Farm Scoop – July 2018

Sustainability Flash Poll

Greetings farmers!

As we are approaching the mid-summer frenetic pace of abundant weeds, busy markets, and keeping employee (and self) morale invigorated, New EntryUniversity of Maine Cooperative Extension, and Cornell Small Farms Program are working to collect input on your experience managing stress on the farm and maintaining “social sustainability”, in hopes of beginning conversations that will allow us to imagine and enact strategies to support Social Sustainability on Farms in the Northeast region.

Social sustainability” can occur when formal and informal processes; systems; structures; and relationships actively support the capacity of current and future generations to create healthy and livable [farms] and communities. Most farms tend to focus on the other two legs of the three-legged sustainability “stool” – economic and environmental, but the “social” piece can make or break a farm’s long-term success.  Farms face a variety of stressors and social sustainability addresses issues both internally (including health and well-being, family relationships, work-life balance, human resource management, etc.) and externally (interaction with the community). We are interested in exploring how farm families identify, plan, and manage social sustainability on their farms and with their farm workers.

Please support us in this effort and complete this 5 minute Social Sustainability Flash Poll today! Please complete the poll before Monday, August 6th – thank you.

 

Wishing you abundant harvests!

Jennifer Hashley, New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, jennifer.hashley@tufts.edu
Leslie Forstadt, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, leslie.forstadt@maine.edu
Anu Rangarajan, Cornell Small Farms Program, ar47@cornell.edu

Ag Leadership Survey

Dear Producer,

A team from UMaine Extension is considering revising and presenting the Ag Leadership Training that was conducted throughout the 1990’s for farmers and for others involved in the agricultural industry.  The team includes Donna Coffin, Leslie Forstadt, Gary Anderson, Tori Jackson, Dave Marcinkowski, Colt Knight, Lily Calderwood, Dick Brzozowski and Kathy Hopkins.

In a recent survey conducted at the Maine Ag Trades Show, only 58% of respondents felt that the leaders of their respective local and statewide associations had adequate leadership skills.

We would like to identify the leadership needs your local or statewide association need to help make them more effective. This will help us create future training opportunities to increase the effectiveness and leadership capacity of ag associations and its members.

As an example of ag leadership, consider this example:  There is a bill in the legislature affecting your commodity.  Producers would like to get factual information to legislators about this industry and the impact this bill will have.  How do you organize commodity producers to put together an informational packet that provides that factual information, how do you work with individual legislators to answer their questions about the impact of the bill and how do you organize your producer group to provide written and verbal testimony on the bill when it comes up for a public hearing?  This is just one broad example of how leadership training can be helpful in getting a message across to policy makers.

Please take a few moments to share your thoughts and respond to the survey here.

Tori
Tori Lee Jackson, Extension Educator
Associate Professor of Agriculture and Natural Resources
University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Androscoggin and Sagadahoc Counties Office

The Maine Sustainable Agriculture Society (MESAS) Survey

MESAS is trying to increase farmer input on a survey aimed at generating discussion and sorting priorities of Maine farmers who extend the season and grow through the winter.  You can find the survey here.

For more information on MESA and to view their recent newsletter with more info about the survey, visit their site.

USDA announces one week left to complete the 2017 Census of Agriculture

WASHINGTON – July 24, 2018 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) ends all data collection for the 2017 Census of Agriculture on July 31. Anyone who received the Census questionnaire is required by law to respond by that date, and they can complete the form online at www.agcensus.usda.gov or by calling toll-free (888) 424-7828.

“The Census of Agriculture, conducted once every five years, provides the only source of comprehensive agricultural data for every state and county in the nation,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “Your information helps ensure that future decisions about U.S. agriculture represent you, your industry, and your community.”

“Every response matters, even the ones that tell us you are not, or are no longer, a farm,” continued Hamer. “If you received a 2017 Census of Agriculture, we need to hear from you by July 31.”

The same law that requires response – Federal law, Title 7 USC 2204(g) Public Law 105-113 – also requires NASS to keep all information confidential, to use the data only for statistical purposes, and to only publish data in aggregate form to prevent disclosing the identity of any individual producer or farm operation.

Data from the 2017 Census of Agriculture is planned to be released in February 2019.

###

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue video PSA – Be counted: Return your 2017 Census of Agriculture Online Today, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4-mnS8z2i4&feature=youtu.be

Learn How to Respond Online with this YouTube video.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender. USDA NASS is the federal statistical agency responsible for producing official data about U.S. agriculture and is committed to providing timely, accurate, and useful statistics in service to U.S. agriculture. We invite you to provide feedback on our products and services. Sign up at https://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/register.do.


FSMA Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule Exemptions

Developed by Robson Machado, Assistant Extension Professor and Food Science Specialist, University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

Reviewed by Luke LaBorde, Professor of Food Science, Penn State, Amanda Kinchla, Extension Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science, University of Massachusetts Amhers, and Jason Bolton, Associate Extension Professor and Food Safety Specialist, University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

For information about UMaine Extension programs and resources, visit extension.umaine.edu.
Find more of our publications and books at extensionpubs.umext.maine.edu.

food processing facilityThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has created new regulations that will dramatically affect the food industry. The purpose of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is to minimize the risk of foodborne diseases in our food system.

The FSMA is one of the largest changes to food safety regulations and will impact how we think about food safety. The FSMA brings forth a more proactive approach, rather than reacting to outbreaks, such as providing food safety risks assessments and identifying steps to control or minimize such risks before a foodborne risk incidence can occur. All food processors required to register with the FDA will be required to comply with the updated Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs). Some processors may be exempt from the extra requirements that came with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) depending on their size.

While there are seven rules within FSMA, two of the rules, Produce Safety Rule (PSR) and Preventive Controls for Human Food (PC), have a significant impact on producers and processors within Maine, New England, and the USA. The seven rules are:

  1. Preventive Controls for Human Food (PC): updated CGMPs for the entire industry and the implementation of a HACCP-like system to sectors not covered under specific HACCP rules.
  2. Produce Safety (PSR): establishment of practices related to food safety, sanitation, personal hygiene, water safety, soil amendments use, wild and domestic animal handling for produce farms.
  3. Preventive Controls for Animal Food: similar to the rule for human food that we will discuss in this fact sheet but related to animal food.
  4. Foreign Supplier Verification Programs: new rules for anyone who imports food into the United States to ensure the same food safety standards required of domestic processors.
  5. Accredited Third-Party Certification: establishment of a program to accredit third-party auditors to conduct food safety audits and issue certifications for foreign facilities and their food.
  6. Sanitary Transportation: establishment of sanitary practices to reduce the risk of food becoming contaminated during transportation.
  7. Intentional Adulteration (Food Defense): more specific for large companies whose food reach many people, this rule aims to protect the food supply against intentional contamination.

The Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule (PC Rule)

Anyone who manufactures, processes, packs, and/or holds any food for human consumption will be expected to comply with at least some parts of these new regulations. Foods and products already covered by other specific regulations (e.g., juice, seafood, low acid canned foods, dietary supplements, and alcohol) must register with the FDA and comply with CGMPs, but are exempt from most of the PC requirements, as long as they comply with their industry-specific regulations.

Companies that fall under the PC rule will have to follow the updated CGMPs (these practices were updated within the PC rule from an older version with the same name). They will also have to write a food safety plan that includes a hazard analysis (including hazard identification and hazard evaluation); establishment of preventive controls for the identified hazards; and oversight and management of the preventive controls through monitoring, corrective actions, validations, and verifications.

Food processors that must fully comply with the PC rule will require someone who went through the Preventive Controls Rule training to become a PCQI (Preventive Controls Qualified Individual) to help them put a food safety plan together. For some companies, the required food safety plan will be a novelty. Facilities that are familiar with Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plans will recognize various aspects of HACCP when developing their food safety plan. One of the most important similarities is conducting a comprehensive hazard analysis of the entire food production process. In this analysis, the food processing steps most likely to pose a food safety hazard for consumers must be identified and addressed. After that, preventive controls — hence the name — are established to minimize such hazards. These preventive controls are closely monitored and recorded by workers who are trained to perform the activity and know what to do if something does not work as expected and corrective actions must be taken. Some examples are monitoring and recording heating temperatures for cooked products and checking labels to assure that all potential allergens are listed. Traceability is also an important factor of the new regulation, especially regarding ingredient suppliers. With the integrated food production industry that exists today in the U.S., food may contain ingredients from dozens of suppliers. With the new regulation, companies will have to make sure suppliers are providing safe ingredients by asking for lab test results, performing audits, etc.

Exemptions to the PC Rule

There are some exemptions to the rule depending on the type of activity, type of facility, or company size.

Low-risk on-farm activities

Companies that only perform certain low-risk, on-farm processing and manufacturing activities (e.g., cutting lemons and limes, slicing bread, baking bread, etc.) may be eligible for an exemption to some parts of the rule depending on their size. FDA is very specific about what is considered a low-risk activity and compiled a list of exempt low-risk activities.

Storage facilities

If you only hold (store) packaged food that is not exposed to the environment, you are exempt from most requirements of the rule. However, if the packaged food you hold requires refrigeration, you must be able to prove that you properly controlled the temperature of such foods.

Exemptions based on company size

Even if you are not exempt as outlined above, you may still be eligible for an exemption to some parts of the rule and only have to comply with the Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs). A facility with that partial exemption is called a “qualified facility.”

The FDA defines a “qualified facility” in the rule as follows:

A “qualified facility” is:

1) A “very small business,” with average annual food sales (plus the market value of food manufactured, processed, packed, or held) of $1,000,000, adjusted for inflation based on 2011 dollars, during the last 3-years;

OR

2) A facility to which both of the following conditions apply during the last 3 years:

(i) the average annual value of the food manufactured, processed, packed or held that is sold directly to qualified end-usersexceeded the average annual value of the food sold to all other purchasers;

AND

(ii) the average annual value of all food sold during the previous 3-year was less than $500,000, adjusted for inflation.

Qualified end-user is:

1) the actual consumer of the food

OR

2) a restaurant or retail food establishment that is purchasing the food for future sales directly to consumers as long as that restaurant or retail food establishment is located:

a. In the same state or the Indian reservation as the qualified facility that sold the food;

OR

b. Not more than 275 miles from the facility.

If you think that your business can claim the status of a qualified facility, you will still have to register your facility with the FDA and submit documentation to the FDA that includes the sales records from the previous three years. Keep in mind that even if you are a qualified exempt facility, you still must conduct a hazard analysis and have preventive controls in place to address any hazards you may have found at your facility. You will also have to comply with any State and local food safety laws that are specific to your location and product. You can find additional information about what to do, if you are a qualified facility, in this FDA qualified facility guidance.

Illustration showing a 275 mile radius from Kittery, ME with NYC within the radius and Presque Isle, ME outsdie the radius but still acceptable because it's within the state boundaryTo help you understand the criteria for the qualified exemption, we created an illustration to help you understand what “qualified end-user” means. If your customers are buying for their own consumption, or are a restaurant or a retail food establishment, and they are in your state or within 275 miles “as the crow flies” from your facility, they are “qualified end-users.”

In the example illustrated, a company in Kittery, Maine, can sell to a customer from Presque Isle, Maine, because it is in-state (even if it is further away than 275 miles). The Kittery business can also sell to anyone in Vermont, New Hampshire, Massasuchetts, Connecticut, Rode Island, and parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, including New York City, which is inside the 275 miles limit. In the illustration, the business in Kittery can sell to anyone in the green zone.

To determine the radius for your business, use the radius map tool. You use this tool by entering the address of your facility as the “Input Point” using option two and click on “Draw Radius.” Add the radius area to the area of your state that is outside such radius, and you should have a map of your qualified end-users (assuming they are someone who is buying for their consumption, a restaurant, or a retail food establishment).

Now that you know the area for your qualified end-users, use the sales calculations to check if you are a qualified facility using our calculator tool. This tool was created to be as simple as possible. To use it, you will need to have the following information (the tool will calculate for inflation automatically):

A – Average annual sales to qualified end-users over the last three years.

B – Average annual sales to NON-qualified end-users over the last three years.

C – Average value of food manufactured, processed, packed, or held without a sale over the last three years.

After entering this data on the Microsoft Excel® spreadsheet tool, you will be answered about your eligibility to the qualified facility exemption. Download the calculator tool (Excel).

These new regulations may be intimidating for food entrepreneurs. However, this new approach to food safety is an important set of tools to identify and control risks to reduce foodborne illnesses. As the food economy becomes increasingly more globalized, these improvements are timely and should help provide safer food products in the U.S. and worldwide.

For more information on workshops and resources visit the Food Safety Training Opportunities website.

For more information on the Preventive Controls Rule or for upcoming courses, contact Robson Machado at 207.581.3144 or robson.machado@maine.edu.

References

 


Spotted Wing Drosophila Alert: July 20, 2018Male Spotted Wing Drosophila, photo by Griffin Dill. Actual size: 2-3 mm.

Male Spotted Wing Drosophila, photo by Griffin Dill. Actual size: 2-3 mm.

David Handley, Vegetable and Small Fruit Specialist; James Dill, Pest Management Specialist; Frank Drummond, Professor of Insect Ecology/Entomology

We have found spotted wing drosophila (SWD) fruit flies in raspberry and highbush blueberry plantings in Maine over the past week, in most of the locations where we have set up traps. (See table below.) This compliments reports from throughout the northeast that SWD is active and in high numbers very early this season.

Some of the fly counts this week are already above what we consider potentially damaging to ripening berry crops, especially raspberries and blueberries. Research in Maine and other regions suggests that when 6 to 10 flies are caught in a yeast-baited trap in a week, larvae will start appearing in the fruit.

Male (left) and Female (right) Spotted Wing Drosophila, photo by Griffin Dill. Actual size: 2-3 mm.

Spotted wing drosophila populations are likely to build rapidly in the coming weeks as more food (fruit) becomes available for the flies, especially if conditions remain warm and we get some rain. Now is the time to set out traps, if you haven’t already. Start protective sprays on any berries that have begun to ripen, when more than four spotted wing drosophila flies are caught in a trap, or any larvae are noticed in the fruit. Look for fruit flies hovering around fruit and symptoms of premature fruit decay.

Research has shown that dry conditions and exposure reduce the number of eggs these insects will lay in the fruit. This supports our recommendations to open up your berry plantings by pruning, especially low growth, as these insects favor dark, moist conditions, close to the ground.

Important points for managing spotted wing drosophila include:

  1. Monitor for the flies with traps, and for the larvae in fruit.
  2. Spray regularly and often once flies have been found in the field (every 5 to 7 days).
  3. Harvest fruit regularly and often; do not leave any ripe/rotten fruit in the field.
  4. Sort fruit at harvest; do not leave any soft fruit in the container to be sold.
  5. Chill all fruit immediately after harvest to 38ºF (or as close as you can) for at least 12 hours to slow or stop development of any eggs or larvae.
  6. Prune the planting, especially the lower region, to open up the canopy and create dry, light conditions.

Products that provide good control of drosophila on berry crops include spinosad (Radiant® for strawberries, Delegate® for raspberries and blueberries), Asana®, Brigade®, Danitol®, malathion, Exirel® (blueberries only) and Assail®. Research suggests that adding table sugar to group 4A insecticides, such as Assail®, may improve their effectiveness. The recommended rate would be 1-2 lbs. sugar per 100 gallons of spray. Also, it is recommended to add 4-16 oz Nu Film P®/100 gal with all materials to improve SWD efficacy and, if it rains after you spray, re-apply a pesticide material. (Read the label for any re-application restrictions of the same material.) Please check product labels for rates, post-harvest intervals and safety precautions.

Click here for a current list (courtesy of Mary Concklin at UConn Extension) of labeled spray materials for SWD.

Characteristics of Insecticides for Spotted Wing Drosophila Control

Trade Name Days to Harvest
Blueberry
Days of Residual
Assail® 1 5-7
Mustang Max® 1 7
Bifenture® 1 (3 raspberry) 7
Brigade® 1 (3 raspberry) 7
Danitol® 3 7
Delegate® 3 (1 raspberry) 7
Entrust® 3 (1 raspberry) 3-5
Exirel® 3 (not for raspberry) 5-7
Imidan® 3 (not for raspberry) 5-7

 

Drosophila Trap, photo by David Handley

A Simple Monitoring Trap for Spotted Wing Drosophila:
The trap body is made from a 16-ounce red plastic cup (we use Solo Brand P16RLR). You’ll need one that has a tight-fitting lid (we use Solo Brand 626TS). Using a 1/8” hole punch (available through art suppliers), punch about 15 holes in a row around the cup just under the lip about 1/2” apart. Leave about 2” of the diameter of the rim with no holes so that liquid can be poured in and out. Punch a second row of holes just under the first row, to give you a total of 30, 1/8” holes. Use a black permanent marker to paint a 1/2” wide black strip around the cup under the rim, right over the holes you punched. To support the trap, cut a wooden tomato stake down to about 30”. Attach a 4” or larger hose clamp near the top of the stake to act as a cup holder for the trap. (We just punched a hole in the metal band of the hose clamp and attached it to the stake with a flat-headed wood screw.) Place the trap holder in a shady, moist place in or near the fruit planting, with the cup height 12” to 18” off the ground. Fill the trap with 4 to 6 ounces of apple cider vinegar, water + sugar + yeast, or whatever bait you prefer. It is best to add a few drops of unscented soap to break the surface tension of the liquid. Place the lid on the cup to keep rain and critters from getting in, and place the trap in the holder. Adjust the hose clamp so that the trap fits in snugly but the trap holes are not covered up. Empty and re-bait the trap every week. Do not pour out the old bait on the ground near the trap, as this will draw flies away from it.

An effective commercial trap and bait is now available from Scentry. The trap is reusable and the bait lasts 4-6weeks. Cost for both is about $15 plus shipping, it is available from Great Lakes IPM Company.

For more information on identifying spotted wing drosophila (SWD) and updates on populations around the state, visit our SWD blog.

Other IPM Web Pages
Michigan State University
Penn State University
University of New Hampshire

David T. Handley
Vegetable and Small Fruit Specialist

Highmoor Farm                      Pest Management Office
P.O. Box 179                             491 College Avenue
Monmouth, ME 04259          Orono, ME 04473
207.933.2100                           1.800.287.0279

Where brand names or company names are used it is for the reader’s information. No endorsement is implied nor is any discrimination intended against other products with similar ingredients. Always consult product labels for rates, application instructions and safety precautions. Users of these products assume all associated risks.

The University of Maine is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.

Town Spotted Wing  Drosophila weekly trap catch 7/20/18
Sanford 13
Limington 1
Limerick 0
Buxton 3
Bowdoinham 1
Dresden 5
Freeport 0
Poland Spring 1
Mechanic Falls 0
Monmouth 3
Readfield 0
Wales 5
Farmington 8
Fayette 0
Wayne 0

USDA Farm Services

There are several Farm Services available through the USDA grant project Scaling up for Growth in the Portland Foodshed:

* see the official project website for more info.

USDA News Release – USDA to Measure Fruit Production

HARRISBURG, PA – Over the next several weeks, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will survey fruit growers, including more than 1,000 in the Northeast, about their 2018 fruit crops. The survey will collect acreage information on apples, peaches, grapes, and cranberries and provide the first indication of production.

“Different sectors of the agricultural industry rely on NASS to produce timely and accurate fruit estimates,” said King Whetstone, director of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Northeastern Regional Field Office. “Growers can use the survey results when making business plans and marketing decisions. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) relies on the average yields to administer farm programs. Cooperative Extension uses the data to provide needed outreach and education, and State Departments and Agencies of Agriculture use the information to aid growers.”

In these surveys, NASS asks participants to answer a variety of questions about apples, peaches, cranberries, and grapes 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 August 10th, 2018 Crop Production report. All previous publications are available online. For more information on NASS surveys and reports, call the NASS Northeastern Regional Field Office at 1-800-498-1518.

NASS provides accurate, timely, and useful statistics in service to U.S. agriculture. We invite you to provide occasional feedback on our products and services. Sign up here and look for “NASS Data User Community.” USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

Extension Ag Leadership Survey

A team from UMaine Extension is considering a revival of the Ag Leadership Training that was conducted throughout the 1990’s for farmers and other industry personnel.

In a recent survey conducted at the Maine Ag Trades Show, only 58% of respondents felt that the leaders of their respective local and statewide associations had adequate leadership skills.

We would like to identify leadership needs for your local or statewide association that would help make them more effective. This will help us create future training opportunities to help increase the effectiveness and leadership capacity of ag associations and its members.

As an example of ag leadership, consider the following:  There is a bill in the legislature affecting your commodity.  Producers in that commodity area would like to get factual information to legislators about your industry and the impact of this bill on your industry.  How do you organize your commodity producers to put together an informational packet that provides that factual information, how do you work with individual legislators to answer their questions about the impact of the bill and how do you organize your producer group to provide written and verbal testimony on the bill when it comes up for a public hearing.  This is just one broad example of how leadership training can be helpful in getting your message across to policy makers.

Please take a few moments to respond to the Ag Organization Member Survey.

On behalf of the Extension Agricultural Leadership Team

Tori Lee Jackson, Extension Educator
Associate Professor of Agriculture and Natural Resources
University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Androscoggin and Sagadahoc Counties Office

New Map of Midcoast and Downeast Farmers’ Markets

The Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets has released a new map of Midcoast and Downeast farmers’ markets featuring 20 of the unique farmers’ markets that take place along the Maine coast. In addition to a detailed, full-color map, the brochure includes a description of each market, suggestions for free outdoor activities near each, and original artwork depicting the character of the various markets.

Map of farmer's markets in the Down East region

An earlier version (2015) of the Farmers’ Market Trail focused on Washington County. The expanded map features coastal markets from Lubec to Bath, highlighting the fact that wherever you travel along the coast of Maine, it’s easy to find a farmers’ market. “We hope locals and visitors alike will keep a copy of this map in their cars, and pull it out for inspiration every time they venture along the coast. There’s no better way to get to know this state than by talking to farmers and food producers, while tasting local specialities,” according to Leigh Hallett, MFFM’s Executive Director.

Tourists and summer residents are an important segment of the shopper base for all Maine markets, but particularly so for the coastal markets, which often have a shorter season than others. Kim Roos of Gardenside Dairy (member of half a dozen markets featured on the map, including Ellsworth, Milbridge, and Lubec) notes that the intense summer season is particularly important to farms like hers: “It is great to be able to have these maps for locals and visitors to our state to help everyone find seasonal, local food. This is especially crucial to our farm in way Downeast, where our selling season heavily relies on the 12 weeks tourists are around to purchase our goods!” Farms like Gardenside Dairy also produce non-food items (in their case, personal care products like hand lotions) which are sought after by visitors looking for Maine-made gifts.

Each market on the map is illustrated with an original watercolor design by Steuben artist Nicole DeBarber. A member of the Beehive Collective for 9 years, Nicole has a deep connection to coastal Maine, and was able to capture the spirit of the markets in winsome images. Many of the markets featured on the map will also be offering coloring pages based on Nicole’s work, and an exhibit is planned in Machias in late summer.

Farmers’ markets are the perfect place to meet locals while picking up fresh and prepared foods. Whether you are a tourist, a summer resident, or a Mainer on a day-trip, exploring a new farmers’ market is a great way to get to know more about Maine. Find markets throughout the state by location or day of the week on MFFM’s website. Copies of the free map have been distributed to farmers’ markets and tourist information sites. Request a copy by mail by emailing info@mffm.org.

About:

The Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets runs statewide programs that help sustain Maine farms, connect market farmers, strengthen farmers’ markets, and widen access to locally-grown food for all. MFFM operates the Maine Harvest Bucks nutrition incentive program for SNAP shoppers, maintains an online directory of all of Maine’s farmers’ markets, and provides resources to market farmers and managers.

Contact:

Leigh Hallett, Executive Director
director@mffm.org (207) 487-7114
Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets
165 Sebasticook St.
Pittsfield, ME 04967

Attention Fresh Produce Growers! Represent Maine at PMA Fresh Summit

You are invited and encouraged to apply for exhibiting Maine produce in the State of Maine Pavilion at the PMA Fresh Summit being held in Orlando, Florida from October 18 to 20, 2018.

Why should you exhibit at PMA Fresh Summit?

  • Booth space, set up and serviced paid by department worth over $13,000!
  • Now offering 1st time pavilion attendees an additional $1,000 reimbursement towards travel expenses.
  • Over 20,000 people from over 65 countries visit!
  • Market your business to national and worldwide decision makers!

For more information and a downloadable application, visit Maine’s Promotion and Exhibitor Opportunities page.

WERU Radio Event: “Farm Labor, Immigration and Social Justice in Maine, An Evening with Baldemar Velasquez”

Date and Time: Thursday, September 20, 2018 – 7-9 p.m.

Presented by: WERU Community Radio and Americans Who Tell the Truth

Location:  The Crosby Center, 96 Church St, Belfast

Baldemar Velasquez, Founder of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee of the AFL-CIO, will give a talk followed by panel discussion that will address several topics, including: Why do so many seasonal migrant farm workers come to Maine and how is the State of Maine dealing with them? Who profits from undocumented workers?

The panel discussion will feature Jorge Acero (Maine Department of Labor), Edith Flores (Mano en Mano), Cynthia Phinney (Maine AFL-CIO), and Velázquez will follow the talk, moderated by WERU News & Public Affairs Manager, Amy Browne.  A musical opening for the evening will be performed by father and daughter duo Shawn and Maizey Mercer.

For more information visit the WERU website or email info@weru.org.

Survey to assess business needs of farmers growing 
year round in Maine

Contact:

William Giordano
wjgiordano@gmail.com
(207) 570-8760

For Immediate Release

July 2, 2018

MAINE STATEWIDE – Farmers and businesses involved in greenhouse and year-round growing in Maine are invited to share their input on business and industry needs through a survey being administered this summer by the Maine Sustainable Agriculture Society (MESAS).

Information from the survey will be used to guide the future work and development of the Sustainable Year-Round Agriculture Cluster, an initiative funded through the Maine Technology Institute and launched in 2014 with the intent of connecting technology, engineering, research and development resources to support and expand year-round agriculture production in Maine.

The survey will be open for responses through midnight on July 20th. An online version of the survey is available at www.mesas.org.

MESAS is a farmer-led organization providing information and resources to help Maine farms achieve “triple bottom line results”, regardless of the scale they operate at, or the production methods they use. MESAS supports profitable farms, healthy ecosystems and strong communities by coordinating research into emerging trends and technologies, serving as a hub for decision making information, and conducting pilot projects and demonstrations that provide practical experience in a peer-to-peer learning environment.

For more information on MESAS or the Sustainable Year Round Agriculture Cluster, visit MESAS website here or contact info@mesas.org.


Farm Service Agency County Committee Nomination Period in Androscoggin-Sagadahoc and Oxford Counties to Launch June 15

(Lewiston, Maine), June 11, 2018 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages America’s farmers and ranchers to nominate candidates to lead, serve and represent their community on their local county committee. According to USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) Androscoggin-Sagadahoc County Executive Director Marcia Hall, FSA will accept nominations for county committee members beginning Friday, June 15, 2018.

Producers across the country are already serving on committees where they play a critical role in the day-to-day operations of FSA, making important decisions on programs dealing with disaster and conservation, emergencies, commodity loan price support, county office employment and other agricultural issues.

“County committees are unique to FSA and allow producers to have a voice on federal farm program implementation at the local level,” said Hall. “It is also important that committees are comprised of members who fairly represent the diverse demographics of production agriculture for their community. I encourage all producers, including women, minority and beginning farmers and ranchers, to participate in the nomination and election process.”

Nationwide, more than 7,700 dedicated farmers and ranchers serve on FSA county committees, which consist of three to 11 members and meet once a month, or as needed. Members serve three-year terms.

Producers can nominate themselves or others. Organizations, including those representing beginning, women and minority producers, may also nominate candidates to better serve their communities. To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, producers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program and reside in the area where the election is being held.

This year, nominations and elections for Androscoggin-Sagadahoc County will be held in local administrative area LAA 3, which includes Greene, Leeds, Wales, Livermore Falls, Lewiston and Sabattus.  Also, this year nominations and elections for Androscoggin-Sagadahoc County will be held in local administrative area LAA 4, which includes Richmond and Bowdoin.

This year, nominations and elections for Oxford County will be held in local administrative area 3, which includes West Paris, Sumner, Hartford, Buckfield, Paris, Hebron, Oxford and Otisfield.

To be considered, a producer must sign an FSA-669A nomination form. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections, or from the Androscoggin-Sagadahoc County FSA office. All nomination forms for the 2018 election must be postmarked or received in the local FSA office by Aug. 1, 2018. Visit farmers.gov for more information.

Election ballots will be mailed to eligible voters beginning Nov. 5, 2018. Read more to learn about important election dates.


Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry Board of Pesticides Control – Certification Training

Need Pesticide Recertification Credits?

Upcoming Opportunities Include:

  • Summer Potato Field Meeting
  • Organic Wild Blueberry Field Meeting
  • Wild Blueberry Summer Field Day & Meeting
  • Pomological Society Summer Meeting
  • Maine Farm Days 2018

For details on these and other meetings visit Board of Pesticides Control Credit Calendar.


Aroostook County Field Day 2018

August 8, 2018
8:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Aroostook Research Farm
59 Houlton Road, Presque Isle, Maine

This FREE event is open to all agriculture producers (potato growers, grain growers, dairy people, etc.)

No pre-registration is required. Lunch will be provided.

Organizers: 

  • Lakesh Sharma, Assistant Extension Professor, Assistant Professor of Sustainable Agriculture, University of Maine
  • Sukhwinder Bali, Assistant Extension Professor, Assistant Professor of Sustainable Agriculture, University of Maine

Topics:

  1. Foliar Applications on Late Blight Control, Dr. Jay Hao
  2. Potential Role of Insects in Transmitting Dickeya, Dr. Andrei Alyokhin
  3. Potato Breeding and Variety Development, Dr. Gregory Porter
  4. Nutrient Management Research, Dr. Gregory Porter
  5. Use of Fly Ash in Potato Cultivation System, Sukhwinder Bali and Dr. Lakesh Sharma
  6. Different Nitrogen Rate Impact on Different Potato Varieties, Dr. Lakesh Sharma and Ahmed Zaeen
  7. Demonstration of Different Phosphorus Rate Effect on Potato Growth and Yield, Dr. Lakesh Sharma and Ahmed Jasim
  8. Demonstration of Sulfur Response in Potatoes, Dr. Lakesh Sharma
  9. Study of Mycorrhizae to Improve Phosphorus Availability in Potatoes, Dr. Lakesh Sharma and Ahmed Jasim

Equipment Displays:

  • John Deere
  • CASE
  • Spudnik
  • New Holland

CEUs:

  • Nutrient Management: 2
  • Soil & Water Management: 1
  • Integrated Pest Management: 2
  • Crop Management: 1
  • Professional Development: 1