Farm Scoop – January 2018

SAVE THE DATE! – 2018 Maine Grain Conference

Thursday, March 8th

Spectacular Events, Bangor, ME

Mark your calendars for the 2018 Grain Conference! Topics for this year include expanding crop options, seed production, disease management, and more. Guest speakers include:

David Mol is a pedigreed seed producer and leading grain producer in PEI. He grows wheat, fall rye, barley, flax, and soybeans on approximately 1300 acres, and also manages about 70 acres of organic barley, soybeans, and field peas. David regularly hosts research trials on him farm, is the president of the PEI Federation of Agriculture, former president of the Canadian Seed Growers, and a member of Atlantic Grains Council.  He will give an overview of his operation and talk about the grain and seed industry on PEI, adapted varieties, storage and processing considerations, and together with his organic production co-operator, Fred Dahler, their organic production practices.

Dr. Heather Darby is Agronomy Specialist with University of Vermont Extension.  She runs a diverse research and outreach program including forages, grains, pulses, oilseeds, hops, hemp, and even milkweed. Heather will speak on alternative crops, organic grain disease management, and supplying livestock feed markets.

Save Thursday, March 8th on your calendar.  Full agenda details and registration information coming soon!

In the meantime, enjoy UMaine Today’s feature article and video on Maine’s grain economy.

Perdue Announces USDA’s Farm Bill and Legislative Principles for 2018

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Bill and Legislative Principles for 2018 during a town hall at Reinford Farms in Mifflintown, Pennsylvania.

“Since my first day as the Secretary of Agriculture, I’ve traveled to 30 states, listening to the people of American agriculture about what is working and what is not. The conversations we had and the people we came across helped us craft USDA’s Farm Bill and Legislative Principles for 2018,” said Secretary Perdue. “These principles will be used as a road map – they are our way of letting Congress know what we’ve heard from the hard-working men and women of American agriculture. While we understand it’s the legislature’s job to write the Farm Bill, USDA will be right there providing whatever counsel Congress may request or require.”

Androscoggin-Sagadahoc County Farm Service Agency Announces County Committee Election Results

 Androscoggin-Sagadahoc County U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Marcia L Hall announced that County Committee elections are over and the ballots have been counted.

Adam C. Trundy of Minot was elected to represent local administrative area (LAA) #2.

“County Committee members are a critical component of the day-to-day operations of FSA,” said Hall. “They help deliver programs at the county level and work to serve the needs of local producers. All recently elected County Committee members will take office in January 2018, and will be joining the existing committee.” Every FSA office is required to have a County Committee, and they are made up of local farmers who are elected by local farmers.

For more information, visit the FSA website at or contact the Androscoggin-Sagadahoc County FSA office at 207.753.9400.

New Extension Publication

#1060 Orienting New Farm Employees: A Checklist for Maine Agricultural Employers 

Finding and keeping good employees is a common concern among many Maine farm owners. Effective training, relationship development, and communication strategies are all important components of getting off on the right foot with new employees and fostering their interest in staying for multiple seasons. This checklist is designed to assist farmers in orienting one or more employees once they’ve been hired. 

National Young Farmer’s Coalition Guidebook

The NYFC’s newest publication, is available here, Farm Service Agency Loans: The Ins and Outs of Growing a Farm with Federal Loans.

The guidebook is written specifically to help beginning farmers and ranchers navigate the credit options offered by the Farm Service Agency, and was made possible by a cooperative agreement with FSA. Find more information on NYFC’s website.

Androscoggin – Sagadahoc County Farm Service Agency Is Accepting Emergency Conservation Program Applications

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Executive Director (CED) Marcia L Hall today announced that Androscoggin County and Sagadahoc County are approved to accept applications for the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) to address damages from the severe storm on October 29, 2017. ECP signup began on January 2, 2018, and ends on March 2, 2018.

According to Hall, approved ECP practices under this authorization include: EC1 Removing Debris from Farmland, EC2 Grading, Shaping, Releveling, or Similar Measures, EC3 Restoring Permanent Fences and EC4 Restoring Conservation Structures and Other Installations.

ECP is administered by FSA to assist producers with the cost of recovery activities required to restore the agricultural land to pre-disaster conditions. Producers who sustained damage from this disaster event are encouraged to submit their request for assistance prior to beginning reconstructive work. Submitting a request after completing qualified reconstructive work may result in forfeiture of program eligibility.

FSA county committees will complete an evaluation of submitted requests and obligate available funds based on an on-site inspection of the damaged land, taking into consideration the type and extent of the eligible damage. Completion of the on-site inspection does not guarantee that cost-share funding will be allocated.

The use of obligated funds is limited to return the land to the relative pre-disaster condition. Conservation concerns that were present on the land prior to the disaster are not eligible for ECP assistance. Approved ECP applicants may receive up to 75 percent of the cost of completing the approved restoration activity.

For more information on ECP, please contact the Androscoggin-Sagadahoc County FSA office at 207.753.9400.

Perdue Announces Farm Service Agency State Committee Appointees

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced a slate of Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Committee Appointees. State committees are selected by the Secretary, serve at the pleasure of the Secretary, and are responsible for carrying out FSA’s farm programs within delegated authorities.

“The State Committees will help to ensure USDA is providing our farmers, ranchers, foresters, and agricultural producers with the best customer service,” Secretary Perdue said. “They serve as a liaison between USDA and the producers in each state across the nation by keeping them informed and hearing their appeals and complaints. The committees are made up mostly of active farmers and ranchers, representing their peers and ensuring USDA’s programs are supporting the American harvest.”

Each state committee has five members, one chairperson and four members. The individuals appointed to serve on this committee in Maine include:

Committee Chair Sue McCrum – Belfast

Gregg Garrison – Blaine

Heath Miller – Newburgh

Nancy Ricker – Turner

David Tuttle – North Berwick

State committees are appointed for a one year term which began on January 1, 2018. Each state committee has five members, one chairperson and four members. Committee lists can be found online. States that are not listed here or that have incomplete lists will be announced at a later date.

USDA to Measure Agricultural Land Values

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is encouraging agricultural operations to respond to the New England Agricultural Land Values Survey.

Agricultural land values are one of the major indicators of the financial health of the agricultural sector. The value of land and buildings accounts for the vast majority of all farm assets. Accurate land values are necessary for Federal and State deliberations on farm programs, for lending agencies (e.g. determining collateral assets), and for individual producers to determine their net worth.

This survey collects agricultural farmland values, cropland and pasture values on a per-acre basis (excluding buildings), and year-to-year percentage changes in land values. This data will be summarized in conjunction with June Area survey results to maximize precision of aggregate data.

NASS will publish the results in the August 2, 2018 Land Values publication. The publication will be available on the USDA-NASS website at