, so preregistration is strongly advised. Please register by January 5, 2018. Participants will be provided with the publication “Growing Grapes in Wisconsin” for an excellent reference companion to the workshop. Cash and checks will be accepted at the registration table; checks should be made out to “University of Maine Cooperative Extension.”

Participants may receive 3 Pesticide Applicator recertification credits for attending the entire workshop.

Register online at or contact Pam St. Peter at or 207.933.2100 to preregister before January 5, 2018.

Forum: Growing Farm Friendly Communities, January 18, 2018

How to create municipal agricultural commissions & other tools to support farms in your town

9-11a.m. Windham Town Hall, 8 School Street, Windham Maine

Hear community & municipal leaders share policy approaches and practical ideas for ways communities and farmers can benefit from working together. Stephanie Gilbert, Farm Viability & Farmland Protection Specialist with the Maine Dept. of Agriculture, Conservation, & Forestry will moderate this panel discussion, followed by ample time for audience Q&A and networking.

$15 GrowSmart Maine & Maine Farmland Trust Members || $25 General Public

Register Online & See More information:

Join the event on Facebook & invite your friends:

BFRN National Tractor ROPS Rebate Program

As you all know, tractors are a central, nearly essential tool for our Maine farmers. Both beginning and experienced farmers are commonly using older tractors that do not have a Roll-Over Protective Structure (ROPS) installed on them. Beginning farmers are at a particular risk when using this equipment, as they do not generally have the tractor operating experience that is critical for safe operation. In the case of a tractor roll over, these ROPS can save lives.

I have been working with the Maine Farm Bureau, DACF, State Legislators, and the National Tractor Safety Coalition to create a ROPS rebate program here in Maine. This program will cover 70% of the cost of retrofitting ROPS systems on older tractors. The program is still in the development phases, however, in the mean time, the farmers who you work with can get on the waiting list for the national ROPS Rebate Program that is headed up by the National Tractor Safety Coalition. Their website with info about the program and how to apply is here.

Contact Jason Lilley if you have any questions about the program.

Record keeping help available to Maine farmers

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Farm Service Agency (FSA) are partnering to provide free assistance to Maine farmers who would like to build on their ability to keep production and/or financial records. The goal of the project is to work with farmers one-on-one to help them evaluate and improve their current record keeping system or help them to implement a new record keeping system. The project began in August and will last 11 months. The goal is to work with at least 15 farms one-on-one across the state of Maine. I believe the winter months are likely the best time of year for farmers to evaluate their record keeping methods and system

I have been hired as an agriculture record keeping professional to manage the program.  I can be contacted at or by phone at 207.735.3244.

Get your Respirator Fit Test Done at the 2018 Ag. Trades Show

Under the revised Worker Protection Standards, anyone applying pesticides that require the use of a respirator, must complete (and maintain a record of) a respirator fit test. Respirator fit tests must be completed with the same make, model, size, and style of respirator that will be used in the field. Prior to respirator fit testing, each applicator must pass (and maintain a record of) a medical evaluation demonstrating they are physically fit enough to wear a respirator.

Join us at the Augusta Civic Center on Monday, January 8 (the day before the Ag. Trades Show) to get your respirator fit test done. Pre-registration is required. Registration costs $10.

Prior to your appointment:

At your fit test appointment:

  • Bring your medical evaluation clearance form. You will not be fit-tested without it.
  • Bring the respirator that you use in the field. Each person should have his or her own respirator.
  • If the respirator you bring does not pass the fit test, you may have to purchase a new respirator with a better fit.
  • Beards cannot be worn with tight fitting facemasks. Please shave before coming to your fit test.

With questions about respirator fit testing or other Worker Protection Standard regulations, contact Amanda Couture or 207.287.2731at the Maine Board of Pesticides Control.

Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry Seeks Proposals for FY18 Agricultural Development Grants

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Division of Agricultural Resource Development, is seeking proposals for the FY2018 Agricultural Development Grant Program. In accordance with State procurement practices, the Department is hereby announcing the publication of a Request for Proposals (RFP# 201711189) for proposals from qualified applicants.

The 119th Legislature authorized an Agricultural Development Fund (7 M.R.S.A., Chapter 10 §306A – 309). The Legislature identified the agricultural industry need for accelerating new market development, adoption of improved technology and promotion of agricultural products produced in Maine.

The Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry may allocate the grant funds among projects involving market research, market promotion, or a combination of those activities for the purpose of expanding existing markets and developing new markets for agricultural products produced in Maine; or for testing and demonstrating new technologies related to the production, storage or processing of State agricultural products. All submitted proposals need to be for projects which demonstrate readiness and that can be commenced immediately upon acceptance.

The Department has $250,000 available and may select multiple projects with maximum amounts of up to $50,000 per award.

The Commissioner has established priorities for this RFP. Proposals that incorporate one or more of the following priorities will be considered more favorably in the evaluation process:

  1. Technological and/or process improvements that demonstrate profitability of Maine grown crops, or result in reduction of costs associated with drought or other natural crop disturbances for Maine farmers.
  2. Product enhancements for value added, nutrition, marketing and/or food safety.
  3. Alternative markets or diversification; examples could be: participation in national or regional commodity events, special merchandising activities, expanded farm stands, or rural educational tours.
  4. Development or expansion of livestock processing.

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:

Proposals must be submitted to the State of Maine Division of Procurement Services by 4:00 p.m. on January 4, 2018.

Exotic Tick Species Identified on Hunterdon County Farm

New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher today announced the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa has confirmed the finding of an exotic East Asian tick, also known as the longhorned tick or bush tick, on a farm in Hunterdon County on November 9. This tick is not known to be present in the U.S., although there are records of at least a dozen previous collections of this species in the country on animals and materials presented for entry at U.S. ports.

This tick is a serious pest to livestock (including cattle, horses, farmed deer, sheep, and goats), particularly in New Zealand, as well as wildlife, pets, and humans. Farmers should monitor their livestock for the presence of this tick and decreased growth rates or signs of anemia in the animals. With respect to livestock, the tick is known to transmit a disease called Theileriosis to cattle, which results in severe anemia and possibly death. There are no human health or food safety risks associated with Theileria. This tick also has the potential to spread other bacterial and viral diseases to humans and other animals.

The potential impact of this tick on tickborne illness in New Jersey residents is not yet known. In other parts of the world, the bush tick has been associated with several tickborne diseases, some of which are found in New Jersey, such as spotted fever rickettsioses. The Department of Agriculture is investigating if the ticks found locally are carrying any potential pathogens that may impact human or animal health.

Some tick species may become less active in the winter; however, it is important to take steps to prevent tick bites whenever you are in areas where ticks may be found. Protect yourself, your family and your pets from tick bites.

This tick is a known pest in deer and has a wide host range, thus can infect a range of wildlife species. If the tick is detected in wildlife, then it should be immediately reported to the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife, Bureau of Wildlife Management at 609.984.6295 or the Office of Fish and Wildlife Health and Forensics at 908. 637.4173 ext. 120.

For questions about tickborne illness in humans, contact your local health department ( or the New Jersey Department of Health during normal business hours at 609.826.5964

get real. get Maine! Producer Buying Opportunities – One-on-One Meetings. Sign up for the 3rd Annual Wholesale Meet-Up Day!

When: Monday, January 8th, 2018 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Where: Augusta Civic Center – 76 Community Drive, Augusta, ME 04330

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry is hosting the third annual Wholesale Meet-up Day, this year has been opened for any get real. get Maine! wholesale Producers from Maine and local Wholesale Buyers to meet one-on-one for networking, introductions and explore future sales opportunities.

We will start with a short welcome reception intended for Maine Producers to visit table top displays, where they will have the opportunity to sign up for meeting times. The remainder of the event will include short, and timed, one-on-one meetings between the buyers and producers. Service Providers will also be on-site throughout to take one-on-one meetings or answer wholesale specific questions.

This is a FREE event for all participants; however space is limited so advance participant reservation is required. If you are a Wholesale Buyer looking to connect with sources for local products, or a get real. get Maine! Producer who is currently pursuing new wholesale customers, join us for a few short hours of networking!

New get real. get Maine! members are always welcome and can sign up by visiting

All reservation requests must be received by Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018. Please note that reservations will be cut off prior to the listed deadline once capacity is reached, so sign up early.

Please confirm your attendance and lock in your reservation by simply emailing with:

  1. Name of your Organization;
  2. Indication as to whether you are participating as a Wholesale Buyer, Service Provider or get real. get Maine! Producer; and any specifics on the products you are looking specifically to buy or sell if known.
  3. Best contact information for those who will be attending as your representative(s).

All registered attendances will receive set up instructions and suggested tips on how best to prepare for this event.

Maine Food and Fiber-Related Business Survey

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension would like to measure the current and future need for an Agricultural Engineer by Maine food and fiber-related businesses (farmers, growers, and producers).  A short survey has been designed to do just this.

It is estimated that completing the survey will take approximately 5 minutes.  Please complete the survey by December 31, 2017.  Thank you in advance.

Here is the link to the short survey.

Join one of our upcoming online farming courses: Climate Smart Farming, Holistic Financial Planning, Tree Fruit Production, and more!  

The Cornell Small Farms Program offers over twenty courses to help farmers improve their technical and business skills. Students connect with other farmers, work on farm plans, and gain practical tips without leaving their home. Course content can be accessed anywhere with a high-speed internet connection.

Most courses are six weeks long. Each week features an evening webinar and follow-up readings, videos, and activities. Students and their instructors connect through online forums and live chat. If you aren’t able to attend the webinars in real-time, they are always recorded for later viewing.

New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference

When: Tuesday, December 12 to Thursday, December 14, 2017

Where: Radisson Hotel, 700 Elm St, Manchester, NH 03101

The New England Vegetable & Fruit Conference and Trade Show will include more than 25 educational sessions over 3 days, covering major vegetable, berry and tree fruit crops as well as various special topics. A Farmer to Farmer meeting after each morning and afternoon session will bring speakers and farmers together for informal, in-depth discussion on certain issues. There is also an extensive Trade Show with over 120 exhibitors. We hope that you will enjoy your time here, and meet with fellow growers, advisors, researchers, and industry representatives. We want you to leave with new ideas and new information that will have a positive impact on your farm.

Full conference brochure and registration and accommodation information here: Rooms in main hotel are sold out, but nearby hotels are available—book soon!

Water Use Survey

Thanks to all of you who have already filled out the UVM Extension/UMass Amherst Extension survey on Whole Farm Water Use! For those of you who have not, we encourage you to take 10 minutes to do so. We really value your input! To plan this work to best meet your needs we want to know more about your current practices, and your concerns. Thank you!:

How to enroll a diversified veggie & fruit farm in Whole Farm Revenue Protection Crop Insurance

A revenue-protection policy for diversified farms

Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) is a crop insurance policy that protects a farm’s adjusted gross revenue from production losses or decline in market prices due to natural causes. WFRP acts as an umbrella policy because revenue from multiple crops, livestock, and nursery products is insurable. Farmers must furnish a fair amount of records to the crop insurance agent to enroll in this policy. The purpose of this factsheet is to explain the required records so that farmers can understand the policy and prepare for a meeting with a crop insurance agent.

Locating a crop insurance agent

 The deadline to enroll in WFRP is March 15, 2018 for insurance during the 2018 growing season, but farmers should begin the sign-up process with a crop insurance agent well in advance of the deadline to ensure coverage. Having your farm records organized before you meet with an agent is favorable.

Locate a crop insurance agent using the online agent locator tool: (

(Click on “RMA Agent Locator”. On next page, enter your location in box at top left, and in “Licensed in” box on right, click on Maine in the drop-down menu. Adjust other filters as desired, then click on blue “Search” box.)

More Information

Visit the UMaine Risk Management and Crop Insurance website at:

Contact Crop Insurance Education Program Manager Erin Roche or 207.949.2490