Farm Scoop – March 2019

Dairy Producers Previously Enrolled in the Livestock Gross Margin Program Now Eligible for 2018 Margin Protection Program

Retroactive Enrollment Begins March 25

WASHINGTON, March 22, 2019 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that dairy producers who elected to participate in the Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy Cattle Program (LGM-Dairy) now have the opportunity to participate in the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy) for 2018 coverage. Sign-up will take place March 25 through May 10, 2019.

Producers enrolled in 2018 LGM-Dairy, administered by USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA), previously were determined by the 2014 Farm Bill to be ineligible for coverage under MPP-Dairy, a safety net program available through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA).

“The 2018 Farm Bill included substantial changes to USDA dairy programs,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “This includes the ability for producers with LGM coverage to retroactively enroll in MPP-Dairy for 2018. It also integrated recent improvements to the MPP-Dairy in the new Dairy Margin Coverage program, beginning with the 2019 calendar year.”

The MPP-Dairy program offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the national all-milk price and the national average feed cost — the margin — falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producers in a dairy operation. LGM-Dairy is an insurance product that provides protection when feed costs rise or milk prices drop. The gross margin is the market value of milk minus feed costs.

This retroactive sign-up is only for dairy producers with 2018 LGM coverage who produced and commercially marketed milk in 2018 but did not obtain full year MPP-Dairy coverage. FSA will notify eligible producers by postcard and provide a one-time payment for all of the months in 2018 that had margins triggering MPP-Dairy assistance.

“I’m pleased that dairy producers will now be able to take advantage of enrolling in both Livestock Gross Margin and the Margin Protection Program for 2018 coverage,” RMA Administrator Martin Barbre said. “The 2018 Farm Bill gave dairy producers more options like these and when combined with the new Dairy Protection Program offered by RMA, that means more overall coverage for dairy producers.”

Eligible producers can enroll during the sign-up period at their local USDA service center. To locate your office, visit

Maine Maple Sunday

36th Annual Maine Maple Sunday® Occurs Statewide This Weekend

Members of Maine Maple Producers Association, and licensed sugarhouses across Maine invite the public for a behind-the-scenes look at making Maine’s Official Sweetener.

“Maine Maple Producers are waiting to welcome the public to their sugarhouses to see demonstrations on how syrup is made and taste samples of syrup and foods made with syrup. Many farms also offer games, activities, treats, sugarbush tours, music, and so much more,” says Kathy Hopkins.

Maine Maple Sunday® occurs Sunday, March 24, 2019. The annual event is held every fourth Sunday of March. Visitors are invited to support Maine’s maple businesses and shop, meet and learn about maple syrup and a variety of maple products that feature real Maine maple syrup as an ingredient.

Many sugarhouses are open Saturday and Sunday, March 23 and 24, 2019, and throughout the season. View a map of participating sugarhouses at:

Lyle Merrifield, President, Maine Maple Producer’s Association:

Maine Maple Video

Maine Maple Statistics:

  • Maine’s industry has an annual statewide economic contribution, including multiplier effects, of an estimated $48.7 million in output, 805 full-and part-time jobs, and $25.1 million in labor income.
  • Maine has the third largest syrup industry in this country. Maine has the largest maple producing county in the country – Somerset County.
  • Maine has around 1.89 million taps.

USDA Seeks Nominations for the Advisory Committee on Agriculture Statistics

WASHINGTON – March 13, 2019 –The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is seeking nominations to the Advisory Committee on Agriculture Statistics. Members of this committee advise the Secretary of Agriculture on the scope, timing and content of periodic agricultural censuses, surveys of agriculture and other related industries. The committee also makes recommendations on the content of agriculture reports and represents the views and data needs of suppliers and users of agricultural statistics.

“The Advisory Committee on Agriculture Statistics serves an important role in guiding NASS programs,” says NASS Administrator, Hubert Hamer. “This diverse panel of experts helps keep us current with data needs in the rapidly changing agricultural environment. Committee members also help keep NASS informed of emerging issues in the agriculture community that can affect our statistical activities.”

The committee, appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture, consists of 22 members representing a broad range of disciplines and interests including, but not limited to, agricultural producers, national farm organizations, agricultural economists, rural sociologists, farm policy analysts, educators, state agricultural organizations, organic agriculture, local and regional food systems, and agriculture-related business and marketing experts. Members serve a staggered two-year term and can serve up to three terms for a total of six consecutive years. The charter was recently renewed and nominations

To submit a nomination, complete the AD-755 form, Advisory Committee or Research and Promotion Background Information, available as a .pdf on the NASS website. are currently being sought.

The completed form must be received by March 29 by one of the following methods:

  • Email: Scan the completed form and email it to:
  • eFax: (855) 493-0445
  • Mail: Nominations may be mailed to Kevin Barnes, Associate Administrator, National Agricultural Statistics Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., South Building Room 5041-A, Washington, DC 20250

For more details see the Federal Register Notice of Invitation for Nominations to the Advisory Committee on Agriculture Statistics or visit the NASS Advisory Committee website.

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.   USDA is an equal opportunity provider, lender, and employer.

USDA NASS-Northeastern Regional Field Office

4050 Crums Mill Rd, Suite 203

Harrisburg, PA  17112-2875

Phone:  717.787.3904

FAX:  717.782.4011


Open Farm Day Registration

We celebrate 30 years of Open Farm Day on July 28, 2019.

Thanks to many of you, 2018 was the highest participation rate in recent years. I hope we can register and promote more farms in 2019; thanks to all of you who completed registration for 2019! We have a good response to date, and I want to make sure folks receive registration information before spring arrives.

In case you didn’t receive the notice sent earlier last month via GovDelivery [Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry ].

Here is the online registration form:

The deadline to register is May 1, 2019. This gives us time to plan and prepare the print insert—The Open Farm Day Passport, and send out posters.

A few items to note for 2019:

  • Returning participants can opt to keep information the same as last year (only dates will change). –Implemented from participant feedback.
  • Registrants can select the quantity of posters to receive from the Department. –Implemented from participant feedback.
  • Have you heard about the media training that UMaine Cooperative Extension will offer in April? It is part of their leadership development programming. Sign up online.
  • View more resources on the Department’s Open Farm Day webpage:

Hello So ME Young Farmers!

The Southern Maine Young Farmers Chapter is hosting an Agricultural Advocacy Workshop to learn about how we can advocate for farmers and the future of farming at the state level. Come on out!

When: Tuesday March 26th, from 8:30am – 12:30pm
Where: Cumberland County Extension Office
75 Clearwater Dr #104, Falmouth, ME 04105

More information and FREE registration here: Agricultural Advocacy WorkshoSMYFC Advocacy Workshop.jpg

Growing Successful Work Teams: An Online Learning Circle for Women Farmers & Managers

two-session online learning circle series
Sponsored by the UVM Extension Women’s Agricultural Network

Location: Online
Dates: March 19 & 26, 10:30-Noon Eastern Time
Registration Deadline: March 12, 2019

Cost: $40

Would you like to learn how to build more productive farm work crews?

In this two-session online learning circle, based on the DiSC Workplace Profile, UVM Extension’s Mary Peabody and will guide you through an assessment of your management preferences, your strengths and stressors. Then, you’ll explore some strategies you can use to be a better communicator and a better manager with employees, customers, and family members who may, or may not, share your work style preferences. Finally, you’ll gain insights into how to bring what you’ve learned back to the farm and use it to build a stronger, more successful crew for the coming season. The registration fee includes your customized DiSC Workplace Profile. The interactive, learning circle format will offer time for discussion and for Q&A. Sessions will be held virtually on two Tuesdays, March 19 & 26, from 10:30 – noon. Sessions will be recorded and additional resources and information will be available.

Register online at: Growing Successful Work Teams: An Online Learning Circle for Women Farmers & Managers

Disability-related accommodations are available. Please contact by March 5 so we may assist you. Limited financial assistance is available to eligible individuals. For questions about scholarships and series details, please contact

This material is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S.D.A., under award numbers 2014-68006-21873 and 2015-70017-23898.

IRS waives estimated tax penalty for farmers, fishermen who file returns and
pay tax by April 15, 2019

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service will waive the estimated tax penalty for any qualifying farmer or fisherman who files his or her 2018 federal income tax return and pays any tax due by Monday, April 15, 2019. The deadline is Wednesday, April 17, 2019, for taxpayers residing in Maine or Massachusetts.

The IRS is providing this relief because, due to certain rule changes, many farmers and fishermen may have difficulty accurately determining their tax liability by the March 1 deadline that usually applies to them. For tax year 2018, an individual who received at least two-thirds of his or her total gross income from farming or fishing during either 2017 or 2018 qualifies as a farmer or fisherman.

To be eligible for the waiver, qualifying taxpayers must attach Form 2210-F, available on, to their 2018 income tax return. This form can be submitted either electronically or on paper. The taxpayer’s name and identifying number, usually a Social Security number, must be entered at the top of the form. The waiver box—Part I, Box A—should be checked. The rest of the form should be left blank.

Further details can be found in Notice 2019-17, posted today on

Part III – Administrative, Procedural, and Miscellaneous

Relief from Addition to Tax for Underpayment of Estimated Income Tax by Individual Farmers and Fishermen

Notice 2019-17


This notice provides a waiver of the addition to tax under section 6654 of the Internal Revenue Code (Code) for underpayment of estimated income tax by qualifying individual farmers and fishermen.


Generally, the Code requires taxpayers to pay federal income taxes as they earn income. To the extent these taxes are not withheld from wages, a taxpayer must pay estimated income tax on a quarterly basis.

Section 6654 provides that, in the case of an individual, estimated income tax is required to be paid in four installments each 25 percent of the required annual payment. Individual taxpayers who fail to make a sufficient and timely payment of estimated income tax are liable for an addition to tax under section 6654(a).

Qualifying farmers and fishermen are subject to special rules requiring them to make only one installment payment due on January 15 of the year following the taxable year. I.R.C. § 6654(i)(1)(A) & (B). A taxpayer qualifies as a farmer or fisherman for the 2018 tax year if at least two-thirds of the taxpayer’s total gross income was from farming or fishing in either 2017 or 2018. See I.R.C. § 6654(i)(2). Qualifying farmers and fishermen who did not make the required estimated tax installment payment by January 15, 2019, are not subject to an addition to tax for failing to pay estimated income tax if they file their returns and pay the full amount of tax reported on the return as payable by March 1, 2019. See I.R.C. § 6654(i)(1)(D).

The Secretary is authorized to waive the section 6654 addition to tax for an underpayment of estimated tax in unusual circumstances to the extent its imposition would be against equity and good conscience. I.R.C. § 6654(e)(3)(A).

Due to certain changes in the rules that affect farmers and fishermen, the Treasury Department and IRS anticipate that farmers and fishermen may have difficulty accurately determining and paying their tax liability for the 2018 taxable year by March 1, 2019. Accordingly, the IRS is providing relief to individual taxpayers who are farmers or fishermen by waiving certain penalties if the requirements set forth in section 3 of this notice are satisfied.


Under the authority granted by section 6654(e)(3)(A), the addition to tax under section 6654 for failure to make an estimated tax payment for the 2018 tax year is waived for any qualifying farmer or fisherman who files his or her 2018 income tax return and pays in full any tax due by April 15, 2019, or by April 17, 2019, for those taxpayers who live in Maine or Massachusetts. Farmers and fishermen requesting this waiver of the addition to tax must attach Form 2210-F, Underpayment of Estimated Tax by Farmers and Fishermen, to their 2018 tax return. The form can be submitted electronically or on paper. The taxpayer’s name and identifying number should be entered at the top of the form, and the waiver box (Part I, Box A) should be checked. The rest of the form should be left blank. Forms, instructions, and other tax assistance are available on The IRS toll-free number for general tax questions is 1-800-829-1040.


The principal author of this notice is Alexander Wu of the Office of the Associate Chief Counsel (Procedure and Administration). For further information, please contact Mr. Wu at (202) 317-6845 (not a toll-free number).