Farm Scoop – February 2018

Crop Insurance Deadline Nears in Maine

The USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) reminds Maine growers that the final date to apply for crop insurance coverage on most spring-planted crops for the 2018 crop year is March 15. Current policyholders who wish to make changes to their existing policies also have until March 15 to do so. Growers also have until March 15 to apply for coverage under the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) policy.

Federal crop insurance is critical to the farm safety net. It helps producers and owners manage revenue risks and strengthens the rural economy. Coverage for corn, forage seeding, fresh market sweet corn, green peas, potatoes, spring barley, spring oats, and spring wheat is available in select counties. Additional information can be found on the Actuarial Information Browser page on the RMA website.

Growers are encouraged to visit their crop insurance agent soon to learn specific details for the 2018 crop year. Additional crops may be eligible for coverage under a written agreement. Crop insurance coverage decisions must be made on or before the sales closing date.

Crop insurance is sold and delivered solely through private crop insurance agents. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers and online at the RMA Agent Locator. Producers can use the RMA Cost Estimator to get a premium amount estimate of their insurance needs online.

For more information about crop insurance and the modern farm safety net, visit

10 Ways to Observe National Invasive Species Awareness Week in Maine February 26 – March 2, 2018

  1. Learn how to identify invasive plants that might be growing on your property. With the leaves off the trees, now is a great time to find some invasive plants that might be otherwise hidden, such as Asiatic bittersweet vines snaking through a tree’s canopy. Take a walk through your property and flag invasive woody plants. Map your finds and plan your management tactics for each species.
  2. Are you planting this year?  Use as many native plants as possible. The UMAINE Cooperative Extension Service has a detailed list of Maine native plants for gardening or landscaping, or ask your local nursery staff for help on choosing non-invasive alternatives.
  3. Take a hike and look for signs of invasive forest insects as you go. Use this the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry guide to help. Make it a family, club or organization outing! Become a citizen scientist and report your findings to
  4. Going camping? Leave your firewood at home and prevent the spread of invasive pests. Buy firewood at the campground or go to to find other local sources.
  5. Do you live in an area that has winter moth?  Don’t dig up and share perennials/tree saplings. Winter moth pupae are hiding in the soil all summer long and will move with transplants.
  6. Stay inside and watch “Foes of the Forests: Maine’s Trees at Risk from Invasive Insects,” or participate in an invasive species webinar offered during NISAW week.
  7. Don’t release aquarium fish and plants, live bait or other exotic animals into the wild.  If you plan to own an exotic pet, do your research and make sure you can commit to its care.
  8. Learn about protecting Maine’s waterways from invasive aquatic plants. Consider joining Maine’s Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program.
  9. Like or Follow Maine Bug Watch and the Maine Invasive Species Network Facebook pages.

Spread Awareness: take your National Invasive Species Awareness Week commitment beyond this week. Tell your friends, family, neighbors and others about invasive species! It’s a big state and we can’t get the word out to everyone without your help. Encourage them to get involved with National Invasive Species Awareness Week in their own way.


Energy Efficient Farm Building Tour, Thursday, March 1

Knox-Lincoln Soil & Water Conservation District, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, and Midcoast Farmers Alliance are again offering a series of workshops for farmers and gardeners. The first program of 2018 is an open house and tour hosted by the Maine Sustainable Agriculture Society (MESAS) of a demonstration of agricultural energy and heating efficiency technology being developed through their Sustainable Year-Round Agriculture (SYRA) project at Waldoboro Business Park, 1 Pie Rd in Waldoboro at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 1. This event is free and open to the public.

The Maine Sustainable Agriculture Society (MESAS) has been working with engineers, architects and energy specialists to develop new infrastructure solutions for year-round farmers that save money on production costs. The Waldoboro facility incorporates solar technologies for electricity and heating, along with phase change materials and energy monitoring tools. The building demonstrates systems that reduce the heating and energy cost necessary to operate greenhouses, food storage facilities, dairies or any large year-round facility designed for production or storage.

Waldoboro Business Park recently contracted with Portland greenhouse design and engineering firm ArchSolar and local renewable energy firms to design and build an agricultural building in which it would be easy, environmentally friendly, and affordable to control the climate twelve months of the year. The result is a prototype quonset-style structure with integrated photovoltaic electricity and a large-scale solar heating wall that helps heat and cool the facility to a consistent temperature. The building is also equipped with “phase-change material” – a heat capture technology that works much like an ice pack in your cooler, but in reverse – that captures heat in a wall or ceiling generated and releases it slowly over time.

Join us for a tour of the facility on March 1 to see these systems at work! To register for this and upcoming workshops, please visit, call 207.596.2040, or email with your name, affiliation, and number of attendees. For more info about MESAS and their efforts to build a innovative business cluster that supports the needs of Maine farmers please visit

2-Day Meat and Poultry HACCP Course, March 15 & 16, 2018

8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
 $250.00 per person (includes notebook, Sanitation Course, and lunch) Participating in the Sanitation Course is strongly recommended as a preresquite to the HACCP Course.
 307 Maine Avenue, Bangor, ME

In this 2-day course you will learn the fundamentals of Meat and Poultry HACCP. The course provides participants with hands-on experience in developing a HACCP Plan. We welcome not only Meat and Poultry processors, but also any other food processors seeking HACCP certification and knowledge.

*This course is an International HACCP Alliance Accredited course.

Maine Vegetable & Fruit School Early Bird Deadline
Monday, February 26!

If you haven’t registered for the Maine Vegetable & Fruit Schools, there are still openings left. The schools will be held on Tuesday, March 13 at Seasons Event & Conference Center in Portland and again on Wednesday, March 14 at the Bangor Motor Inn Conference Center.

Registration information and the agenda are posted on our website, Cost for registration is $45 per person if received by February 26th, or $55 if received after February 26th, and includes lunch. Register before February 26th for the lower early bird registration fee!

Be counted in the 2017 Census of Agriculture! It’s Not Too Late

It’s not too late to be counted in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Every five years, the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) conducts the Census of Agriculture. Questionnaires were mailed to all known farmers in beginning in December 2017. NASS is following up with those that have not returned their questionnaires but farmers can still complete their questionnaires and return them by mail or complete their questionnaires on-line with NASS’s new web response tool. Reporting on-line saves time, is user-friendly, calculates totals automatically, and skips questions not applicable to your operation.

“It’s important for all farmers to be counted” according to Gary Keough, NASS State Statistician for the New England States. “NASS will begin following up with those that have not completed their The Census of Agriculture is the only source of uniform, comprehensive and impartial agricultural data for every county in the nation. It’s a complete count of U.S. farms and the people who operate them. From small plots of urban and rural land to large farms with thousands of acres, the Census counts them all plus looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, and income and expenditures.” For Census of Agriculture purposes, a farm is any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the Census year.

Why is data like this good to have?

  1. Farmers have an opportunity to decide if they’d like to expand or diversify their operations to fill a gap that may show in the trends.
  2. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry uses the data to administer State programs.
  3. Organizations like the Maine Farm Bureau and Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association uses the data to educate legislators, local officials, and consumers about the importance of Maine agriculture to the State’s and local community’s economies.
  4. Universities like the University of Maine can identify a need in the county/state, build programs and workshops for farmers to learn about best practices and strategies, and possibly write grant proposals to benefit farmers looking to diversify and grow their operations.
  5. Agribusinesses have insight to where particular farm machinery or processing facilities are needed to address farmers’ needs.

If you didn’t receive a questionnaire please contact Gary Keough at 603.227.3129 or email at

Be counted – Take the Questionnaire

Need Pesticide Recertification Credit? There are several upcoming events!


  • Maine Vegetable and Fruit Schools
  • Southern Aroostook County SWCD Winter Ag Schools
  • 2018 Wild Blueberry Spring Meetings & Field Days
  • and many additional options

For details on these events and many other upcoming credit opportunities visit the Board of Pesticides Control credit calendar 

If you have any questions please contact the Board of Pesticides Control at 207.287.2731or

For more information about the Board of Pesticides Control visit:

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN! – 2018 Maine Grain Conference

Thursday, March 8th

The annual Maine Grain Conference is a day-long event that features topics related to the commercial production and processing of small grains, pulses, and oilseeds for food and feed markets.  This year’s conference will focus on alternative crops and markets, seed production, and disease management, with additional talks on cultivation, green manures, and variety trials. Guest speakers include, among others:

David Mol, a pedigreed seed producer and leading grain producer in PEI. David grows wheat, fall rye, barley, flax, and soybeans on approximately 1300 acres, and manages about 70 acres of organic barley, soybeans, and field peas. David regularly hosts research trials on his farm, is the president of the PEI Federation of Agriculture, former president of the Canadian Seed Growers, and a member of the 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 organic production.

David will be joined by Alan Miller who will talk about his work with the Atlantic Grains Council determining research needs, coordinating research, and seeking funding.

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

For complete agenda click here.


Click here to Register Online

To register by phone and for registration questions, call Terri Eldridge at 207.581.3878.

No refunds can be offered for registrations made by check OR after March 6, 2018.

 For questions regarding the conference, contact Ellen Mallory at or 207.581.2942.

March 15 Deadline for Crop Insurance Approaching

When February rolls around you may be thinking about taxes, seed orders, and other prep for the spring season. One additional yet important item to consider is that the deadline to enroll spring-seeded crops in crop insurance for 2018 is nearing. Farmers must meet with a crop insurance agent by March 15 in order to purchase crop insurance or change existing coverage on crops such as sweet corn, field corn, small grains, potato, etc. How do you know if you need crop insurance? One way to help determine this is by answering a few basic questions about your risks and your farm business.

What are your risks and do you have ways to manage them?

Planning for the weather in all its possible forms is challenging but having various risk management strategies in place is the best way to reduce the impact of a loss. If you don’t have a good way to address certain weather risks or one of your approaches falls short, a safety net such as crop insurance is a way to guarantee you’ll have some baseline protection in the event of adverse conditions.

If there is a crop failure how will this affect the business?

How much of your livelihood is derived from your crops? How much do you have invested in your farm? A crop insurance indemnity will never compensate the farmer for the full market value of a crop but it could reduce the financial impact of a loss. The buy-up levels of coverage provide between 50 – 85% protection of your average crop yield or revenue whereas catastrophic or CAT coverage is the lowest level of coverage, protecting 50% of the average crop yield and pays at 55% of the price election.

What are the options? Learn more!

A list of agents can be found using the agent locator tool: – /. If you’re not producing an insurable crop, contact your local Farm Service Agency about the Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP). The NAP program works similar to crop insurance but is available for most crops that farmers cannot get multi-peril crop insurance on, for example, pumpkins, tomatoes, etc. The NAP program also has a March 15 enrollment deadline.

More Information

For more information about policies visit the UMaine Risk Management and Crop Insurance website at Contact Crop Insurance Education Program Manager Erin Roche ( or 207.949.2490).

2018-2019 New England Vegetable Management Guide Available

Copies of the 2018-2019 New England Vegetable Management Guide are now available at Highmoor Farm. The guide contains the latest information on management control options for the major vegetable pests as well as scouting information. This guide has been significantly revised and updated. We recommend all earlier editions of the guide be discarded, in favor of this latest edition.

Cost of the guide is $25.00 plus $3.68 postage for a total of $28.68. To order the guides, please send your check made payable to UMaine Cooperative Extension mailed to:  Highmoor Farm, P.O. Box 179, Monmouth, Maine 04259, atten. Pam St. Peter. For more information, contact Pam St. Peter at 933.2100 or

Members of the Maine Vegetable & Small Fruit Growers Association (MVSFGA) or the New England Vegetable & Berry Growers Association receive free copies of the guides. For MVSFGA membership information, contact Bill Jordan at 207.799.1040.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue unveils at a breakfast hosted by the Michigan Farm Bureau.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today unveiled, the new interactive one-stop website for producers maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). is now live but will have multiple features added over the coming months to allow agricultural producers to make appointments with USDA offices, file forms, and apply for USDA programs. The website, launched at a breakfast hosted by the Michigan Farm Bureau, gathers together the three agencies that comprise USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation mission area: the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Risk Management Agency.