Farm Scoop – March 2018

Keeping small ruminants healthy with UMaine Extension

Keeping sheep, goats, alpacas and other small ruminants healthy is the focus of an April 14 workshop from 1–3 p.m. at the Foxcroft Veterinary Clinic, 1441 Dexter Road, Dover-Foxcroft.

Sponsored by University of Maine Cooperative Extension, topics include what is considered normal for specific animals, including nutrition, vaccination schedules, deworming, foot care and basic veterinary care. Dr. Catarina Ruksznis, a large-animal veterinarian in Vermont, will lead the workshop. Ruksznis is originally from Dover-Foxcroft.

Live demonstrations will be held in the barn. Participants must dress for the weather and wear shoes that can be disinfected on-site.

The workshop is free; registration is requested. Register online. Youth under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

For more information or to request a disability accommodation contact 207.564.3301 or More information also is available online.

USDA to Measure Fruit and Berry Production

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will conduct its end of season surveys for 2017 fruit and berry production beginning in April 2018. The surveys will collect information about acres, production and prices from more than 3,000 growers in the Northeastern region of the United States.

In these survey, NASS asks participants to answer a variety of questions about apples, blueberries, cherries (tart), cranberries, grapes, peaches, and pears; depending on state and version of the questionnaire. For their convenience, survey participants have the option to respond online. As with all NASS surveys, information provided by respondents is confidential by law. NASS safeguards the confidentiality of all responses and publishes only state and national level data, ensuring that no individual producer or operation can be identified.

NASS will compile, analyze, and publish survey results in the June 26, 2018 Noncitrus Fruit and Nuts Report. All previous Noncitrus Fruit and Nuts publications are available online at For more information on NASS surveys and reports, call the NASS Northeastern Regional Field Office at 1.800.498.1518.

Food Safety for Midcoast Farmers – FREE

Thursday, March 29 from  5:30 – 7:00pm

Knox-Lincoln Extension, 377 Manktown Rd, Waldoboro

FMI or to register: 596-2040 or

Join Jason Lilley, UMaine Extension Sustainable Farming Professional, to learn about on-farm hazards that may lead to food-borne illness & the practices that all farmers can implement to minimize risks. Lilley also will discuss the basics of the Food Safety Modernization Act and who must comply, but this program does not meet required FSMA training standards.

This program is part of the 2018 Farmer and Gardener Workshop Series, co-sponsored by Knox-Lincoln Soil & Water Conservation District, Maine Coast Heritage Trust & Midcoast Farmers Alliance as part of.

For information about all programs in the series, visit

UMaine Grain Webinar – Expanding Crop Options and Markets

Friday, March 23, 2018 – 1:00 – 2:30pm

1.5 Certified Crop Advisor and 1 pesticide credit have been requested for this event

Due the snowstorm on March 8th, our annual Maine Grain Conference had to be cancelled but a number of our speakers agreed to give shortened versions of their talks for this webinar focused on “Expanding Crop Options and Markets.”  Please join us to hear about:

Scaling Up Production of Promising Crops in Maine

Jake Dyer, Maine Potato Board – Jake will discuss past research results and introduce a new project to develop best management practices for pulse and oilseed crops in Maine.

PEIs Evolving Field Crop Industry

Alan Miller, Atlantic Grains Council, Prince Edward Island – Alan will describe trends in field crop markets and production in PEI and the work of the Atlantic Grains Council, including their coordinated on-farm research trials

Lessons Learned in Vermont

Heather Darby, Agronomy Specialist, University of Vermont – Heather will talk about experiences in Vermont with dry beans, sunflowers, flax, and more.

Connecting with Livestock Markets

Rick Kersbergen, University of Maine Cooperative Extension – Rick will discuss considerations for producing and marketing grain for livestock feed.


You can join by phone or computer.

By Computer

We’ll be using a video conferencing software called “Zoom,” which you can download ahead of time (see below).  Note that when you join the meeting, your mic and video will be automatically turned off but you will be able to see and hear the meeting host and presenters and use the chat function to ask questions.

Use this link to join the meeting from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:

To download and install the Zoom Application ahead of time:

  • Go to and from the Download Center, click on the Download button under “Zoom Client For Meetings”.
  • Once the download is complete, proceed with installing the Zoom application onto your computer.

By Phone

iPhone one-tap: US: +16699006833, 921878187#  or +16465588656, 921878187#

Telephone – Dial: US: +1 669.900.6833  or +1 646.558.8656  Meeting ID: 921 878 187

International numbers available:

For questions about the webinar, contact Ellen Mallory at or 207.581.2942.

Maine Vegetable and Fruit Schools – Cancelled

The 2018 Maine Vegetable & Fruit Schools originally scheduled for March 13 in Portland and March 14 in Bangor have been cancelled due to the impending winter storm and will not be rescheduled. Registration payments will be fully refunded.

For more information visit the UMaine Extension page or contact Pamela St. Peter at

For more information about the Board of Pesticides Control visit:

Woodchuck Survey

Maine Cooperative Extension would like to understand how you control woodchucks as part of the “Methods to manage woodchucks on your property” project. The project involves collecting information about methods that people have used to control woodchucks (also known as groundhogs) on their property, including reasons why people use or do not use particular methods. We are surveying residents who have interacted with the Cooperative Extension office at the University of Maine.

The survey should take 15-30 minutes to complete. By sharing your stories, you can help us to teach other people about ways to prevent woodchucks from damaging property, including gardens. All responses are valuable to our study and we encourage you to answer all questions. Your participating is voluntary, and your answers are completely anonymous. Please answer questions as openly as possible and do not include your name. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us (email:

Click here to start the Survey

Thank you for your participation.

AgriTourism Survey

The National Extension Tourism (NET) Design Team is compiling an inventory of Extension tourism-related programs in each state. Many Educators work directly with programs and partners that connect to tourism, despite not having a named tourism program in a given state. Examples include agritourism, farm to fork initiatives, brewery or winery trails. You are receiving this brief survey to help create a national inventory of tourism-related programming.

The organizers would like responses to this three to five-minute survey by Friday, March 16. Here is the link to the survey.

The results will be compiled and made available in a national report, with state-level detail where available; your responses will be kept anonymous and of course are voluntary.

Maine Grain Conference – CANCELLED

Due to the snowstorm forecast for this Thursday, March 8th, the 2018 Maine Grain Conference has been cancelled.

We are working to schedule a webinar with some of the speakers. Others’ talks will be posted on our UMaine Extension Grains & Oilseeds website. Stay tuned for more info.

Full refunds will be processed automatically for those who registered. If you have any questions about the refund, contact Terri Eldridge at or 207.581.3873.

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

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.