Farm Scoop – October 2018
Webinar: Dairy Revenue Protection Program
Webinar offered on new dairy revenue protection program
Contact: Erin Roche, 207.949.2940, email@example.com
Orono, Maine—University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering a free webinar about Dairy Revenue Protection, a new program of the USDA Risk Management Agency, on Oct. 30 from 12 noon–1 p.m.
The webinar provides a program overview with an emphasis on the differences between the two pricing options – class and component – and a demonstration of the cost estimator tool available on the RMA website. The presenters will be Mike Ciliege, from the Kansas City Risk Management Agency Product Administration and Standards Division and William Barnes, Jr., deputy director of the Raleigh regional office, USDA Risk Management Agency.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension:
As a trusted resource for over 100 years, University of Maine Cooperative Extension has supported UMaine’s land and sea grant public education role by conducting community-driven, research-based programs in every Maine county. UMaine Extension helps support, sustain and grow the food-based economy. It is the only entity in our state that touches every aspect of the Maine Food System, where policy, research, production, processing, commerce, nutrition, and food security and safety are integral and interrelated. UMaine Extension also conducts the most successful out-of-school youth educational program in Maine through 4-H.
Deadline: Apple Crop Insurance, 2019 year
November 20, 2018 is the sales closing date for the 2019 crop year
It’s that time of year when you need to review your crop insurance options! Apple crop insurance protects a producer’s average crop yields from weather-related issues causing yield loss. Producers can choose to insure their apple crop at a catastrophic level (CAT) which protects 50% of their average crop yield and pays at 55% of the price election at a loss; or, at higher coverage levels called “buy-up” which protects 50 to 75% of their average crop yield and pays 100% of the price election. The 2019 price elections are $11.50 per bushel ($6.33 per bushel for CAT) for “fresh market” conventional and organic apples. Price elections also exist for different varietal groups and processing apples. A portion of the premium cost is subsidized by the USDA. Crop insurance is sold by private crop insurance agents. Locate a crop insurance agent at: prodwebnlb.rma.usda.gov/apps/AgentLocator/#/.
Alternatively, those interested in coverage on multiple crops should speak with an agent about Whole Farm Revenue Protection.
Perspectives from the field
Watch a short video about apple crop insurance from the owners of The Apple Farm in Fairfield, Maine: https://youtu.be/zSwklhPcPWM.
Watch a video about Whole Farm Revenue Protection from the owner of Circle B Farms in Caribou Maine: https://youtu.be/aC9k_rNvGbM.
For questions please contact Crop Insurance Education Program Manager, Erin Roche, 207.949.2490 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension is in partnership with the USDA RMA to deliver crop insurance education in Maine. For more information, please visit the UMaine Risk Management and Crop Insurance website extension.umaine.edu/agriculture/crop-insurance/.
GRANT OPPORTUNITY: TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE GRANTS FOR GRAIN-BASED BUSINESSES
Do you own a grain-based business in Maine? The 2018 Technical Assistance Grant Program is now accepting applications. See full details about the program and the proposal requirements below.
Maine Grain Alliance
The Maine Grain Alliance seeks applications to award mini-grants of $250 – $1,000. The mini-grants are to fund need-based technical assistance (TA) and equipment that will help grain-based business owners secure economic opportunities in Maine.
Examples of technical assistance might include, but are not limited to: hiring someone to help with business planning, hiring a consultant, advisor or expert, marketing/logo/brand development, website creation, attending a course or mentoring opportunity, hiring an architect, engineer, mechanical specialist, buying a needed piece of machinery or getting legal support. Please specify one area of technical assistance for which you are seeking grant support.
Grain-based business owners and entrepreneurs demonstrating financial need are welcome to apply. The Maine Grain Alliance is especially interested in assisting participants, presenters, panelists, work-study students, and scholarship recipients of the Kneading Conference which has been held annually since 2007.
For more information about the Maine Grain Alliance and its other programs, please visit www.mainegrainalliance.org The Maine Grain Alliance is a 501c3 non-profit organization. This technical assistance grant program is made possible by the generous support of Skowhegan Savings and Allagash Brewing Company.
Click here to download application: Request for Proposal (PDF)
Application Deadline: December 1st, 2018 – 5:00 pm
Awards Announcement: Late December
Please email completed proposals to: email@example.com
Click here for examples of previous grantees: TA Grant Overview
VegetableGrowers: Expand Your Tunnel Vision II
Registration is required. Registration deadline is November 26.
For additional information about the conference, please contact Teresa Locke at 603-787-6944 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
USDA Offers Secure, Convenient Online Business Options
Farmers, Ranchers and Foresters Encouraged to Sign-In/Sign-Up
Bangor, ME – October 17, 2018 – Farmers, ranchers and agricultural producers in Maine have new online options to access U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs. Through USDA’s new streamlined process producers can now register, track and manage their applications for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) and 2017 Wildfires Hurricanes Indemnity Program (2017 WHIP) on the secure and convenient https://www.farmers.gov/sign-in.
“You can conduct business with USDA from the comfort of your home, office, or mobile device,” said SED Dave Lavway, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director for Maine. “These online services save time, reduce paperwork and, in some cases, speed up processing.”
MFP and 2017 WHIP are administered by FSA and are currently available on the https://www.farmers.gov/sign-in. To apply and manage their applications online, producers first need to sign up for the Level 2 eAuthentication access. Enrolling is a two-step process. For producers who do not already have an account can register for an account at www.eauth.usda.gov. After creating the account, customers receive a confirmation email with instructions for identity verification. Identity verification can be completed online or by presenting a government issued photo ID in person at a USDA service center.
In addition to the programs available through the farmers.gov portal, other programs offered by FSA can be managed at the Online Services page with the same eAuthentication credentials.
“We know doing business online has become a key part of many agricultural operations and hope our online services can provide the ease and convenience you’ve come to expect,” said Lavway.
Individual producers have many options available for conducting business online with USDA agencies including FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Risk Management Agency (RMA). Online tools such as the NRCS Conservation Client Gateway offer customers added flexibility and a secure web portal to track payments, report completed practices, request assistance, and sign documents. Level 2 eAuthentication access is not yet available for entities, but it is available for individuals.
To learn more about conducting business with USDA online and to locate the nearest USDA service center, visit www.farmers.gov.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.
Pasture, Rangeland and Forage Rainfall Index Crop Insurance Deadline Approaching
November 15, 2018 is the sales closing date
Pasture, Rangeland and Forage (PRF) crop insurance protects grazing or haying acres against a single peril – lack of precipitation. Producers must enroll with a licensed crop insurance agent before the November 15 deadline for 2019 coverage. To learn more about PRF and to hear from a Massachusetts farmer who has used the policy, please view the following webinar recorded last month. Visit our web page at: www.extension.umaine.edu/agriculture/crop-insurance/webinars/.
PRF protects against lower-than-normal precipitation
Unlike other types of crop insurance, PRF is not based on a farmer’s historical crop yields. Rather, PRF protects against lower-than-normal precipitation using data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The program uses a grid system of approximately 12 x 17 miles to track precipitation levels. Locate your grid at www.prodwebnlb.rma.usda.gov/apps/prf. The PRF program is an area-based policy meaning coverage is based on the experience of the entire grid and not the experience of individual farms or specific weather stations in the general area. Losses occur when the reported NOAA precipitation for a 2-month interval is below a chosen percentage of the 50-year historical rainfall average for the grid. There is no claim paperwork to file and if an indemnity is owed, payments are mailed automatically.
What to insure
Grazing or hay acreage: Producers choose to insure “grazing” or “haying” acres. There is also an organic “haying” option.
Months: Producers choose which months to insure but must choose a minimum of 2, two-month intervals.
Coverage levels: Producers select a coverage level from 70 to 90%. “Coverage level” refers to the percentage of average precipitation that triggers a payment. For example, a producer selects the 90% coverage level. At this level, if precipitation in their grid is below 90% of the average precipitation, they receive an automatic indemnity payment. The value of the indemnity payment depends on the productivity level selected. Producers must select productivity levels that are 60 to 150% of the “base value”. Base values will change based on county. Contact a crop insurance agent for more information.
Locate a crop insurance agent at: prodwebnlb.rma.usda.gov/apps/AgentLocator/#/.
Expand your Tunnel Vision II: 2018 high tunnel production conference
At the Manchester Downtown Hotel 700 Elm Street – Manchester, NH
Register by November 26, 2018 To Register: http://bit.ly/TunnelVision2
Questions? Contact Teresa Locke at 603-787-6944 or email@example.com $75 for first participant, $40 for additional participants from same farm, or for students The fee covers both days & includes lunch on Day 2. There is no discount for only attending one day.
Monday, December 3rd, from 1 – 6 p.m.
– Test your knowledge & stump the region’s experts in three concurrent, engaging sessions focused on: Identifying insects & mites (good & bad!) in high tunnels; Identifying & managing common high tunnel diseases; Turning soil tests into practical recommendations
– Featured Farm: Organic Family Farm 2.0 – Frédéric Jobin-Lawler, L’Abri-Végetal, Compton, Québec
December 4th, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. (includes lunch and trade show)
-Keynote: Tunnel Vision: Looking back & thinking ahead about high tunnels in the northeast Vern Grubinger, University of Vermont
-Setting up a bio-control program that works for you
Carol Glenister, IPM Laboratories
– Recent research in high tunnel soil management:
Lessons & Becky Sideman, learned – UNH Bruce Extension
Hoskins, University of Maine
-What’s new and what’s needed?
Want to fine-tune your high tunnel crop production?
This conference is for high tunnel vegetable growers and agricultural service providers of all experience levels. There will be plenty of opportunities to share expertise and learn from one another.
– Grower Insights: Optimizing our high tunnel production systems – Tasha Dunning, Spring Ledge Farm, New London NH; Christa Alexander, Jericho Settlers’ Farm, Jericho VT; Nate Drummond, Six River Farm, Bowdoinham ME; Frédéric Jobin-Lawler, L’Abri-Végetal, Compton, Québec
– The Next Quagmire: How to water tunnels effectively
Stephanie Burnett & Mark Hutton, University of Maine
PAT credits pending!
Post Harvest Washing/Packing Survey
We are seeking input regarding a research and education project with the goal of consolidating postharvest information in a single set of resources.
Our proposed project aims to consolidate existing knowledge, best practices, and new developments in postharvest equipment, infrastructure, and buildings into a web-based handbook, workshop curriculum / educational materials and recorded videos.
Where do you find information when considering new equipment, new buildings, and different practices?
SURVEY LINK: http://go.uvm.edu/surveylist
This survey is voluntary and anonymous. Summarized and anonymized results will be included in a grant project proposal and also posted on our website (go.uvm.edu/ageng). Please direct any questions to Chris Callahan, firstname.lastname@example.org, 802-447-7582 x256.
The survey should take an average of 3 minutes to complete.
Thanks for your help.
Brews for a Cause – Benefitting the Merrymeeting Food Council
Wednesday, October 17th
4-8pm at Flight Deck Brewing (11 Atlantic Ave, Brunswick)
Local beer, local food, local music and friends!
Have a food system business or organization to promote? Let us help you enter it in the Maine Food Atlas!
Looking for music and dinner? Enjoy The Whatley Brothers and Cook’s Takes Flight (music begins at 6pm)
Want to celebrate the Merrymeeting Gleaners and our generous farmers? Come join us!
Farmland Access & Transfer Conference
December 3, 2018
Augusta Civic Center
Augusta, Maine Nearly 30% of New England’s farmers are likely to exit farming in the next 10+ years, and 9 out of 10 of them are farming without a young farmer alongside. At the same time, access to land is one of the biggest challenges for beginning farmers in New England. Farmers, landowners, and farm advocates are invited to the fourth annual Farmland Access & Transfer Conference on December 3, 2018 at the Augusta Civic Center, Augusta ME co-hosted by Maine Farmland Trust and Land For Good. Learn strategies for tackling succession planning and incorporating a conservation easement into your farm access or transfer plan, plus how to find and secure farmland of your own, negotiate a good lease agreement, and more. It’s the largest conference in the region focused solely on land access. For more information or to register, go to mainefarmlandtrust.org/access-2018.
Farm for Good – Farm Succession School in New Hampshire
Are you looking toward your farm transition?
Bedford, NH: at Farm Credit East 2 Constitution Drive, Bedford, NH 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. December 12, 2018 January 10, 2019 and February 7, 2019
Your commitment of three winter days will allow you to develop a concrete succession plan for your farm business, your land and your future.
One of your biggest challenges is planning for farm succession. Attend this year’s Farm Succession School! You’ll get structured and sustained support to make decisions, engage your family, and organize the legal and financial mechanics.
- Goal setting
- Estate planning
- Retirement planning and budgeting
- Family communications
- Legal structures and considerations
- Bringing on a successor
- Management transfer and mentoring
Farmers who have participated in past Succession Schools loved the amount of attention they received, and valued the trust and sharing that developed among the participants, regardless of scale or type of enterprise.
“It is a big relief to me! Thanks for the push to get it done! The course was well worthwhile.” “A must do! Definitely would recommend it. Well worth the time!”
Open to all New England farmers! Space is limited. You’ll get $200 back toward additional succession- related advising. You will also receive no-cost technical assistance between sessions
The fee is $300 per farmer or farm couple, including lunch, refreshments and materials.
Register by November 16th by calling (603)357-1600 or go online to landforgood.org/events.
Instructors: Jon Jaffe, Farm Business Consultant, Farm Credit East Kathy Ruhf, Senior Advisor, Land For Good An attorney with expertise in succession planning
The Land Access Project is funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture through its Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, Grant # 2018-02919.
UMaine Extension offers free record-keeping consults for farmers
Orono, Maine — University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Farm Service Agency (FSA) are continuing to provide free consults to Maine farmers through January 2019 on production and financial record-keeping. During the consultation, farmers will be asked to identify their record-keeping needs and will work individually with UMaine Extension professional staff to increase their skills or adopt new tools.
Consults will be done by phone, email and video chat unless in-person assistance is needed. Also included will be information about FSA risk management programs and records required for eligibility. Consults are free, confidential, and require only a participant’s time. For more information, to set up a consultation or request a reasonable accommodation, contact Calvert Schaefer at 443.340.4324, email@example.com.
NORTHEAST SARE INVITES FARMER GRANT APPLICATIONS
The Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program has released the call for applications for 2019 Farmer Grants. Proposals are due online by Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. E.T. Funded projects will be announced in late February 2019, and projects may begin in the spring. Northeast SARE Farmer Grants are intended for farm business owners and managers who would like to explore new sustainable production and marketing practices, often through an experiment, trial or on-farm demonstration. Reviewers look for innovation, potential for improved sustainability and results that will be useful to other farmers.
Application materials, including detailed instructions and supporting documents, are posted on the Northeast SARE website at www.northeastsare.org/FarmerGrant. Questions about the grant program should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Farmer Grant projects must be conducted in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia or Washington, D.C. Awards are capped at $15,000 and projects may address the wide range of issues that affect farming in the Northeast. To search topics that SARE has previously funded, please access the national database of projects at projects.sare.org/search-projects.
Applicants must work with a technical advisor—typically a Cooperative Extension educator, Natural Resources Conservation Service staff, nonprofit organization employee, private crop consultant, veterinarian or other service provider—who provides support and advice to the farmer applicant.
Northeast SARE will host a Farmer Grant webinar on Oct. 10 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Carol Delaney, grant program coordinator, will provide information on program eligibility, how to apply, types of projects SARE funds, allowable expenses and more. The webinar is free. To register, visit http://go.uvm.edu/farmergrant19. To request a disability-related accommodation to participate, contact Debra Heleba at (802) 651-8335, ext. 552, by Oct. 3.
— Debra Heleba, NESARE Communications Specialist (Debra.Heleba@uvm.edu)
Northeast SARE, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, offers competitive grants and sustainable agriculture education.
The Profitability of Pastured Pigs
Want to learn the basics of raising pastured pigs and marketing pork products? Take the new six-week “Getting Started with Pastured Pigs” online course with the Cornell Small Farms Program.
November 7 – December 19, 2018
Webinars on Wednesday Evenings
6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. EST
Pigs can function as a profitable standalone enterprise or can be integrated into your existing farm structure to provide a variety of products and make use of marginal lands that would otherwise go unused. Pigs are also ideal for turning agricultural wastes such as spent grain, whey, or seconds into a valuable product, and with proper management they can improve the land where they are kept.
Online courses are led by expert farmers and extension educators, who guide students through the latest research-based information to help improve efficiency and increase profit on small farms. 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.
Through this course participants will:
- Learn the basics of raising pigs. We will cover a variety of important aspects of the production topics including feed, water, shelter, fencing, and health care.
- Understand how integrating pigs into your operation can generate profit from marginal lands, various on farm wastes, and multi-species grazing.
- Develop a marketing plan that will take into account the rules and regulations in New York State (students from other states will need to research parallel laws in their area) regarding the sale of live animals, animal products, and value-added products.
- Understand the common perils and pitfalls that affect pastured pig growers.
- Outline a basic production plan for pigs on your particular property including fencing set up, water set up, and integrating the animals into your existing on-farm enterprises.
Registration closes on Sunday, October 28 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
If you still have questions, you can contact our online course managers:
Erica Frenay at email@example.com
Steve Gabriel at firstname.lastname@example.org
Maine Open Creamery Day!
The Maine Cheese Guild is hosting an Open Creamery Day coming up on Sunday, October 7, and most places will be open from 11am to 3pm. For a state map of participating farms, please visit this link: http://www.mainecheeseguild.org/wp-content/uploads/OCD-2018-map.pdf.
Publication Update: #
Your pricing structure can make the difference between success and failure. This 19-page bulletin sets out guiding principles for pricing as well as pricing formulas. Explains how to factor in materials, labor, overhead, and a profit margin; and how to determine the break-even point, retail pricing, markups and markdowns. Read more……
Contact person: Jim McConnon
Publisher: UMaine Extension
News Release: USDA Launches Trade Mitigation Programs
(Washington, D.C., September 4, 2018) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today launched the trade mitigation package aimed at assisting farmers suffering from damage due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations. Producers of certain commodities can now sign up for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), while USDA will also begin to purchase identified commodities under a food purchase and distribution program. Additionally, USDA has begun accepting proposals for the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP), which will help American farmers find and access new markets for their products. In total, USDA will authorize up to $12 billion in programs, consistent with World Trade Organization obligations.
Perdue announced in July that USDA would act to aid farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation. President Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a short-term relief strategy to protect agricultural producers while the Administration works on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets in the long run to help American farmers compete globally. These programs will assist agricultural producers to meet some of the costs of disrupted markets.
“These programs will allow President Trump time to strike long-term trade deals to benefit our entire economy, including the agricultural sector, in the long run,” Perdue said. “Farmers will tell you that they would always prefer to sell a good crop at a fair price, rather than receive government aid, and that’s what long-term trade deals will accomplish. But in the meantime, President Trump has promised that he will not allow American agriculture to bear the brunt of the unjustified retaliation from foreign nations. Today we are putting the President’s promise into action.”
USDA provided details in August of the programs to be employed:
- USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will administer the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) to provide payments to corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean, and wheat producers. An announcement about further payments will be made in the coming months, if warranted.
- USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will administer a food purchase and distribution program to purchase up to $1.2 billion in commodities unfairly targeted by unjustified retaliation. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will distribute these commodities through nutrition assistance programs, such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program and child nutrition programs.
- Through the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP), $200 million will be made available to develop foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products. The program will help U.S. agricultural exporters identify and access new markets and help mitigate the adverse effects of other countries’ restrictions.
Note: USDA is currently working to determine how to address market disruptions for producers of almonds and sweet cherries.
Market Facilitation Program
The sign-up period for MFP is now open and runs through January 15, 2019, with information and instructions provided at www.farmers.gov/mfp. The MFP provides payments to cotton, corn, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean, and wheat producers who have been significantly impacted by actions of foreign governments resulting in the loss of traditional exports. The MFP is established under the statutory authority of the Commodity Credit Corporation CCC Charter Act and is under the administration of USDA’s FSA. Eligible producers should apply after harvest is complete, as payments will only be issued once production is reported.
A payment will be issued on 50 percent of the producer’s total production, multiplied by the MFP rate for a specific commodity. A second payment period, if warranted, will be determined by the USDA.
Market Facilitation Program
Initial Payment Rate
|Est. Initial Payment**
|Cotton||$0.06 / lb.||$276,900|
|Corn||$0.01 / bu.||$96,000|
|Dairy (milk)||$0.12 / cwt.||$127,400|
|Pork (hogs)||$8.00 / head||$290,300|
|Soybeans||$1.65 / bu.||$3,629,700|
|Sorghum||$0.86 / bu.||$156,800|
|Wheat||$0.14 / bu.||$119,200|
** Initial payment rate on 50% of production
MFP payments are limited to a combined $125,000 for corn, cotton, sorghum, soybeans, and wheat capped per person or legal entity. MFP payments are also limited to a combined $125,000 for dairy and hog producers. Applicants must also have an average adjusted gross income for tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016 of less than $900,000. Applicants must also comply with the provisions of the Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation regulations.
For more further information or to locate and contact local FSA offices, interested producers can visit www.farmers.gov.
Food Purchase and Distribution Program
Beginning this week, USDA’s AMS will issue pre-solicitation notices through GovDelivery for targeted commodities. These notices will outline products USDA intends to purchase and will continue over the next several weeks. AMS will purchase products over four quarters in the new Federal fiscal year, which starts on October 1, 2018. The materials purchased may be adjusted between quarters to accommodate changes due to growing conditions, product availability, market conditions, trade negotiation status, and program capacity, among other factors.
To expedite first quarter purchases, AMS will focus on products currently purchased for nutrition assistance programs given the existence of qualified USDA suppliers and specifications for these products. Examples include various forms and varieties of apples, pork, beef, dairy, blueberries, grapefruit, oranges, pears, cranberries, plums/prunes, walnuts, potatoes, rice, kidney and navy beans. By purchasing known commodities first, AMS can procure commodities that have been sourced in the past with maximum speed and impact.
|Commodity||Target Amount (in $1,000s)|
Agricultural Trade Promotion Program
Applicants may now submit proposals for the FAS $200 million ATP Program. FAS will accept applications on a rolling basis until November 2, 2018. Details regarding ATP and how to apply are available at https://www.fas.usda.gov/programs/agricultural-trade-promotion-program.
The aim of the program is to assist American agricultural exporters in identifying and accessing new markets and to help mitigate the adverse effects of other countries’ restrictions. ATP is meant to help all sectors of U.S. agriculture, including fish and forest product producers, mainly through partnerships with non-profit national and regional organizations.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.