Farm Scoop – March 2020

COVID-19 and Maine Ag FAQ

University of Maine has just launched a site for you to submit your COVID-19 related agriculture questions. Answers will be posted on this FAQ site. Please submit your questions and share with other farmers.

New England Grassroots Environmental Fund

The COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund is for groups of three people minimum, that are community-driven efforts with annual budgets under $100,000, now affected financially by the coronavirus pandemic.  Many farmers markets in Maine could fit the parameters, and probably other multi-farm based marketing groups in the state.  This is a great opportunity to financially support changes to farmers markets that would ensure the safety of your customers and vendors. It could also potentially fund a shift to pick-up/delivery models.  For more information please visit Grassroots Fund.

Interim Guidance for Essential Agriculture Businesses

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry has developed interim guidelines to help answer owner and employee questions about essential agriculture, horticulture, and animal care operations. The department’s website containing a broad range of COVID-19 resources is also available at

American Farmland Trust Farmer Relief Fund

American Farmland Trust will award farmers with cash grants of up to $1,000 each to help them weather the current storm of market disruptions caused by the coronavirus crisis. Eligible applicants include any small and mid-size direct-market producers. These are defined as producers with annual gross revenue of between $10,000 and $1 million from sales at farmers markets and/or direct sales to restaurants, caterers, schools, stores, or makers who use farm products as inputs. If this describes your farming operation, apply here.

The initial application period goes until April 23, with grants beginning to be made by May 1.  

Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Covid-19 Resource Page

DACF has created a resource page to assist farmers during the Covid-19 crisis. Please visit the DACF COVID-19 resource page for more information.  This page will be regularly update with up to date information.

USDA Implements Immediate Measures to Help Rural Residents, Businesses and Communities Affected by COVID-19

USDA Rural Development has taken a number of immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses and communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Rural Development will keep our customers, partners, and stakeholders continuously updated as more actions are taken to better serve rural America.  For more information please visit opportunities for immediate relief.

Opportunity from Cornell

Cornell is offering some of their regular programs for free. This offer is only for a limited. The link to the small farm courses is here

University of New Hampshire Covid-19 Resources

UNH has put together a list of Covid-19 resources. A lot of similar resources from our UMaine list, but there are some new ones too.

New Directory for Local Farm Product and Pick-Up Options

Many farms across Maine have added alternative ways customers can obtain farm products to accommodate for social distancing in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Maine farmers are updating this database in an effort to increase public access to their farm products during this time. You can view the website and map at this farm product directory webpage

Please connect with farms directly using the contact information provided in the directory.

Add Your Farm to this New Online Marketing List

Many farms across Maine have added alternative ways customers can obtain farm products to accommodate for social distancing in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Maine farmers are updating this new database in an effort to increase public access to their farm products during this time. You can view the website and map at this farm product directory webpage.

To have your farm added or to update directory information:

What Ag Producers Need to Know About COVID19

Coronavirus has gained attention worldwide as an emerging infectious disease. This webinar is intended to share evidence-based information about COVID19 and to help agricultural producers identify strategies for responding on their farm.
Intended Audience
Agricultural producers, ranchers, farmers, farmworkers, veterinarians, Extension personnel, rural health care providers, and others who work in agriculture.
At the end of the webinar, participants will be able to:
  • be aware of common signs and symptoms of COVID-19
  • understand the transmission risk to yourself, employees, and potentially your animals
  • describe infection control principles and appropriate strategies for limiting disease transmission
  • locate resources and training for ag producers related to infection prevention

USDA Continues Focus on Service During COVID-19 Outbreak

The U.S. Department of Agriculture continues to be open for business to provide services to the American people.  While USDA has moved to an enhanced telework posture during the Coronavirus National Emergency, services to the American people continue.  For additional information, please visit the press release here.

Low-Interest Federal Disaster Loans from U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to Maine small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza announced today. SBA acted under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, to declare a disaster following a request received from Gov. Janet T. Mills on March 13, 2020.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX  76155.

The deadline to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan is Dec. 16, 2020.

Covid-19 Farmer Survey, Information and Support

As Covid-19 makes its way through our community, we acknowledge that farmers are faced with unique challenges in an unpredictable market. The following survey was made in collaboration with agricultural organizations agencies across the state to better assess the impact this virus is having on Maine farms. This will provide a sense of how we can best support you through direct assistance and policy in this changing time.

Covid-19 Maine Farmer Survey

The following link provides a streamlined list of resources to support farmers in the Covid-19 pandemic. This includes resources around food safety, recommendations and federal support programs. It is updated daily by agricultural organizations agencies across the state including the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, the Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry, and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. If you would like something added to this list as a resource, please email

Covid-19 Maine Farmer Information and Support

Considerations for Fruit and Vegetable Growers Related to Covid-19

The University of Vermont Extension has put together some helpful information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and how vegetable and fruit farmers can address the issue on their farms and within their markets.

See the link below:

Dig into Your Day…with Cover Crops & Conservation

The University of Vermont Extension is offering a FREE Webinar Series!

This webinar series will discuss current research on cover crops and conservation in various cropping systems, interesting findings, and common obstacles to implementing a successful cover crop and no-till program. Each webinar will be 30 minutes and will end with a 15 minute Q&A session.

Dates & Topics Listed Below:

Monday, 3/24/20 9am to 9:45am – Precision Sustainable Agriculture with Steve Mirsky, United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service

Thursday, 3/26/20 9am to 9:45am – Cover Crops in the Corn/Soybean Rotation with Peter Tomlinson, Kansas State University, Department of Agronomy

*Monday, 3/30/20 9am to 9:45am – Cover Crop Profitability with Rob Meyers, University of Missouri Extension, Agricultural Engineering

*Thursday, 4/2/20 9am to 9:45am – No-Till and Cover Crops in Organic Systems with Joel Gruver, Western Illinois University, School of Agriculture

*Monday, 4/6/20 9am to 9:45am – No-Till and Cover Crops in Vegetable Systems (Organic Focus) with Natalie Lounsbury, University of New Hampshire, Earth and Environmental Sciences

*Thursday, 4/9/20 9am to 9:45am – Stewarding the Birthplace of No-Till with John Young, Young Family Farm, Innovative No-Till Farmer from Herndon, Kentucky

Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) credits are available through online registration or by emailing your CCA number and farm name to within 2 days of the webinar.

Pre-register online at More details on the attached flier.

USDA to Open Signup March 16 for Conservation Reserve Program Grasslands

Farmers and ranchers may apply to enroll grasslands in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Grasslands signup beginning March 16. The signup runs through May 15.

Through CRP Grasslands, participants retain the right to conduct common grazing practices, such as haying, mowing or harvesting seed from the enrolled land. Timing of some activities may be restricted by the primary nesting season of birds.

Participants will receive an annual rental payment and may receive up to 50 percent cost-share for establishing approved conservation practices. The duration of the CRP contract is either 10 or 15 years. FSA will rank applications using a number of factors including existence of expiring CRP land, threat of conversion or development, existing grassland, and predominance of native species cover, and cost.

For more information or to enroll in CRP Grasslands, contact your local FSA county office or visit To locate your local FSA office, visit

National Young Farmers Coalition Young Farmer Grant Program

The National Young Farmers Coalition (Young Farmers) is launching a new grant program to help young and beginning farmers and ranchers start-up and grow their businesses. In 2020 Young Farmers will provide 50 farmers and ranchers $5,000 grants. Grant recipients will also receive a one-year membership to the National Young Farmers Coalition. Funds, once awarded, may be used to match other grant opportunities.  For more information please visit young farmers grant program.

Soil health focus group for commercial vegetable growers

Join the University of Maine and University of New Hampshire for a focus group on March 17 about farm management practices that build soil health. The purpose of this focus group is to better understand challenges and barriers to adoption of practices including cover cropping, diversified rotations, and reduced tillage that can contribute to climate resilience. The  focus group will be held at the Lisbon Falls Cooperative Extension Office from 12:00-2:30. Lunch will be provided and participating farmers will be compensated $100 for their time. If you are interested in participating in this focus group or have any questions, please contact Natalie Lounsbury at or 207-577-4708. Focus group participation is limited to 10 farms and compensation is per farm, not per individual.