Announcements

PUBLIC NOTICE

RFP#201904076Maine Farms for the Future Program: Phase 1 – Business Plan Development grants and Phase 2 – Investment Support grant and low-interest rate for Agricultural Marketing Loan Fund (AMLF)

The State of Maine, Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Bureau of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources, is required to offer grants for business plan development (Phase 1) and investment support (Phase 2) as authorized in the Maine Farms for the Future Program (Title7, MRS Chapter 10-B).

For the current 2019 application, and beyond, the RFP, current applications, and Question & Answer Summary and all revisions/amendments related to this RFP can be obtained at the following website: https://www.maine.gov/dafs/bbm/procurementservices/vendors/grants

Refer to the appropriate application for information pertaining to Pre-Application Conference location, time and date, if applicable.

Applications must be submitted to the State of Maine Division of Procurement Services, via e-mail, to the following email address: Proposals@maine.gov. Application submissions must be received no later than 4:00 pm, local time, on Monday, June 24th, 2019, when they will be opened. Future applications may be submitted per the semi-annual submission deadlines. Applications will be opened at the Burton M. Cross Office Building, 111 Sewall Street – 4th Floor, Augusta, Maine. Applications not submitted to the Division of Procurement Services’ aforementioned email address will not be considered for contract award.

Also see:


Mid-Coast Farmers Alliance Releases
Commercial Food Buyers Survey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Aaron Englander, aenglander@mcht.org, 207-236-2739

PSA Mid Coast Photo credit: Dharma Farm, Washington, ME

Photo credit: Dharma Farm, Washington, ME

PSA:

The Mid Coast Farmers Alliance with the support of Maine Farmland Trust invites regional food buyers to complete a survey assessing their needs for local produce. This survey will help connect local food buyers to the products they need and inform marketing decisions for local growers. All commercial Food Buyers from ‘mom and pop’ general stores to restaurants, to grocers and larger institutions like schools and hospitals are encouraged to participate. The Buyers Survey, which launched on March 21st, can be accessed on-line here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7P69FDX and will be open until June 1st.

The Mid Coast Farmers Alliance is an informal group of growers and agricultural service providers who have been meeting over the past several years to address common issues for farmers. In 2016 we conducted a preliminary Producer’s Survey completed by 35 growers. Over 50% of respondents were interested in expanding their operations and collaborating with other growers to reach a wider range of markets. On completion of the buyers survey, the Alliance plans to conduct an updated producers survey.

The Mid Coast Farmers Alliance buyers survey is co-sponsored by Maine Coast Heritage Trust/Aldermere Farm, Knox-Lincoln Soil & Water Conservation District, Time and Tide Resource Conservation & Development.  For questions or more information contact Aaron Englander at aenglander@mcht.org; 207-236-2639.

The Mid Coast Farmers Alliance with the support of Maine Farmland Trust invites regional food buyers to complete a survey assessing their needs for local produce. This survey will help connect local food buyers to the products they need and inform marketing decisions for local growers. All commercial Food Buyers from ‘mom and pop’ general stores to restaurants, to grocers and larger institutions like schools and hospitals are encouraged to participate. The Buyers Survey, which launched March 21st, can be accessed on-line at http://www.aldermere.org and will be open until June 1st.

For questions or more information contact Aaron Englander at aenglander@mcht.org; 207-236-2639.


2019! Communication Kick-Off! Potluck! Social!

WEDNESDAY, MAY 22nd 5:00 PM AT VILLAGESIDE FARM , 122 BELFAST ROAD, FREEDOM, ME 04941

Join Polly and Prentice at Villageside Farm for a farm tour and social gathering to kick off the FTP season. You’ll learn communication skills to improve your experience as an apprentice this season. You will receive an overview of MOFGA’s Apprenticeship Program, opportunities and support resources available to apprentices and new farmers, and what to expect for the season ahead. Most importantly, it’s a great chance to start meeting apprentices from other farms across the state. We look forward to seeing you there! Potluck to follow.


Soil Health and Intensified Vegetable Growing

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12th, 5:00 PM AT FRITH FARM, 61 ASH SWAMP ROAD, SCARBOROUGH, ME 04074

Daniel Mays, farmer at Frith Farm produces diversified vegetables on 14 acres in a no-till system. Come discuss soil health management strategies including cover cropping, tarping, and permanent bed systems. How to produce a bounty of organic produce in compact spaces will also be explored. Potluck to follow.


Northeast Mechanical Weed Control Expo – September 12, 2019

SAVE THE DATE

9:00 am to 4:00 pm

University of Maine Rogers Farm
914 Bennoch Road
Old Town, ME  04468

The University of Maine is hosting a mechanical weed control field day at the Rogers Farm on September 12, 2019.  This event will feature tool demonstrations and research results for both vegetable and grain production. Hand-tools, walk-behind tractors/tool carriers, and tractor-mounted equipment will be on display and demonstrated in the field, including equipment from Terrateck® and Johnny’s Selected Seeds, HAK®, Tilmor®, K.U.L.T.-Kress®, Garford®, Trefler® Harrows, and Franklin Robotics.  We invite farmers of all levels of experience and production to participate.

  • Research presentations and posters
  • Field demonstrations of tools for small-, mid- and large-scale growers
  • Friendly competition testing your weed knowledge and cultivation skills!
  • Connect with fellow growers, researchers, and industry representatives

Stay tuned for more details and information on how to register!

The Northeast Mechanical Weed Control Expo is supported by grants from the USDA-NIFA Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) and the Northeastern IPM Center.

Questions? Equipment vendor interested in participating?

Contact Peyton Ginakes at peyton.ginakes@maine.edu


AgriSafe Webinar:  Ergonomic Safety for Farm Women

FMI and to register.
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USDA Announces March Income over Feed Cost Margin Triggers Third 2019

Farm Service Agency
1400 Independence Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20250

www.fsa.usda.gov

Contact: FPAC.BC.Press@usda.gov

Dairy Safety Net Payment

Dairy Margin Coverage Program Sign-Up Begins June 17

WASHINGTON, May 8, 2019 — USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced this week that the March 2019 income over feed cost margin was $8.85 per hundredweight (cwt.), triggering the third payment for dairy producers who purchase the appropriate level of coverage under the new Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.

DMC, which replaces the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy), offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.

“I encourage all dairy operations to sign up for DMC when we begin accepting applications in June,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “Under certain coverage levels, the amount to be paid to dairy farmers for the months of January, February and March already exceed the cost of the premium.”

The signup period for DMC opens June 17, 2019. Dairy producers who elect a DMC coverage level between $9 and $9.50 would be eligible for a payment for January, February and March 2019.

For example, a dairy operation that chooses to enroll an established production history of 3 million pounds (30,000 cwt.) and elects the $9.50 coverage level on 95 percent of production would receive $1,543.75 for March.

 Sample calculation:

$9.50 – $8.85 margin = $0.65 difference

$0.65 x 95 percent of production x 2,500 cwt. (30,000 cwt./12) = $1,543.75

DMC premiums are paid annually. The calculated annual premium for coverage at $9.50 on 95 percent of a 3-million-pound production history for this example would be $4,275.

Sample calculation:

3,000,000 x 95 percent = 2,850,000/100 = 28,500 cwt. x 0.150 premium fee = $4,275

The dairy operation in the example calculation will pay $4,275 in total premium payments for all of 2019 and receive $8,170 in DMC payments for January, February and March combined. Additional payments will be made if calculated margins remain below the $9.50/cwt level.

All participants are also required to pay an annual $100 administrative fee in addition to any premium, and payments will be subject to a 6.2 percent reduction to account for federal sequestration.

Operations making a one-time election to participate in DMC through 2023 are eligible to receive a 25 percent discount on their premium for the existing margin coverage rates. For the example above, this would reduce the annual premium by $1,068.75.

 About DMC

On December 20, 2018, President Trump signed into law the 2018 Farm Bill, which provides support, certainty and stability to our nation’s farmers, ranchers and land stewards by enhancing farm support programs, improving crop insurance, maintaining disaster programs and promoting and supporting voluntary conservation. FSA is committed to implementing these changes as quickly and effectively as possible, and today’s updates are part of meeting that goal.

Recently, FSA announced the availability of the DMC decision support tool as well as repayment options for producers who were enrolled in MPP-Dairy.

For DMC signup, eligibility and related dairy program information, visit the DMC webpage or contact your local USDA service center. To locate your local FSA office, visit farmers.gov/service-locator.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.


USDA Accepting Applications to Help Cover Producers’ Costs for Organic Certification

Farm Service Agency
1400 Independence Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20250

www.fsa.usda.gov

Contact: FPAC.BC.Press@usda.gov

 WASHINGTON, May 6, 2019 – USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that organic producers and handlers can apply for federal funds to assist with the cost of receiving and maintaining organic certification through the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP). Applications for fiscal 2019 funding are due Oct. 31, 2019.

“Producers can visit their local FSA county offices to apply for up to 75 percent of the cost of organic certification,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “This also gives organic producers an opportunity to learn about other valuable USDA resources, like farm loans and conservation assistance, that can help them succeed. Organic producers can take advantage of a variety of USDA programs from help with field buffers to routine operating expenses to storage and handling equipment.”

OCCSP received continued support through the 2018 Farm Bill. It provides cost-share assistance to producers and handlers of agricultural products for the costs of obtaining or maintaining organic certification under the USDA’s National Organic Program. Eligible producers include any certified producers or handlers who have paid organic certification fees to a USDA-accredited certifying agent. Eligible expenses for cost-share reimbursement include application fees, inspection costs, fees related to equivalency agreement and arrangement requirements, travel expenses for inspectors, user fees, sales assessments and postage.

Certified producers and handlers are eligible to receive reimbursement for up to 75 percent of certification costs each year, up to a maximum of $750 per certification scope, including crops, livestock, wild crops, handling and state organic program fees.

Opportunities for State Agencies

Today’s announcement also includes the opportunity for state agencies to apply for grant agreements to administer the OCCSP program in fiscal 2019. State agencies that establish agreements for fiscal year 2019 may be able to extend their agreements and receive additional funds to administer the program in future years.

FSA will accept applications from state agencies for fiscal year 2019 funding for cost-share assistance through May 29, 2019.

More Information

To learn more about organic certification cost share, please visit the OCCSP webpage, view the notice of funds availability on the Federal Register, or contact your FSA county office. To learn more about USDA support for organic agriculture, visit usda.gov/organic.

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


30th Anniversary of Open Farm Day

Have you received an invite to showcase your farm in the 30th Anniversary of Open Farm Day on Sunday, July 28, 2019?

Here is the link to the online registration form: https://www.maine.gov/dacf/ard/market_promotion/open_farm_day-signup.shtml

Please complete this by May 13, 2019 to be included in the promotions by deadline. J

Additional resources for farmers are here: https://www.maine.gov/dacf/ard/market_promotion/open_farm_day.shtml

If you have questions, or need help, please don’t hesitate to ask. We currently have the greatest number of participating farms in 22 years, and I’m looking forward to helping farmers and the public make connections to support Maine agriculture.

Thanks for your efforts each day, I hope you’ll join us as we aim to promote Maine farms, and help visitors learn about your efforts!


May 6, 2019

Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
Bureau of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources

RFP#201904076

Maine Farms for the Future Program: Phase 1 – Business Plan Development grants and Phase 2 – Investment Support grant and low-interest rate for Agricultural Marketing Loan Fund (AMLF)

The State of Maine, Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Bureau of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources, is required to offer grants for business plan development (Phase 1) and investment support (Phase 2) as authorized in the Maine Farms for the Future Program (Title7, MRS Chapter 10-B).

For the current 2019 application, and beyond, the RFP, current applications, and Question & Answer Summary and all revisions/amendments related to this RFP can be obtained at the following website: https://www.maine.gov/dafs/bbm/procurementservices/vendors/grants

Refer to the appropriate application for information pertaining to Pre-Application Conference location, time and date, if applicable.

Applications must be submitted to the State of Maine Division of Procurement Services, via e-mail, to the following email address: Proposals@maine.gov. Application submissions must be received no later than 4:00 pm, local time, on Monday, June 24, 2019, when they will be opened. Future applications may be submitted per the semi-annual submission deadlines. Applications will be opened at the Burton M. Cross Office Building, 111 Sewall Street – 4thFloor, Augusta, Maine. Applications not submitted to the Division of Procurement Services’ aforementioned email address will not be considered for contract award.

Also see:

Contact:
Stephanie Gilbert, (207) 287-7520
Farm Viability and Farmland Protection Specialist


Shared-Use Farm Equipment (SUFE) Program

Through this service, MOFGA provides an opportunity for farmers to borrow farm equipment at a reasonable cost. Farmers can join for an annual enrollment fee of $100, giving them access to the following equipment:

SEEDBED CULTIVATOR
2-SHANK SUBSOILER
PLASTIC MULCH LAYER
CUSTOM RIDGE TILLER
CUSTOM STRIP TILLER
3D PRINTER

How to participate:

1. Fill out the enrollment form and send it with the annual enrollment fee (see link below)
2. Attend an equipment training
3. Schedule equipment use via the online Google calendar or by contacting MOFGA4. Pick up and return the equipment to MOFGA according to scheduleContact Info:
Enrollment
Bo Dennis
(207) 568-6016
bdennis@mofga.org
Scheduling, logistics
John McIntire
568-7597, 568-6015
johnm@mofga.orgDownload the enrollment form here (PDF)

Maine Migrant Education Program

The Maine Migrant Education Program (MEP) provides free educational assistance to families who move to work in agriculture or fishing. Children in these families often struggle to succeed academically because of frequent moves, poverty, and other barriers. The MEP provides services to help migratory children and youth (ages 0-20) succeed in school by maintaining their grade level and meeting high academic standards.. Program staff also advocate for families and connect them with other necessary services.
The Maine Migrant Education Program is administered by Mano en Mano / Hand in Hand, a nonprofit with offices Downeast and in Portland. Mano en Mano staff located throughout Maine work closely with families in their region providing services such as tutoring and advocacy.
To qualify for Migrant Education services, a family must have moved from one school district to another within the past three years to do seasonal or temporary work in agriculture or fishing.  We work with families who move from one part of Maine to another, to Maine from other states, or to Maine from other countries. If you or an employee of yours has moved within the past three years to do agriculture or fishing work and are interested in receiving free educational support, you may contact:
Sean Douglas
Enrollment and Outreach Coordinator
(207) 598-8925
sdouglas@manomaine.org

Spring Growth Conference 2019image.png
April 27, 2019
Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
MOFGA’s Common Ground Education Center, Unity

Fees: $20 for MOFGA members and certified organic growers; $30 for non-members
(Note: This event is freefor current MOFGA apprenticeship host farms and Jp’s.) Click here to register!

Lunch is included

The program at Spring Growth this year will help you navigate the legalities of hiring and managing farm labor. Learn from other farmers about their farm labor models. Come talk about farm labor law, different labor model strategies and how to adjust to labor shortages. The day will feature two panels, including one of farmers with different labor strategies, and one of service providers who will speak about labor law. A round table portion of the day will focus on tips and tricks for different labor models.


MOFGA’S FARM TRAINING PROJECT

Designed to augment the on-farm learning of the farm apprenticeship program, MOFGA’s Farm Training Project (FTP) workshops follow an informal format, usually beginning with a farm tour followed by a presentation on the topic of the day. Participants are invited to stay for a potluck supper – bring a dish or something fresh from the farm to share (please bring your own place setting as well). All events are held rain or shine and are free and open to the public. For details or directions to workshops, call 568-4142, email: education@mofga.org , or check the FTP website .

ORGANIC FARMING: PRINCIPLES & PRACTICES

BASIC LIVESTOCK HANDLING

WEDNESDAY, MAY 1, 10 AM-3 PM AT MISTY BROOK FARM , ALBION

Knowing proper handling and first aid techniques can save lots of money and grief when adding livestock to the farm. Jacki Perkins, along-time homesteader and MOFGA’s Dairy Specialist, will be at Misty Brook Farm in Albion, Maine teaching livestock handling. Misty Brook Farm farm boasts a variety of amiable livestock, which are accustomed to intensive handling, and uniquely suited as a training tool. Everyone will leave the session with the confidence they need to safely handle animals and completing this training will benefit current or future employment. Please register for this event.

ORGANIC FARMING: PRINCIPLES & PRACTICES

CROP PRODUCTION

WEDNESDAY, MAY 10, 10 AM-3 PM AT MOFGA’S COMMON GROUND EDUCATION CENTER , UNITY

Join crop specialist, Caleb Goosen from MOFGA’s Agricultural Services Department and Alex Either, MOFGA’s farmer in residence of Killdeer Croft Farm, for a one-day introductory course in organic crop farming. Caleb will cover theory and best practices for organic management of soils and crops. After lunch Alex and Caleb will tour the MOFGA’s grounds to discuss farm plantings. Please register for this event.

MOFGA’S FARM TRAINING PROJECT

Designed to augment the on-farm learning of the farm apprenticeship program, MOFGA’s Farm Training Project (FTP) workshops follow an informal format, usually beginning with a farm tour followed by a presentation on the topic of the day. Participants are invited to stay for a potluck supper – bring a dish or something fresh from the farm to share (please bring your own place setting as well). All events are held rain or shine and are free and open to the public. For details or directions to workshops, call 568-4142, email: education@mofga.org , or check the FTP website .

ORGANIC FARMING: PRINCIPLES & PRACTICES

BASIC LIVESTOCK HANDLING

WEDNESDAY, MAY 1, 10 AM-3 PM AT MISTY BROOK FARM , ALBION

Knowing proper handling and first aid techniques can save lots of money and grief when adding livestock to the farm. Jacki Perkins, along-time homesteader and MOFGA’s Dairy Specialist, will be at Misty Brook Farm in Albion, Maine teaching livestock handling. Misty Brook Farm farm boasts a variety of amiable livestock, which are accustomed to intensive handling, and uniquely suited as a training tool. Everyone will leave the session with the confidence they need to safely handle animals and completing this training will benefit current or future employment. Please register for this event.

ORGANIC FARMING: PRINCIPLES & PRACTICES

CROP PRODUCTION

WEDNESDAY, MAY 10, 10 AM-3 PM AT MOFGA’S COMMON GROUND EDUCATION CENTER , UNITY

Join crop specialist, Caleb Goosen from MOFGA’s Agricultural Services Department and Alex Either, MOFGA’s farmer in residence of Killdeer Croft Farm, for a one-day introductory course in organic crop farming. Caleb will cover theory and best practices for organic management of soils and crops. After lunch Alex and Caleb will tour the MOFGA’s grounds to discuss farm plantings. Please register for this event.


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 farmers.gov.


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: https://mainemapleproducers.com/maine-maple-sunday

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: HQOA@nass.usda.gov
  • 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

Email:  nassrfoner@nass.usda.gov


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 DACF@subscriptions.maine.gov ].

Here is the online registration form: https://bit.ly/MaineOpenFarmDaySignUp

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: www.maine.gov/dacf/openfarmday

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 Mary.Peabody@uvm.edu 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 beth.holtzman@uvm.edu.

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 IRS.gov, 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 IRS.gov.

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

SECTION 1. PURPOSE

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.

SECTION 2. BACKGROUND

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.

SECTION 3. WAIVER OF UNDERPAYMENT OF ESTIMATED INCOME TAX

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 IRS.gov. The IRS toll-free number for general tax questions is 1-800-829-1040.

SECTION 4. CONTACT INFORMATION

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).


Open Farm Day

Open Farm Day Participants

Register Today for Open Farm Day!

Are you a Maine farm who wants to help the public learn more about your farm’s role in agriculture?

Are you able to host visitors to your farm Sunday, July 28, 2019? 

We invite you to be a host for the 30th Anniversary of Maine’s Open Farm Day!

Complete Your Registration for Open Farm Day 2019

Maine farms are invited to host meet and greets, tours, and workshops, between farmers and the public at the 30th Open Farm Day.

Please submit your registration before May 1, 2019.

New for 2019!

  • Returning participants may opt to use data from 2018 for 2019 promotions.Please review the 2018 Open Farm Day Passport . Select to keep the same information, or type new information into the form. 
  • Tell us how many posters you would like! We will mail them to you to display.

Important notes:

  • Information is published in the Open Farm Day Passport, a newspaper insert that helps visitors find a participating farm, and to an interactive online map.
  • Resources for farmers are available to help host farms plan.
  • Get social! Share your participation with #MaineOpenFarmDay.
  • Registration questions? Please email the Open Farm Day coordinator.
What host farms said about their 2018 Event:

“It gave us a chance to trial some shoulder season revenue generating ideas.” 

“Open Farm Day helps us keep in touch with our retail roots and promotes our position as a leading flower provider for our e-commerce and mail-order clients.” 

“This gives us additional exposure, at almost no expense.” 

“We have a farm stand and it was a good way to get people to go through and at least browse. We did experience a spike in sales that day.” 

“It was a fun, informative time for all!! Some came just to see the animals, some came and shopped as well.” 

“Maine Open Farm Day enables us to tell our story and enlighten people about what Maine Farmers do and how important Maine Farms are to all of us.”

What Visitors Told Farmers About Open Farm Day 2018:

“They were very appreciative that we opened the farm for visitors. They enjoyed all the different things to see and the people to ask questions to at each station. Most people stayed several hours. …Many visitors had come before and look forward to open farm day.”

“They enjoyed themselves although it was pouring rain.”

“They learned something new about crops and production happening in Maine.”

“Thank you for having us! Thank you for the education!”

Visitors’ Favorite Parts About Open Farm Day 2018:

  • Supporting local farms and businesses
  • Meeting farmers
  • Learning about Maine Farms
  • Learning where to purchase Maine products–beyond farmstands
  • Buying Maine products–at farmstands
  • Making it an annual tradition

QuickBooks for Farms Workshop

QuickBooks for Farms is being offered in four evening sessions by SCORE Maine and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. If possible, please include this information in upcoming newsletters or emails. Thank you!
QuickBooks for Farms
When
Monday April 8th 6:00-8;30 PM
Wed.  April 10th 6:00-8:30 PM
Monday April 15th 6:00-8:30 PM
Wed.  April 17th 6:00-8:30 PM
Where

Penobscot County Cooperative Extension
307 Maine Avenue
Bangor, ME 04401
Driving Directions

SCORE and UMaine Cooperative Extension are pleased to announce a FREE four-part workshop on QuickBooks Basics for Farms beginning on Monday, April 8th!  Please note the class is for QuickBooks Desktop Pro version and not for the on-line version of QuickBooks.  If you have the on-line version you will still benefit from the classes but the hands-on exercises are for the desktop version.

 

QuickBooks is recognized as the #1 accounting solution for small businesses to help with invoicing, tracking sales and expenses, and handling bookkeeping requirements for tax preparation, as well as management of the business.
These 2 1/2 hour, 4 evening workshops (April 8th, 10th, 15th and 17th) will help you better understand how to activate and use the key features found in QuickBooks so you can process customer invoices & payments, record sales and sales taxes, generate reports to help you manage your business and keep your accounting records up-to-date and accurate.  If you are a first time user or just need hands on help with your questions, this is the workshop for you!
Please click on the Get More Information link below for complete course details, the presenter bio and to register.
Space is limited, so please register by Wednesday, April 3rd. Please note that a PC laptop will be needed. If you do not have QuickBooks already installed on your PC laptop, we will provide a temporary QuickBooks Accountant 2018 license for these four classes.  If you need the temporary QuickBooks installation, please come to the first class at 5:00 PM to allow time for installation.
Register Now!
Please contact either Erin Roche at Cooperative Extension or Stephen Veazey at SCORE Maine if you have any questions about the event or how to register.
Thank you for your interest in this program.  We look forward to seeing you at the workshop.
Sincerely,
Stephen Veazey and Erin Roche erin.roche@maine.edu
SCORE Maine
207-743-7459

Climate Change Adaptation Research for Beginning Farmers

Researchers at UMaine have a new project focused on collaborating with farmers to develop resources for better adapting to changes in weather and climate. We are currently looking for beginning farmers to participate in interviews during March-April 2019.
Interested farmers should fill out this google form (https://goo.gl/forms/zA6vH1XPFxNo2zxK2). Those chosen to participate will be compensated with $50 Visa gift cards for their time. More information about the project is included in the attached flier.

Learn to graft fruit trees with UMaine Extension March 30

Lisbon Falls, Maine—University of Maine Cooperative Extension and FEDCO Trees are offering a tree grafting workshop March 30, 9 a.m.–noon, at the UMaine Extension office, 24 Main Street, Lisbon Falls.

This hands-on workshop will include discussion and demonstration of the proper techniques for grafting fruit trees and supplies for each participant to graft a pear tree to take home. Southern Maine Community College instructor and retired longtime Bath city arborist Thomas Hoerth will lead the workshop.

The $55 fee includes all supplies; pre-registration is required. Register online. Class is limited to 20 participants. One MELNA [Maine Landscape and Nursery Association] and three ISA [International Society of Arboriculture] credits are available. For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact Melissa Freeman, 207.353.5550; melissa.freeman@maine.edu.


Legal Food Hub Winter Webinar Series for Farmers, Food Entrepreneurs and Food Focused Organizations

The Legal Food Hub is pleased to invite you to its upcoming Winter Webinar Series for farmers, food entrepreneurs, food-focused organizations, and anyone else who has an interest in the legal framework of the food system. Please see the attached flyer for more details and links to register for each webinar. After airing, the webinars will be made available online at legalfoodhub.org.

Tune in next week to two webinars:

Tuesday, 2/26, 12 PM ESTEntity Governance for Non-Profits (Transactional Law Clinics of Harvard Law School)

Although being involved with a non-profit organization can be very fulfilling, both personally and professionally, the law and best practices regarding its governance can be confusing. This webinar provides a brief introduction to non-profit and charitable organizations, and addresses the duties and responsibilities for running such an organization including the role of the Board, management and ongoing state and federal filing responsibilities.

Register here

Wednesday, 2/27, 12 PM ESTSelected Topics from the FSMA Produce Safety Rule (Sumana Chintapalli, Attorney, Law Office of Sumana Chintapalli, LLC, and Lori Pivarnik University of Rhode Island)

This webinar will provide a brief discussion of certain portions of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule, touching on the basic framework, a few of the standards, and an overview of coverage and exemptions. This introductory conversation is a good starting point and an opportunity for those unfamiliar to become better acquainted with the Produce Safety Rule.

Register here

Coming up in March, we have three more webinars to round out the series:

Tuesday, 3/4, 12 PM ESTLegal Considerations of Agricultural Easements (Beth Boepple, BCM Environmental and Land Law, PLLC)

Tuesday, 3/12, 12 PM ESTEmployment Law for Farmers in Rhode Island (Erica Kyzmir-McKeon, CLF Senior Fellow & Attorney, and Gina A. DiCenso, Attorney at Law

Tuesday, 3/19, 12 PM ESTStudent Loan Basics for Farmers (Erica Kyzmir-McKeon, CLF Senior Fellow & Attorney, and Deanna Loonin, Attorney, Project on Predatory Student Lending at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School)

And, you can watch the recording of Words Matter: Protecting Your Trademarks and Copyrights (Mary Rose Scozzafava, CLF Senior Fellow, former Partner, WilmerHale) here. In this webinar, find out what you can do to protect your market brand and avoid problems with others. This webinar will walk through choosing and registering your business name as a trademark, and provide tips on avoiding pitfalls and protecting your IP on your website.


Maine Department of Education Seeks Farmers and Food Producers

The Maine Department of Education Child Nutrition Program is excited to announce the launch of Maine’s Harvest of the Month (HOM) Program, piloting in Spring of 2019. The program is a nationwide marketing campaign promoting the use of seasonally available, local products in schools, institutions, and communities. Each month, a different Maine product will be highlighted and participating schools will pledge to serve the product and promote it through educational materials and activities.

With over 115 schools signed up to participate so far, the DOE now seeks Maine farms, producers, and distributors to sign up to provide local HOM products. To help Food Service Directors successfully source each month’s product, a list of participating producers is being created to help them connect with local producers. Businesses providing HOM products to schools have the chance to be highlighted on the DOE website, HOM social media, etc. If you are interested in more information, contact Jenn So at jenn.so@maine.gov or sign up at www.maine.gov/doe/harvestofthemonth/producers.


What do entry-level beef cattle farmers need to know to be successful in New England?

Regional universities and technical schools are updating their programs to make sure that our future beef farmers have the knowledge, skills, and training experiences needed to meet region-specific demands and challenges in the beef industry.

We need your input in a roughly 20-minute New England Beef Farmer Skills Survey by March 3, 2019 — a vital contribution to the future of the industry in New England.

Participation is voluntary, and personally identifiable information is not collected with responses.

We expect survey findings to benefit our region’s beef cattle industry by creating a greater pool of well-prepared young farmers: (1) to serve as apprentices or employees, (2) to expand the infrastructure of the beef industry in New England, and (3) to purchase land, animals, and equipment from farmers considering retirement without family successors.

To participate in this survey, please go to www.vasci.umass.edu and click on “New England Beef Farmer Skills Survey.”

If you would prefer to complete a paper survey, please contact Dr. Katie Beltaire, DVM, DACT in the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst at (413) 545-2428 or kbeltaire@umass.edu.

Thank you for your time and consideration. Your experience and input are critical to help our regional educational facilities support the beef cattle industry in New England.


LOOKING FOR EMPLOYEES OR INTERNS?

Attend the Horticulture Job Fair on Wednesday, February 20!

Storm date: Wednesday, February 27
Time:
4:00 – 4:30 Space is available for set-up
4:30 – 6:00 Job Fair

Location: Culinary Arts Dining Room
Directions and Campus Map:
http://www.smccme.edu/info/campusesvisit/south-portland-campus.html

  • Tables and chairs will be available.
  • Electrical outlets are available (Bring an extension cord if you need to plug in).
  • Feel free to bring job descriptions, applications, business cards, brochures, portfolios, etc.

Please email either Cheryl Rich (crich@smccme.edu) or Dave Palm (dpalm@smccme.edu) to reserve your spot.


2019 Crop Insurance Deadline Approaches

March 15, 2019 is the deadline to enrollcancel, or change policy coverage for crop insurance on spring-seeded crops in Maine such as corn, sweet corn, barley, oats, spring wheat, and potato.  Those producing other “non-insurable” spring-seeded crops such as tomatoes, pumpkins, squash, etc. may seek coverage through the Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) available through the Farm Service Agency.  March 15th is also the deadline to enroll in Whole Farm Revenue Protection, a crop insurance policy that protects a farm’s adjusted gross revenue.

Learn More!

Contact Erin Roche, UMaine Cooperative Extension, Crop Insurance Education Professional  at 207.949.2490, erin.roche@maine.edu.  More information is available at www.extension.umaine.edu/agriculture/crop-insurance/.


‘Weather Tool Show and Tell’ at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show

Sonja Birthisel & Erin Roche

“So many tools,” one farmer wrote on our feedback survey after attending the Weather Tool Show and Tell session at this year’s Maine Agricultural Trades Show. The session’s purpose was to raise awareness about tools to help growers deal with variable weather. These included physical tools like weather stations and tensiometers, as well as digital apps to help with weather record keeping and agronomic decision making. An ‘open mic’ discussion during the session allowed attendees to share their experiences with specific weather tools.

With technology change, the number of tools and apps is proliferating rapidly. This session highlighted websites that allow a user to search for tools related to specific goals – for example, tracking growing degree days. A key take-home point, noted by most of the 13 people responding to our feedback survey, was simply how many tools are now available. It was also noted, as one farmer put it, “How practical these tools are.”

The session was presented by the Maine Climate and Agriculture Network (MECAN) as part of a day-long series on weather-based crop management tools. You can find links to tools and resources for dealing with variable weather and climate change on our website: https://umaine.edu/climate-ag/.


Newsletter for goat and sheep producers: Wild & Woolly

Wild & Woolly is a quarterly publication by the University of Maryland Extension. Its author, Susan Schoenian, is a small ruminant specialist at the Western Maryland Research & Education Center.

The Winter 2019 issue can be viewed online here (PDF). You can view other issues online at https://issuu.com/mdsheepgoat. You can also join the listserv to receive an email message when a new newsletter has been posted online. To subscribe to the listserv, send an email message to listserv@listserv.umd.edu. In the body of the message, type subscribe sheepgoatnews.


New site for eXtension has launched; Webinars announced

A new website has been launched for small and backyard poultry producers. Visit the site at https://poultry.extension.org/. Five free webinars are already booked:

  • What to think about BEFORE getting chickens for your backyard (February 20, 2019; 3 PM Eastern Time – 20 minutes)
  • What kind of chickens should you get for your backyard flock (March 6, 2019, 4 PM Eastern Time – 20 minutes)
  • Housing requirements for backyard chickens (March 20, 2019, 3 PM Eastern Time – 20 minutes)
  • Overview of poultry equipment for backyard chickens (April 2, 2019; 3 PM Eastern Time – 20 minutes)
  • Managing manure from backyard chicken flocks (April 18, 2019; 3 PM Eastern Time – 20 minutes)

There are also links to past webinars. Visit the new website’s webinars page (link) for more information and for webinar registration.


Free Accounting Workshop: Maine Farmland Trust offers Digging into Farm Accounting in Caribou

Accounting can be one of the most difficult and essential functions of owning a farm. At Maine Farmland Trust (MFT) we believe you can, and should, get to know the story your financials are telling you.

That’s why MFT is offering Digging into Farm Accounting, a free two-day farm accounting workshop, in a relaxed and friendly environment where all questions are welcome. Bangor Savings Bank is generously sponsoring this training.

The session will take place in Caribou on Friday, March 15th from 4PM-7:30PM and Saturday, March 16th  from 9AM–5PM at the Northern Maine Development Corporation (NMDC) Board Room at 11 West Presque Isle Road.

Attendees will have the opportunity to understand the uses of, and relationships between, the three major financial statements (balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow), and why each is important. You will have the chance to understand, identify, and calculate your critical financial data points. You will learn what information you need to plan for slow times, and for growth, while becoming better prepared for productive conversations with lenders and investors. You will better understand how to use your financial statement history as a planning resource for future seasons.

Sessions will be led by Rose Creps, Center Director & Certified Business Advisor at Maine SBDC at Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments. Creps is highly regarded by Maine farmers and value-added AG business owners. She has brought her expertise in financial analysis, forecasting, budgeting, management controls, recovery planning, loan packaging, and QuickBooks to many classrooms, AG businesses, and farm tables for well over a decade. Creps is an accounting instructor at Southern New Hampshire University in Brunswick and has previously taught at Southern Maine Community College. She earned her MBA in Global Business Administration at Southern New Hampshire University and a BS in Accounting at Southern New Hampshire University.

Workshop participants will receive Julia Shanks’, The Farmers Office: Tools, Tips, & Templates to Successfully Manage a Farm Business. Students will also have access to 11 essential farm business templates including QuickBooks charts of accounts for Mac & PC, and a PowerPoint Investor Presentation Deck.

Pre-registration is required by Tuesday, March 12th at noon. Register online at https://www.mainefarmlandtrust.org/event/digging-into-farm-accounting/ Questions about registration can be directed to Rachel K at the MFT office, rkeidan@mainefarmlandtrust.org or 207.338.6575.

Lodging options are available for Friday night in Caribou and Presque Isle. Limited funds are available to help defray some overnight costs for Washington County farmers.

Contact: Elizabeth Sprague
Email: esprague@mainefarmlandtrust.org
Phone: (207) 263-8771


Webinar Announcement: The Legal Food Hub’s 2019 Winter Webinar Series

The Legal Food Hub is pleased to invite you to its upcoming Winter Webinar Series for farmers, food entrepreneurs, food-focused organizations, and anyone else who has an interest in the legal framework of the food system.

Topics include:

  • Protecting Your Trademarks and Copyrights (February 5);
  • Entity Governance for Businesses & Nonprofits (February 26);
  • Legal Considerations of Agricultural Easements (March 5);
  • Employment Law for Farmers in Rhode Island (March 12);
  • Student Loan Basics for Farmers (TBA); and
  • An Overview of the Food Safety Modernization Act (TBA).

Please see this flyer (PDF) for more details and links to register for each webinar. After airing, the webinars will be made available online at legalfoodhub.org.


Workshop: Women in Livestock Business

9:00am – 3:30pm Fridays, from Friday 02/15/2019 to Friday 03/08/2019
Pease Public Library – 1 Russell Street, Plymouth, NH 03264

Inspired by Annie’s Project Programming, the Women in Livestock Business workshop is a spin on our traditional Annie’s Project programming that will focus solely on topics surrounding livestock production and business management. Topics include:

  • Communication and negotiation skills
  • Rules and regulations livestock producers need to know
  • Branding and marketing, what makes you unique?
  • Pricing your products and knowing your numbers
  • Grazing and pasture management
  • How to meet the nutritional needs of your livestock
  • Infrastructure and facilities best suited for your operation

This program will run every Friday for four weeks on February 15, 22 & March 1, 8. First class must be attended in person, but subsequent classes will have remote access capabilities. In addition to the classwork, two Field Days will be scheduled in the spring-fall of 2019 at an agreed upon date among participants.

Limited scholarship opportunities are available, courtesy of Yankee Farm Credit. To be eligible you must be either a beginner farmer or a Yankee Farm Credit member. To request a scholarship, contact Kelly McAdam or Elaina Enzien.

This program is co-sponsored by UVM Extension and USDA Risk Management Agency. For special accommodations, please contact Elaina Enzien prior to the event start date. At least 15 business days are needed to accommodate requests.

View the original announcement at University of New Hampshire Extension’s website (link), or register online (link).


Save the Date: 2019 Maine Grain Conference

Friday, March 1st, 9:00am-4:45pm
Campus Center, University of Maine Presque Isle

Topics for this year’s conference will include:

  • Upping Your Grain Game – Best practices from seed bag to grain bin and beyond.
    Eric Theriault, Eastern Grain Inc., Drummond, New Brunswick (http://www.easterngrains.ca/en/home.php)
  • Industrial Hemp – Opportunities, Production Practices, Legal Requirements, and Other Considerations for Hemp Grain and Cannibidiol
    Dr. Heather Darby, University of Vermont; Dr. John Jemison, UMaine; and Gary Fish, Maine Dept. of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.
  • On-farm Experiences with Camera-Guided Precision Cultivation Systems
    Tom Molloy, UMaine, and Dave Ouellette, Lake Shore Farms, St David, Maine
  • Evaluating Organic Crop Options Using a New, Whole Farm Grain Budget Tool
    Dr. Aaron Hoshide, UMaine School of Economics
  • Grain, Pulse, and Oilseed Research Results

Mark Friday, March 1st on your calendar, and look for upcoming announcements with the full agenda and registration details!


Workshop: Saffron production and marketing

The North American Center for Saffron Research and Development at the University of Vermont (UVM) is hosting the 3rd annual workshop on Saffron production and marketing on Friday, March 15, 2019 in Burlington, VT. Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world, with a retail price of over $5,000/lb. It is made from the stigmas of a fall-blooming crocus flower (Crocus sativus), and is used as a culinary spice, coloring agent and medicinal herb. Saffron is a high-value crop that could significantly strengthen sustainable agriculture, and preserve the rural working landscapes of North America.

In 2015 UVM scientists began studying the potential of growing saffron in protected environments and obtained yields greater than what is reported in traditional saffron-growing areas of West Asia and southern Europe. Hundreds of farmers across the US are now growing saffron with great success, but they are eager to learn more. Saffron experts from Italy, Canada, Morocco, The Netherlands and the US will be on hand to share their knowledge. In addition, growers from across the US will be there to talk about their experiences with saffron production, processing and marketing the final product. This event is sponsored by funding from the Vermont Department of Agriculture Specialty Crops Program; Univ. of Vermont Extension and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Roco Saffron (Netherlands); Clesia (Italy) and the USDA Hatch Program. To learn more about the workshop and for registration information, go to the UVM saffron website or contact Margaret Skinner at 1-802-656-5440; email: mskinner@uvm.edu


Reminder/Last call for early registration… 2019 Harvest New England Agricultural Marketing Conference and Trade Show: Navigating Change – Strategies for Success

Apply by Tomorrow &
Attend for FREE!

Harvest New England is pleased to offer scholarships to qualified producers from New England to attend Harvest New England Agricultural Marketing Conference and Trade Show, February 27 and 28, 2019 in Sturbridge, MA.

Do you meet the criteria?

  • New farm (in business for less than 5 years)
  • Young Farmer (under age 35)
  • Distance of travel to conference – those traveling from a greater distance
  • First time conference attendee
  • Other demonstrated need

Apply for the scholarship by January 30 here (link).

Don’t meet the above criteria? You have one day left to register and save $$ with early registration for the 2019 Harvest New England Agricultural Marketing Conference and Trade Show: Navigating Change – Strategies for Success

  • $105 for the first full conference registration
  • $90 for each additional family/business member
  • $75 for a one-day conference registration.
    Take advantage of discounted pricing while it lasts!

The 2019 conference will help you navigate change and create strategies for success for your farm business! Your full conference registration includes access to 26 workshops with some of the best farm marketers and speakers in New England, keynote speaker Kenneth Gronbach, general session speaker Lucy B. Amundsen, the New England Farmers’ Market Managers Seminar on 2/27, a national trade show, two locally grown lunches, and endless networking opportunities. Learn more about our speakers and all the conference workshops here (link).
Early Bird registration ends January 30. Sign up now and save $$. Register online here (link).


Resource: Education and advocate support for families working in agriculture and fishing

The Maine Migrant Education Program (MEP) provides free educational assistance to families who move to work in agriculture or fishing. Children in these families often struggle to succeed academically because of frequent moves, poverty, and other barriers. The MEP provides services to help migratory children and youth (ages 0-20) succeed in school by maintaining their grade level and meeting high academic standards. Program staff also advocate for families and connect them with other necessary services.

The Maine Migrant Education Program is administered by Mano en Mano / Hand in Hand, a nonprofit with offices Downeast and in Portland. Mano en Mano staff located throughout Maine work closely with families in their region providing services such as tutoring and advocacy.

To qualify for Migrant Education services, a family must have moved from one school district to another within the past three years to do seasonal or temporary work in agriculture or fishing.  We work with families who move from one part of Maine to another, to Maine from other states, or to Maine from other countries.

If you or an employee of yours has moved within the past three years to do agriculture or fishing work and are interested in receiving free educational support, you may contact:
Sean Douglas, Enrollment and Outreach Coordinator
(207) 598-8925
sdouglas@manomaine.org


Upcoming Growers’ Association Meeting & opportunity to earn recertification credits for pesticide applicators

NH Vegetable & Berry Growers’ Association Annual Meeting
Saturday, February 2. 9:00 am – 3:30pm. Doubletree Hotel, Manchester, NH.

The agenda for this meeting includes strawberry and vegetable variety updates from David Handley at UMaine, what you need to know about labor regulations & FSMA, meeting our new IPM specialist, featured farm and more – as well as 3.5 pesticide credits.

No need to pre-register. Visit the University of New Hampshire Extension’s website (link) for more information on this meeting, including agenda and information for joining NHVBGA.


Upcoming Event: Harvest New England Agricultural Marketing Conference “Navigating Change, Strategies for Success”

Harvest New England and the New England State Departments of Agriculture are pleased to announce that they will once again be hosting the Harvest New England Agricultural Marketing Conference and Trade Show. The conference will be held at the Sturbridge Host Hotel & Conference Center in historic Sturbridge, Massachusetts, on February 27-28, 2019. Twenty-six breakout sessions, two general sessions, a New England Farmers Market Managers workshop, and a full trade show with nearly 100 vendors are planned over two days.

Agricultural producers from across New England will come together to learn new marketing ideas or fine-tune current strategies for business success.  The goals of this biennial conference are to improve and develop new marketing ideas, to share information, and to improve state and agricultural business cooperation.

Learn more at www.harvestnewengland.org/events/. Register online at https://harvestnewengland.regfox.com/harvest-new-england-agricultural-marketing-conference-trade-show.  Early registration ends January 30.


Upcoming: Tenth Annual Hop Conference

The tenth annual hop conference will be held in South Burlington on February 21st.

A talk by a British hop grower on hop production in his country is among several featured presentations at the tenth annual Hop Conference, Feb. 21 in South Burlington.

Tom Spilsbury of J W Spilsbury & Co., will share information on hop production and processing with a hop kiln and dry strategies. The grower and his father Philip cultivate several varieties of hops, including Goldings, Challenger and Progress, on 50 acres at Oreton Court Farm in Worcester, England.

The conference, hosted by University of Vermont (UVM) Extension at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Burlington and Conference Center, will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registrations will be accepted through Feb. 15.

The fee, which includes lunch and all conference materials, is $75 or $65 for Northeast Hops Alliance members. Anyone unable to attend in person may watch the conference as a live broadcast for $35.

To register go to www.regonline.com/2019hopconference.  Contact Susan Brouillette at (802) 524-6501, ext. 432, or (800) 639-2130 (Vermont calls only) by Feb. 5 if you require a disability-related accommodation to attend.


Free Webinar on Whole Farm Revenue Protection

Date: January 24, 2019
Time: 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Cost:  Free. Registration is required. Click here to register online for the webinar.

Farmers are invited to learn about the Whole Farm Revenue Protection crop insurance program prior to the March 15 enrollment deadline with a free webinar from noon to 1:00 p.m. on January 24th.

The webinar will use real farm examples from the Northeast that include information about the types of risks covered and the records needed to enroll, and an overview of the gross revenue protection program. A question and answer session will follow.

For more information, contact Erin Roche at 207.949.2494 or erin.roche@maine.edu.

Speakers include crop insurance education program managers from the University of Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont and Delaware Cooperative Extensions. Funding for this program is provided by the USDA Risk Management Agency Targeted States Program.


USDA Press Release: USDA to Reopen FSA Offices for Additional Services During Government Shutdown

Washington, D.C., January 22, 2019 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that all Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices nationwide will soon reopen to provide additional administrative services to farmers and ranchers during the lapse in federal funding.  Certain FSA offices have been providing limited services for existing loans and tax documents since January 17, and will continue to do so through January 23.  Beginning January 24, however, all FSA offices will open and offer a longer list of transactions they will accommodate.

Additionally, Secretary Perdue announced that the deadline to apply for the Market Facilitation Program, which aids farmers harmed by unjustified retaliatory tariffs, has been extended to February 14.  The original deadline had been January 15.  Other program deadlines may be modified and will be announced as they are addressed.

“At President Trump’s direction, we have been working to alleviate the effects of the lapse in federal funding as best we can, and we are happy to announce the reopening of FSA offices for certain services,” Perdue said.  “The FSA provides vital support for farmers and ranchers and they count on those services being available.  We want to offer as much assistance as possible until the partial government shutdown is resolved.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has temporarily recalled all of the more than 9,700 FSA employees to keep offices open from 8 am to 4:30 pm weekdays beginning January 24.  President Trump has already signed legislation that guarantees employees will receive all backpay missed during the lapse in funding.

For the first two full weeks under this operating plan (January 28 through February 1 and February 4 through February 8), FSA offices will be open Mondays through Fridays.  In subsequent weeks, offices will be open three days a week, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, if needed to provide the additional administrative services.

Agricultural producers who have business with the agency can contact their FSA service center (link) to make an appointment.

FSA can provide these administrative services, which are critical for farmers and ranchers, because failure to perform these services would harm funded programs.  FSA staff will work on the following transactions:

  • Market Facilitation Program.
  • Marketing Assistance Loans.
  • Release of collateral warehouse receipts.
  • Direct and Guaranteed Farm Operating Loans, and Emergency Loans.
  • Service existing Conservation Reserve Program contracts.
  • Sugar Price Support Loans.
  • Dairy Margin Protection Program.
  • Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage.
  • Livestock Forage Disaster.
  • Emergency Assistance Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish Program.
  • Livestock Indemnity Program.
  • Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.
  • Tree Assistance Program.
  • Remaining Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program payments for applications already processed.

Transactions that will not be available include, but are not limited to:

  • New Conservation Reserve Program contracts.
  • New Direct and Guaranteed Farm Ownership Loans.
  • Farm Storage Facility Loan Program.
  • New or in-process Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program applications.
  • Emergency Conservation Program.
  • Emergency Forest Rehabilitation Program.
  • Biomass Crop Assistance Program.
  • Grassroots Source Water Protection Program.

With the Office of Management and Budget, USDA reviewed all of its funding accounts that are not impacted by the lapse in appropriation. We further refined this list to include programs where the suspension of the activity associated with these accounts would significantly damage or prevent the execution of the terms of the underling statutory provision. As a result of this review, USDA was able to except more employees. Those accounts that are not impacted by the lapse in appropriation include mandatory, multiyear and no year discretionary funding including FY 2018 Farm Bill activities.

Updates to available services and offices will be made during the lapse in federal funding on the FSA shutdown webpage (https://www.fsa.usda.gov/ help/shutdowninfo).  Programs managed by FSA that were re-authorized by the 2018 farm bill will be available at a later date yet to be determined.

You can also visit the USDA website (link) for all USDA press releases.


Upcoming webinar series: Lanternfly Basics

In conjunction with the New York State IPM Program and the Department of Agriculture and Markets, the Northeastern IPM Center will host a collection of webinars, titled “Spotted Lanternfly Basics.” You can register online here (link).

Each webinar will focus on, and be tailored to, a specific commodity group:

  • Spotted Lanternfly Basics for Hops, Berry, and Vegetable Growers (Feb. 26, 2019, 10:00 a.m.)
  • Spotted Lanternfly Basics for Grape and Apple Industries (Feb. 26, 2019, 1:00 p.m.)
  • Spotted Lanternfly Basics for Christmas Tree Growers (Mar. 4, 2019, 10:00 a.m.)
  • Spotted Lanternfly Basics for Nursery, Greenhouse, and Landscape Industries (Mar. 4, 2019, 1:00 p.m.)

All webinars will follow a similar format that covers spotted lanternfly biology, identification, and hosts, monitoring and management strategies, and a regulatory update. While the content may be relevant to audiences throughout the Northeast, management practices covered will be specific to New York. Participants will be encouraged to ask questions.

For more information and registration links, go to the NEIPMC website.

The NEIPMCommunication-L list is owned by the Northeastern IPM Center, 340 Tower Road, Cornell University, Ithaca NY 14853.

The Northeastern IPM Center fosters the development and adoption of integrated pest management, a science-based approach to dealing with pests that brings economic, environmental, and human health benefits. We use the list periodically to publicize IPM funding opportunities, research and extension projects, and IPM news and information.

To join or unsubscribe from the list, please send a request via e-mail to NortheastIPM@cornell.edu.


Upcoming Webinar: Improve on-farm communication for farmers and farm teams

Do you find yourself wondering “what should I say?” or asking “what did I say?” Do you ever feel tongue-tied talking with customers or concerned about their reaction? Are you worried about discussing problems with your partner? Is it hard to find the time to have productive meetings? More information (link) and registration online (link).

Effective interpersonal communication is essential and cost effective for your farm operation. In this 3-hour interactive webinar, Improving Communication, participants will address real farm situations to learn about communication styles, ways to have better conversations, and have a chance to practice new skills. Each participant will identify unique needs and create a plan to address them.

On-farm communication is critical for farm viability, and is one of the most common sources of conflict and frustration for farmers, family members, employees, and customers.

If you:

  • Are part of a farm family or farm team
  • See the benefit of improved communication skills
  • Would like to have conversations that aren’t so awkward
  • Are ready to tackle difficult conversations
  • Find the stress of farm life difficult to express to others

Your participation in Improving Communication will give you tools to adapt to different communication styles, structure dialogue between generations, identify obstacles to shifting management roles, improve internal and external communication, build your relationship capital to improve farm operations, have information-sharing conversations, and create positive, rewarding personal and professional relationships.

You will finish the webinar with (at least) one personal and one farm goal and steps to reach them.

WHEN: Feb. 5, 9 a.m.–noon, online only

UMaine Extension human development specialist Leslie Forstadt, and Family and Community Mediation director Karen Groat will lead the workshops. Each participant will identify unique needs and create a plan to address them. Webinar attendees from Maine are eligible to apply for up to four coaching sessions at no cost. The farm coaching sessions will focus on farm decision-making, goal setting or communication.

COST: $10/person for online session. Register online (link).

For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact Angela Martin, 207.581.3739; angela.martin@maine.edu. More information also is online (link). The webinar and coaching are made possible by a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture Northeast Extension Risk Management Education.


Webinar: Raising organic broccoli in the East

Wednesday January 23, 12:00 – 1:00 pm EST

Eastern buyers are eager to source more Organic broccoli locally. Fortunately, broccoli is suited to Organic practices. Nevertheless, meeting that demand will require efficient production.

This webinar will cover management approaches for Organic production that help production efficiency. The presentations include lessons learned by an all-star cast. Prospective growers will come away with a better sense of how to achieve success, and current Organic broccoli  growers are likely to pick up some useful ideas to increase their profitability.

Presenters

  • Jeanine Davis, Margaret Bloomquist and Richard Boylan, North Carolina State University, experts on organic production systems
  • Thomas Björkman, Cornell University, vegetable physiologist
  • Bryan Brown, NYS IPM, Weed management specialist and expert on organic weed management
  • Jill Eccleston, Cornell University, Integrated control of emerging insect pests

Topics

  • Organic nutrition for a nitrogen-hungry crop
  • Weed management in high fertility and short season
  • Insect management amid many hungry pests
  • Varieties suitable for organic production in the East
  • The market for organic broccoli

Join the webinar by clicking this link: https://cornell.zoom.us/j/855304241 on a computer, tablet or smartphone. To test your Zoom connection in advance, please visit https://zoom.us/test. It may take a minute or so to install the small software.

To get the audio only on a telephone, call +1 646 876 9923 and enter meeting id 855304241.

Sponsored by the Eastern Broccoli Project (a multi-institutional project funded by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Specialty Crop Research Initiative). See our website at EasternBroccoli.org


USDA to Reopen FSA Offices for Limited Services During Government Shutdown

Washington, D.C., January 16, 2019 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that many Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices will reopen temporarily in the coming days to perform certain limited services for farmers and ranchers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recalled about 2,500 FSA employees to open offices on Thursday, January 17 and Friday, January 18, in addition to Tuesday, January 22, during normal business hours. The offices will be closed for the federal Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday, January 21.

In almost half of FSA locations, FSA staff will be available to assist agricultural producers with existing farm loans and to ensure the agency provides 1099 tax documents to borrowers by the Internal Revenue Service’s deadline.

“Until Congress sends President Trump an appropriations bill in the form that he will sign, we are doing our best to minimize the impact of the partial federal funding lapse on America’s agricultural producers,” Perdue said.  “We are bringing back part of our FSA team to help producers with existing farm loans.  Meanwhile, we continue to examine our legal authorities to ensure we are providing services to our customers to the greatest extent possible during the shutdown.”

Staff members will be available at certain FSA offices (link) to help producers with specific services, including:

  • Processing payments made on or before December 31, 2018.
  • Continuing expiring financing statements.
  • Opening mail to identify priority items.

Additionally, as an intermittent incidental duty, staff may release proceeds from the sale of loan security by signing checks jointly payable to FSA that are brought to the county office by producers.

Information on the locations of FSA offices to be open during this three-day window will be posted:

While staff are available in person during this three-day window, most available services can be handled over the phone. Producers can begin contacting staff on January 17 here (link).

Additionally, farmers who have loan deadlines during the lapse in funding do not need to make payments until the government shutdown ends.

Other FSA Programs and Services

Reopened FSA offices will only be able to provide the specifically identified services while open during this limited time. Services that will not be available include, but are not limited to:

  • New direct or facility loans.
  • New Farm loan guarantees.
  • New marketing assistance loans.
  • New applications for Market Facilitation Program (MFP).
  • Certification of 2018 production for MFP payments.
  • Dairy Margin Protection Program.
  • Disaster assistance programs, such as: Livestock Indemnity Program.
  • Emergency Conservation Program.
  • Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program.
  • Livestock Forage Disaster Program.
  • Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish.

While January 15, 2019 had been the original deadline for producers to apply for MFP, farmers have been unable to apply since December 28, 2018, when FSA offices closed because of the lapse in federal funding.  Secretary Perdue has extended the MFP application deadline for a period of time equal to the number of business days FSA offices end up being closed, once the government shutdown ends. These announced days of limited staff availability during the shutdown will not constitute days open in calculating the extension. Producers who already applied for MFP and certified their 2018 production by December 28, 2018 should have already received their payments.

More information on MFP is available at www.farmers.gov/manage/mfp.


Upcoming Workshops with Atina Diffley: MOFGA’s 2019 Food Safety Track

Produce Farmers Are Food Handlers! Let’s Do It Profitably
For more information and to register: mofga.org/MOFGA-Events

Food Safety Workshop with Atina Diffley

January 31 – February 1, 2019
8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
$30 registration, limited space
MOFGA’s Common Ground Education Center, Unity

Integrating food safety systems into postharvest practices and market relationships supports the development of farm systems that are viable, cost-effective, and scale appropriate. This two-day food safety workshop is hands-on and designed for active learning. Farmers will: do risk assessments in the classroom to identify potential hazards; discuss all the areas of food safety on the farm and ways to implement cost-effective strategies in line with the work; discuss record keeping systems that support decision-making, and maximize profitability while also meeting food safety requirements. Class participants receive a free 3-ring binder food safety plan template and a copy of “Wholesale (or) Direct Market Success” (farmer’s choice).

Family Farmed and MOFGA partner to offer this two-day workshop with Atina Diffley at the MOFGA Education Center, Unity, Maine. This training was made possible by USDA Risk Management Education funds.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This workshop may satisfy staff training requirements as described in the FSMA Produce Safety Rule in §§ 112.21(a) and (b). As there is not yet an equivalency evaluation process, the workshop does not currently satisfy supervisor training described in the FSMA Produce Safety Rule 21 CFR Subpart C § 112.22(c).

Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training at MOFGA

February 8 (snow date Feb. 15), 2019
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
MOFGA’s Common Ground Education Center, Unity
Register online by Feb. 1 at this website: extension.umaine.edu/food- health/food-safety/northeast- produce-safety-training/

Learn about produce safety best practices, key parts of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirements. Time for questions and discussion; participants will share their experiences and produce safety questions. Offered in collaboration with the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, and AgMatters LLC.

The PSA Grower Training Course satisfies the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirement outlined in § 112.22(c).

Post-Harvest Handling and Packshed Design with Atina Diffley

Post-Harvest Handling on March 4th, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Packing Shed Design on March 5th, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Note: These back-to-back workshops can be attended individually, but registration priority will be given to those attending both.

$30/person for both days, includes lunch each day, or $15/person for one day, includes lunch.

Day 1 focuses on post-harvest handling, the cold chain and efficiency of systems, quality and safety throughout the process – harvest, cleaning, cooling, packing, storing, transport.

Day 2 is Packing Shed Design. Active drawing and design. Attendees of both days will utilize their post-harvest handout from day 1 in the design of a packinghouse.

These workshops are hands-on and designed for active learning. Class participants receive a copy of Direct Market Success or Wholesale Market Success. This training will place farmers in an excellent position to implement both efficient postharvest practices and a food safety plan for their farm.

Family Farmed and MOFGA partner to offer this two-day workshop with Atina Diffley at the MOFGA Education Center, Unity, Maine. This training was made possible by USDA Risk Management Education funds.


 

Reminder: Online Workshop Series – Know the Law, Protect Your Farm with UNH Extension Workshop

Online course for New England farmers begins Jan. 28. 

Give your farm a fresh start in 2019 and learn how to protect your operation, your employees and your family from legal risks with UNH Extension’s online legal workshop for farmers. New England farmers can register online (link).

The online course covers the basics of employment law, creating leases, farm financing and insurance, how to structure businesses to protect personal and business assets, agritourism and value-added regulations and more. UNH Extension educators and legal experts, including Rachel Armstrong, founder and executive director of Farm Commons, and Paul Goeringer, an Extension legal specialist at the University of Maryland, will work closely with participants during three video discussions in February and March.

This course is free and includes a self-directed independent course option that opens on Jan. 28. Participants in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont wishing to take the course with others can take part in three online sessions on Feb. 7 and 21 and March 7. Each session takes place from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

The course is presented in partnership with the USDA, Farm Commons, the University of Maryland and Northeast Extension Risk Management Education.

Full Calendar of Workshops and Events (link).

Changes in Tax Law and Impacts for Farmers

Mon, 01/28/2019 | 1:00pm – 3:00pm | Cost: Free

FREE webinar from Carol Starkie, EA, a tax consultant with Farm Credit East, will be joined by Kelly McAdam, UNH Extension Field Specialist, to discuss:

  • Changes in Exemptions and Deductions for You and Your Business
  • How Net Operating Loss is Carried Back/Forward
  • Changes in Depreciation Rules

Join the webinar here.

Inheriting a Farm-Passing on the Farm to the Next Generation, Webinar

Tue, 02/12/2019 | 12:00pm – 1:00pm | Cost: Free

Inheritance is often times an easy way to pass on the family farm. Learn how a property passes through an estate and what to watch for when considering this method of asset transfer in a farm succession plan.

Register for the webinar here.

Gifting vs. Selling as a means of Transferring Farm Assets, Webinar

Tue, 03/12/2019 | 12:00pm – 1:00pm | Cost: Free

Gifting can be a simple option to start transferring the farm assets now, but do you understand gift tax filing requirements? Will you consider an installment sale, what is a bargain sale, what are the tax implications for these methods? We’ll discuss considerations to think about before gifting or selling farm assets.

Register for the webinar here.

Additional Resources:

Pre-Recorded Webinar:  Estate Planning Webinar: Wills vs. Trusts, Longterm Healthcare

Estate Planning often involves setting up a will and/or trust. Learn the pros and cons of each to decide what’s best for your family and farm situation.

View the pre-recorded webinar here.

New Publication Available from UNH Cooperative Extension: Sales Forecasting for Agricultural Businesses

After several years in business, you’re thinking about expanding your operation by adding a new product, growing more of what you’re already producing, or moving into a totally different line of products. […] We’ve designed this publication as a practical, common-sense guide to help you move step-by-step through the process of conducting your own market research.

View the resource here.


3D Printing in Agriculture Workshop

We are holding an intro “3D Printing in Agriculture” workshop at the Kennebec Valley Community College Farm on JANUARY 25th from 9-12pm. We are located at 24 Price Road in Hinckley, right off of Route 201. It is free and open to all.

3D printing is a way to express your true “farm hack” nature, innovating to create super affordable parts and tools (or prototypes) that do exactly what you need them to do. The focus of this workshop will be on the 3D printing software and farm applications of the printers. We then hope to connect regional farmers with area printers.

This fall we worked with a group of pilot farmers to teach the potential of 3D printing on the farm as well as give printers to start 3D printing “hubs” for farmers around the state. So far some of the projects that have been made with our pilot group of farmers include:

  • customized seed processing equipment
  • customized seed wheels
  • soil block makers
  • landscape fabric cutters
  • clips to hold remay and plastic onto EMT conduit
  • seed counting plates for germination tests
  • replacement parts for a root washer
  • fence insulators for pipe gates

You can check out more of this work at our website: https://farm3d.weebly.com/


Upcoming Webinar: Whole Farm Revenue Protection Crop Insurance

Orono, Maine — Farmers are invited to learn about the Whole Farm Revenue Protection crop insurance program prior to the March 15 enrollment deadline with a free January 24th webinar from noon–1:00 p.m.

The webinar will use real farm examples from the Northeast that include information about the types of risks covered and the records needed to enroll, and an overview of the gross revenue protection program. A question and answer session will follow.

The webinar is free; registration is required. Register online here. For more information, contact Erin Roche, 207.949.2940; erin.roche@maine.edu.

Speakers include crop insurance education program managers from the University of Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont and Delaware Cooperative Extensions. Funding for this program is provided by the USDA Risk Management Agency Targeted States Program.


Respirator Fit-testing at the Agricultural Trade Show

Join UMaine Extension and the Board of Pesticides Control for respirator fit testing at the Annual Agricultural Trades Show at the Augusta Civic Center.

Time slots for fit tests are  30 mins long and will take  place in the locker room starting at 2pm on Tuesday, January 15th and Wednesday, January 16th.

Click here for more info and to register for Respirator fit testing (link).

For more information about the Board of Pesticides Control visit: thinkfirstspraylast.org


Grants for Farmers and Agricultural Nonprofits

Agricultural Development Grants are available from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF). This program provides cost-share grants to conduct market promotion, market research and development, value-added processing and new technology demonstration projects. Apply by January 31 a 4 p.m. More information is available at the DACF website (link).

Agricultural Marketing Loan Funds are also available from DACF, which accepts applications from February through May. This program provides 5 percent interest loans for capital improvements for farms and farm-related businesses. FMI: Stephanie Gilbert at Stephanie.Gilbert@Maine.gov.


Northeast SARE Grants

Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education grants are available. Farmer Grants are for commercial producers who have an innovative idea they want to test using a field trial, on-farm demonstration, marketing initiative or other technique. A technical advisor must also be involved. Deadlines vary, and application materials will be released midsummer  online (link).


Weather-based Crop Management Tools Event (2019 Maine Ag Trades Show)

Weather-based crop management tools are a strategy farmers can use to increase resilience to extreme weather. Farmers and service providers are invited to five sessions (link) about using weather-based tools 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Jan. 17 at the Augusta Civic Center, Howard Room, 76 Community Drive.

The free sessions, to be held during the Maine Agricultural Trades Show, are sponsored by the Maine Climate and Agriculture Network (link), which is organized through UMaine.

Sessions will focus on challenges and opportunities that changing weather in Maine present for agriculture, and a variety of tools to help adapt to weather risks. Individual session topics include Ag-Radar; a tool to inform pest management; efficient irrigation; and a rainfall index insurance program for grassland. Farmers also are invited to share their favorite weather tools during a show-and-tell session. As well, all sessions will include time for participants to provide input on what types of agricultural weather data, forecasts, and tools are needed for Maine.

Pesticide and certified crop adviser credits are available for select sessions. For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact Erin Roche, 207.949.2490, erin.roche@maine.edu.


Maine Agricultural Development Grant Proposals Now Being Accepted

Maine Agricultural Development Grant Proposals Now Being Accepted
The Division of Agricultural Resource Development at the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry (DACF) has released its Request for Proposals for the 2019 Agricultural Development Grants.

This program provides grants to conduct market promotion, market research and development, value-added processing and new technology demonstration projects. Public agencies, private companies (such as farms and food producers), and non-profit organizations and institutions are eligible to apply. Proposals due by January 31, 2019. The grants are competitive, and matching funds (which can be in-kind) are required.

Each year, the DACF Commissioner determines priority issues for the grant program. This year’s priorities include projects that:

  • assist farms in increasing sales to institutions
  • improve sales to local buyers
  • help farms diversify markets
  • help Maine farms adapt to drought and other climate-related crop disturbances.

The Agricultural Development Grant program was created in 1996, capitalized by the interest earned on the Agricultural Marketing Loan Fund bond. Past grants have funded the development of new products, acquisition of production equipment, development of marketing initiatives, crop diversification projects, and more.

In 2018, LaJoie Growers, LLC of Van Buren was one of six successful applicants for a grant through the program. LaJoie Growers sought funding to expand their vegetable processing facility to dehydrate and mill beets. Company vice president Jay LaJoie commented that “the Ag Development Grant helped bridge the gap in overhead to start a new value-added product for our family farm. The application was short, simple, and to the point – very achievable, and not intimidating.”

A new Maine law, “An Act to Expand the Local Foods Economy by Promoting Local Foods Procurement,” will create new opportunities for farmers and food producers seeking to expand their local and institutional markets. Agricultural Development Grants are one way producers may pursue such expansion.

The Request for Proposals is available online at: https://www.maine.gov/dacf/ard/grants/agricultural_development.shtml

For more information, contact: 

Leigh Hallett, Director, Division of Agricultural Resource Development, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry, at 207-215-7388 (cell) or by e-mail at Leigh.Hallett@Maine.gov.


Workshop: Improving Communication

A New Year’s goal, or resolution – Improve on-farm communication with UMaine Extension – for farmers and farm teams

Do you find yourself wondering “what should I say?” or asking “what did I say?” Do you ever feel tongue-tied talking with customers or concerned about their reaction? Are you worried about discussing problems with your partner? Is it hard to find the time to have productive meetings? More information (link) and registration (link) are available online.

Effective interpersonal communication is essential and cost effective for your farm operation. In this 3-hour interactive workshop, Improving Communication, participants will address real farm situations to learn about communication styles, ways to have better conversations, and have a chance to practice new skills. Each participant will identify unique needs and create a plan to address them.

On-farm communication is critical for farm viability, and is one of the most common sources of conflict and frustration for farmers, family members, employees, and customers.

If you…

  • Are part of a farm family or farm team
  • See the benefit of improved communication skills
  • Would like to have conversations that aren’t so awkward
  • Are ready to tackle difficult conversations
  • Find the stress of farm life difficult to express to others

Your participation in Improving Communication will give you tools to adapt to different communication styles, structure dialogue between generations, identify obstacles to shifting management roles, improve internal and external communication, build your relationship capital to improve farm operations, have information-sharing conversations, and create positive, rewarding personal and professional relationships.

You will leave the workshop with at least one goal and steps to reach it.

WHEN:
Jan. 8, 10 a.m.–1 p.m., at University of Maine Cooperative Extension Hancock County office, 63 Boggy Brook Road, Ellsworth;
Feb. 5, 9 a.m.–noon, online only

UMaine Extension human development specialist Leslie Forstadt, and family and community mediation director Karen Groat will lead the workshops. Each participant will identify unique needs and create a plan to address them. All workshop attendees also are eligible to apply for up to four coaching sessions at no cost. The farm coaching sessions will focus on farm decision-making, goal setting or communication.

COST: $15/person or $25/couple, and includes workbook and refreshments for Ellsworth training; $10/person for online session. Register online (link).

For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact Angela Martin, 207.581.3739; angela.martin@maine.edu. More information also is online (link). The workshops and coaching are made possible by a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture Northeast Extension Risk Management Education.


Core Training & Exam at Maine’s Agricultural Trades Show

There will be a Core Training for Private and Agricultural Basic pesticide licenses on January 15, 2019 during the Agricultural Trade show at the Augusta Civic Center. The Core exam and any selected commodity exams will be proctored following the training.

Pre-registration is required, and space is limited. When spots are filled individuals will be added to a wait list. Visit this webpage for details and sign-up (link).

For more information about the Board of Pesticides Control visit:
thinkfirstspraylast.org


Farm Labor Sessions at Maine’s Agricultural Trades Show

Have you experienced challenges finding good labor on your farm? If this is the case, you are not alone. Join the Farm Labor Link Network, MOFGA, University of Cooperative Extension, the Maine Department of Labor, legal experts, and fellow farmers for back to back sessions to explore options and share ideas for addressing farm labor shortage on Tuesday January, 15th at the Agricultural Trades Show. Come find us with your labor questions. All are welcome!

Session I: 9-10am:  How to stay staffed throughout the summer

In a tight labor market what are your strategies to keep your farming operations rolling this coming season? In this panel session the Farm Labor Link Network will examine hiring incentive programs, the H2A temporary worker program, and provide you with the resources to recruit and retain employees.

Session II: 10-11am: Farm Labor Roundtable

The Farm Labor Link Network along with other service providers including MOFGA, University of Cooperative Extension, and Maine Department of Labor is coordinating an open discussion about agricultural labor needs and brainstorming solutions.

For more information, contact Yvette Meunier at (207) 592-0640 or Yvette.meunier@maine.gov.


Opportunities to earn Pesticide Recertification Credits: 78th Annual Agricultural Trades Show

Augusta Civic Center, January 15-17

This three day event offers many opportunities to earn pesticide recertification credits.

Click here to view the sessions offering credits (PDF).

  • Calibration
  • Pollinators
  • Plant diseases
  • Emerging invasive insects
  • and so much more!

There will also be a Core Training for Private and Agricultural Basic pesticide licenses on January 15, 2019.  Pre-registration is required, and space is limited. When spots are filled individuals will be added to a wait list. Click here for details and sign-up.

For more information about the Board of Pesticides Control visit
thinkfirstspraylast.org.


Flowering in the North Conference 

A winter meeting to share knowledge about Zone 5 growingmarketing, and designing with farm fresh flowers.

Pre-Conference: Focus on Design & Management for Weddings
Date: January 28, 2019
Location: Abromson Center of the University of Southern Maine, Portland, ME
Cost: $400 per person
Register online here (link).

Looking to grow your wedding and event design game? Come join us for a hands-on day-long workshop with a talented team of expert designers. We will cover all aspects of running a design business starting with marketing your work and the initial conversation with a client, to landing the job, pricing your work and getting the contract signed. We’ll discuss the work schedule leading up to the wedding, selecting and sourcing local blooms, and how floral design fits into a farm operation. You’ll get to dive in with a hands-on design session to create gorgeous design work that you’ll be excited to share with your future customers. Let us help you take your floral design business to the next level. Stacy Brenner from Broadturn Farm, Carolyn Snell of Carolyn Snell Designs, Anna Jane Kocon of Little State Flower Farm and author and designer Jill Rizzo of Studio Choo East will team up to teach for the day.

Main Conference: Flowering in the North
Date: January 29 & 30, 2019
Location: Abromson Center of the University of Southern Maine, Portland, ME
Cost: $150 per person
Register online here (link).

Main Conference Session Topics: 

  • Organic Certification for Flowers
  • On-Farm Communication & Strategies
  • Harvest & Post Harvest Efficiency
  • Planning your Planting Season
  • Nutrient & Water Management Strategies
  • Costs and Value: Pricing & Marketing Flowers
  • Field Spring Crops
  • Hoophouse Crops
  • Dahlias
  • Woody Crops
  • …and more!

Sponsors: The University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, Snell Family Farm, and Broadturn Farm


Upcoming Event: Strawberry School

Thursday, January 17, 2019    10:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Maine Agricultural Trades Show
Fort Western Room, Augusta Civic Center
76 Community Drive, Augusta, Maine 04330

Preregistration is strongly encouraged. Please register by January 11, 2019.

Are you interested in growing strawberries as a commercial crop? Would this crop work well on your land?  Would strawberries give a bump to your bottom line?

This school is designed to help people who are interested in strawberry production as a commercial enterprise. Interest in commercial strawberry production in Maine is expanding due to the high crop value and increased consumer demand.  Basic site requirements, site preparation, plant selection, care of young plants, nutrient management, pest management and business management will be discussed with Dr. David Handley, Vegetable and Small Fruit Specialist from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

The school will be held in the Fort Western Room at the Augusta Civic Center during the 2019 Maine Agricultural Trades Show, which runs January 15-17; so, participants will have an opportunity to come early and spend some time looking at the supplies, equipment and services on exhibit that are available to help them with strawberry or other agricultural enterprises. Admission to the Trades Show is free.

A registration fee of $25 will be charged for participation in the Strawberry School and space is limited, so preregistration is strongly advised. Please register by January 11, 2019. Participants will also have the opportunity to purchase the Strawberry Production Guide for the Northeast, Midwest and Eastern Canada at the school for an excellent reference companion to the workshop. Cost for the book is $45. Cash and checks will be accepted at the registration table; checks should be made out to “University of Maine Cooperative Extension”.

We anticipate that there will be Pesticide Applicator recertification credits available for participants who attend the entire school.

Register online (link) or contact Pam St. Peter at pamela.stpeter@maine.edu or 207.933.2100 to preregister before January 11, 2019.

Any person with a disability who needs accommodations to participate in this program should contact Pam St. Peter at 207.933.2100. Receiving requests for accommodations at least 10 days before the program provides a reasonable amount of time to meet the request; however, all request will be considered.

Strawberry School Agenda

10:00 AM – The Strawberry Plant: What You Should Know
10:30 AM – Varieties
11:00 AM – Pre-plant Considerations and Preparation
11:30 AM – Irrigation Options
12:00 PM – LUNCH BREAK (on your own)
1:00 PM – Matted Row Perennial Production
2:00 PM – Plasticulture Production: June-bearing Plants
2:45 PM – Plasticulture Production: Day-neutral Plants for Off-season Harvest
3:15 PM – Pest Identification and Management
3:45 PM – Post-harvest Handling and Marketing Options
4:00 PM – Questions and Discussion

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


Webinar: Orientation to Agricultural Worker Health

Join us for an upcoming webinar on Orientation to Agricultural Worker Health!

Tuesday, December 18th, 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM, CST

This training program is intended to provide new health center staff members with an orientation to the migrant and seasonal agricultural worker population and the Migrant Health Program.

This webinar will provide an orientation to agricultural worker health, including demographics, working and living conditions, occupational health and safety, unique health care issues, barriers to accessing health care, and service delivery models.

Sign up for the webinar online (link).

For more information, contact Sylvia Gomez: gomez@ncfh.org


Winter Greens Production Three-Day Short Course at UVM

Scholarships still available! See below for details.

Did you know it is possible to maintain green, nutritious, delicious vegetable production throughout the cold, northern winters of Vermont? Come learn how to use Passive Solar Greenhouses to grow cold hearty greens 365 days per year.

In our three-day, practical and hands-on short course, we will explore everything from site selection, brands of these high tunnels/hoophouses, the key principles to grow/maintain crops 365 days per year, the economics behind winter greens production, soil fertility management, and much more. We will use the 10,000 sq. ft. of winter growing space at Bread & Butter Farm as our hands on classroom. We will also visit other local farms who are extending their seasons to include winter greens.

The lead instructor, Corie Pierce, is a farmer and educator. She is co-owner and operator of Bread and Butter Farm (link) in South Burlington, Vermont, a diversified farm where among many things, they specialize in growing greens all winter long in unheated, passive solar greenhouses.

Course Schedule:
Thursday January 10, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm (lunch included)
Friday January 11, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Saturday January 12, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm (lunch included)

For more information and to register, please visit our website (link).

A limited number of $250 scholarships will be available to students on a financial needs and merit basis through Continuing and Distance Education. If you are not in need of a scholarship, please allow others in financial need to access this resource. To apply for a scholarship, kindly complete the short application online (link).

The deadline for scholarship applications is December 1, 2018. The Scholarship Committee in the Continuing and Distance Education Department will review scholarship applications. Decisions will be made by December 11.

If you have any questions, please email S’ra DeSantis at sra.desantis@uvm.edu.


USDA Reminds Producers of Disaster Program Deadlines

Bangor, ME, November 9, 2018 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director David R. Lavway reminds Maine producers who experienced losses from natural disasters during the 2017 and 2018 calendar years that they may be eligible for assistance through the Tree Assistance Program (TAP), Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) and Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP).

“We want to ensure that all eligible agricultural producers who experienced losses from natural disasters get the assistance they need,” said Lavway.

Tree Assistance Program (TAP):

TAP provides financial assistance to qualifying orchardists and nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes and vines lost due to natural disasters. Payment eligibility is triggered when a mortality loss in excess of 15 percent on a stand (adjusted for normal mortality) occurs due to natural disaster.

In addition, up to $15 million is available to eligible pecan orchardists or pecan nursery tree growers for certain mortality losses incurred during 2017. To be eligible, the grower must have suffered a mortality loss on a stand in excess of 7.5 percent, but less than 15 percent, adjusted for normal mortality from Jan. 1, 2017, through Dec. 31, 2017.

For 2017 and 2018 TAP losses, and 2017 Pecan TAP losses, growers have until the later of Dec. 3, 2018, or 90 calendar days after the disaster event or date when the loss of trees becomes apparent to submit an application with supporting documentation.

Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP):

ELAP provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish who have suffered losses due to an adverse weather or loss condition, including blizzards, disease, water shortages and wildfires. ELAP assistance is provided for losses not covered by other disaster assistance programs.

For 2017 and 2018 ELAP, producers must file a notice of loss and application for payment at their local FSA office by Dec. 3, 2018. for losses occurring from Oct. 1, 2016, through Sept. 30, 2018.

Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP):

LIP provides compensation to eligible livestock owners or contract growers for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality, or injury resulting in reduced value, caused by an eligible loss condition.

For 2017 and 2018 LIP, a livestock owner or contract grower must file a notice of loss the later of 30 calendar days from when the loss of livestock is first apparent, or Dec. 3, 2018. For 2017 losses, a livestock owner or contract grower must file an application for payment by Dec. 3, 2018. For 2018 losses, a livestock owner or contract grower must file an application for payment by, March 1, 2019.

Other Amendments to the 2014 Farm Bill by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018

“In February, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 made several changes to FSA disaster programs,” SED Lavway said. “This includes eliminating the $20 million fiscal year funding cap for ELAP, eliminating the $125,000 payment limitation for LIP for 2017 and future years and allowing producers to receive a payment for injured livestock that are sold for a reduced price due to an eligible event.”

As a result of these changes, starting June 4, producers were allowed to submit ELAP, LIP and LFP applications for 2017 losses if they reached the payment limitation under the previous rules. The application periods for these programs for the 2017 program year will close on Dec. 3, 2018. Producers who already submitted applications and received decisions on their applications for these years do not need to file again but can reapply if they have additional losses or their application or notice of loss was denied because it was late filed.

Contact your local FSA office for program deadlines. For more information on FSA disaster assistance programs or to find your local USDA Service Center, visit the USDA’s Farmers website.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

Contact: Marcia L Hall
Email: Marcia.hall@me.usda.gov
Phone: 207-743-5789

Oxford County Farm Service Agency
Address: 17 Olson Rd., Suite 1 South Paris, ME 04281
Website: www.fsa.usda.gov/me


USDA Offers Targeted Farm Loan Funding for Underserved Groups and Beginning Farmers

Bangor, ME, November 7, 2018 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Maine Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director SED David R. Lavway reminds producers that FSA offers specially targeted farm ownership and farm operating loans to underserved applicants as well as beginning farmers and ranchers.

“Each year, a portion of FSA’s loan funds are set aside to lend to targeted underserved and beginning farmers and ranchers,” said SED Lavway. “Farming and ranching is a capital intensive business and FSA is committed to helping producers start and maintain their agricultural operations.”

During fiscal year 2018 (Oct. 1, 2017, through Sept. 30, 2018), Maine FSA obligated $4.74 million in loans to underserved borrowers and beginning farmers and ranchers.

USDA defines underserved applicants as a group whose members have been subjected to racial, ethnic or gender prejudice because of their identity as members of the group without regard to their individual qualities. For farm loan program purposes, underserved groups are women, African Americans, American Indians and Alaskan Natives, Hispanics and Asians and Pacific Islanders.

In order to qualify as a beginning farmer, the individual or entity must meet the eligibility requirements outlined for direct or guaranteed loans. Additionally, individuals and all entity members must have operated a farm for less than 10 years. Applicants must materially or substantially participate in the operation. For farm ownership purposes, the applicant must not own a farm greater than 30 percent of the average size farm in the county at the time of application. All direct farm ownership applicants must have participated in the business operations of a farm for at least three years out of the last 10 years prior to the date the application is submitted. If the applicant is an entity, all members must be related by blood or marriage and all entity members must be eligible beginning farmers.

Underserved or beginning farmers and ranchers who cannot obtain commercial credit from a bank can apply for either FSA direct loans or guaranteed loans. Direct loans are made to applicants by FSA. Guaranteed loans are made by lending institutions who arrange for FSA to guarantee the loan. FSA can guarantee up to 95 percent of the loss of principal and interest on a loan. The FSA guarantee allows lenders to make agricultural credit available to producers who do not meet the lender’s normal underwriting criteria.

The direct and guaranteed loan program offers two types of loans: farm ownership loans and farm operating loans.

Farm ownership loan funds may be used to purchase or enlarge a farm or ranch, purchase easements or rights of way needed in the farm’s operation, build or improve buildings such as a dwelling or barn, promote soil and water conservation and development and pay closing costs.

Farm operating loan funds may be used to purchase livestock, poultry, farm equipment, fertilizer and other materials necessary to operate a successful farm. Operating loan funds can also be used for family living expenses, refinancing debts under certain conditions, paying salaries for hired farm laborers, installing or improving water systems for home, livestock or irrigation use and other similar improvements.

Repayment terms for direct operating loans depend on the collateral securing the loan and usually run from one to seven years. Financing for direct farm ownership loans cannot exceed 40 years. Interest rates for direct loans are set periodically according to the Government’s cost of borrowing. Guaranteed loan terms and interest rates are set by the lender.

For more information on FSA’s farm loan programs and underserved and beginning farmer guidelines, please contact your local FSA office. To find your local FSA office, visit the USDA’s Service Center Locator webpage.

USDA is an equal opportunity lender, provider and employer.

Contact: Marcia L Hall
Email: marcia.hall@me.usda.gov
Phone: 207-753-9400

Androscoggin-Sagadahoc County Farm Service Agency
Address: 254 Goddard Rd Lewiston, ME 04240
Website: www.fsa.usda.gov/me

 


Webinar: Dairy Revenue Protection Program

Webinar offered on new dairy revenue protection program

Contact: Erin Roche, 207.949.2940, erin.roche@maine.edu

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.

The program is free; registration is required.  Register online. For more information contact Erin Roche, 207.949.2940, erin.roche@maine.edu.

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 erin.roche@maine.edu.

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

Greetings!

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.

Warmest regards,
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.

Application Download:
Request for Proposal (PDF)

Application Deadline:
December 1st, 2018 – 5:00 pm

Awards Announcement:
Late December

Please email completed proposals to:
tristan@mainegrainalliance.com

Examples of Previous Previous Grantees:
TA Grant Overview


VegetableGrowers: Expand Your Tunnel Vision II

Please visit the University of New Hampshire Extension website for information on the “Expand Your Tunnel Vision II: 2018 High Tunnel Production Conference”. This conference is for high tunnel vegetable growers and agricultural service providers of all experience levels.
Expand Your Tunnel Vision II: 2018 High Tunnel Production Conference
Monday, December 3, from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, December 4, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Manchester Downtown Hotel, 700 Elm Street, Manchester, NH 03101
Venue Phone: 603-625-1000
Registration is required. Registration deadline is November 26.
Cost: $75 for first participant, $40 for additional participants from same farm, or for students.
Fee covers both days and includes lunch on Day 2. There is no discount for only attending one day.

For additional information about the conference, please contact Teresa Locke at 603-787-6944 or teresa.locke@unh.edu.


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 teresa.locke@unh.edu $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, chris.callahan@uvm.edu, 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.

Topics include:

  • 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, calvert.schaefer@maine.edu.


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 northeast-sare@uvm.edu.

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.

Getting Started with Pastured Pigs

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.

Register Now

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 ejf5@cornell.edu

Steve Gabriel at sfg53@cornell.edu

 


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.


MITC

Growing your Maine business globally pays up to $15,000 per year

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant initiative provides funding to states and U.S. territories to increase the number of businesses that export. The objective of the STEP Financial Assistance Award is to encourage Maine companies to seek new international sales through financial support for costs associated with such activities.

We are now accepting applications for the new grant year!

Eligible Maine businesses may receive reimbursements totaling up to $15,000 per year for costs associated with activities in the following categories:

  • International Business Development: up to $3,000 – $6,000 per activity
  • Export Skills Development: up to $2,000 per activity
  • Export Marketing Assistance:  $3,000 per activity

Please review the STEP 2018-2019 Guidelines, which have changed from previous years, before submitting your application.

Maine International Trade Center | mitc.com

LEARN MORE HERE


Publication Update: #3000  Basic Pricing Strategies for Small Businesses

Click here to view publication.

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……

Retail price: $2.00 each / staff price: $1.20 each

Contact person: Jim McConnon
Publisher: UMaine Extension

To order: email extension.orders@maine.edu or call 207-581-3792.


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

 

 

Commodity

 

Initial Payment Rate

Est. Initial Payment**

(in $1,000s)

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
Total   $4,696,300

** 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.

Food Purchases

Commodity  Target Amount (in $1,000s)
Apples $93,400
Apricots $200
Beef $14,800
Blueberries $1,700
Cranberries $32,800
Dairy $84,900
Figs $15
Grapefruit $700
Grapes $48,200
Hazelnuts $2,100
Kidney Beans $14,200
Lemons/Limes $3,400
Lentils $1,800
Macadamia $7,700
Navy Beans $18,000
Oranges (Fresh) $55,600
Orange Juice $24,000
Peanut Butter $12,300
Pears $1,400
Peas $11,800
Pecans $16,000
Pistachios $85,200
Plums/Prunes $18,700
Pork $558,800
Potatoes $44,500
Rice $48,100
Strawberries $1,500
Sweet Corn $2,400
Walnuts $34,600
Total $1,238,800

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. 

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.


Are You Ready to Restrategize Your Farm’s Business Plan?

…then it’s time to “press the pause button” and finally give yourself time to refresh your thinking, conduct research, and make positive changes to your business model.  Registration for NxLevel™ Tilling the Soil of Opportunity, a business planning course tailored for Maine farmers, is now open.

Click here to register.

This six session course will give you the chance to:

  • Update your business goals – compare where you are now with where you want to be
  • Determine which crops are helping or hindering your goals
  • Evaluate existing & potential markets
  • Improve your time & people management skills
  • Create  production and marketing plans that meet your goals
  • Evaluate potential financing opportunities and identify your best options
  • Write your new business plan – then make it a reality!

You will hear stories from practicing farmers and guest speakers who are experts in agricultural business, production and marketing. And, you’ll have the opportunity to network with other experienced growers, including farmers in the Maine Farms for the Future Program.

Sessions will be offered at the Kennebec Valley Community College’s Farm Center in Hinckley, and can accommodate multiple farm/family members to attend.

The course lasts for six sessions.  You can sign up for all six, or register only for those that are of most interest to you.  You can also participate remotely in any or all classes.

COURSE DATES: 12/12, 1/16, 1/23, 2/6, 2/13, 2/27
 $275 per farm for all six sessions or $50 per session
Want to know more?
Click here to view more detailed information, including curriculum outlines for each session.

Here’s what some of last year’s participants had to say about the workshop:
“Worth every penny = take it.”
“This is the best option you have in Maine.”
“I would encourage them to take it no matter what their experience level is.”
“Do it”.

Questions? Contact Jed Beach, FarmSmart Business Services, at jed@farmsmartmaine.com, or call 207-370-9238

Click here to register

“So, You Want to Farm in Maine?” Course

A course to equip participants with the knowledge and skills to start, adapt, and maintain a profitable land-based business.

Woman farmer standing in feild with a full tray of fresh lettuceThis multi-session course is designed for people who want to start a profitable farm or expand their farm hobby to a profitable business.

Successful completion of this course qualifies participants for FSA Borrower Training Credit.

Textbook: Starting and Running Your Own Small Farm Business by Sara Aubrey

Cost: $50 per person (includes textbook)

Online Registration (coming soon!)

Objectives:

  • ­Participants will feel comfortable starting a land-based business.
  • ­Participants will understand the need for and have a framework for a business plan.
  • ­Participants will select and use a record keeping system.
  • ­Participants will understand how to use Cooperative Extension and other agencies as a resource for their land-based business.
  • ­Participants will understand the importance of and basics of marketing their products, including customer surveys.

Schedule:

November 6, 13, 20 and 27, 2018 
UMaine Extension Aroostook County — Presque Isle
57 Houlton Road, Presque Isle, ME
Instructors: Suhkwinder Bali, Assistant Extension Professor and Assistant Professor of Sustainable Agriculture, and Linda Tricky, Agricultural Assistant, UMaine Extension

October 2, 9, 16, and 23, 2018
Register Online
UMaine Extension Penobscot County
307 Maine Avenue, Bangor, ME
Instructors: Donna Coffin, Extension Educator, Erin Roche, Crop Insurance Education Program Manager, and Kathy Hopkins, Extension Educator, UMaine Extension

October 9, 16, 23, 30, and November 6, 2018
UMaine Extension Cumberland County
75 Clearwater Drive, Suite 104, Falmouth, ME
Instructors: Jason Lilley, Sustainable Agriculture Professional, Tori Jackson, Extension Educator: Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Frank Wertheim, Extension Educator, Agriculture/Horticulture, UMaine Extension

November 1, 8, 15, and 29, 2018
Gardiner Area High School (through Gardiner Adult Ed.)
40 W Hill Rd, Gardiner, ME
Instructors: Caragh Fitzgerald, Associate Extension Professor, Agriculture, and Rick Kersbergen, Extension Professor, Sustainable Dairy and Forage Systems, UMaine Extension

November 5, 8, 13, and 15, 2018
1:00 – 4:00 PM
UMaine Extension Washington County
28 Center Street, Machias, ME
Instructors: Lily Calderwood, UMaine Wild Blueberry Specialist and Assistant Professor of Horticulture, and Marjorie Peronto, Extension Educator, UMaine Extension

For more information or a reasonable accommodation, contact Lynne Hazelton at 207.781.6099 or 1.800.287.1471 (in Maine) or lynne.b.hazelton@maine.edu.


Soil Health – Spring vs Fall Tillage:  Field Event at Hillacre Farms

Wednesday, August 8, 2018, at 3pm

Hillacre Farms and Grounded Research will be hosting a field event to discuss our Conservation Innovation Grant project on soil health.  Our research project is looking at the effects of Spring versus Fall Tillage on Soil Health and Potato Yields.  We will tour the plots, discuss the findings to date, review photos and aerial footage of the field and provide information on the next phase of the project.

The event will be held in the field across from Carl R Smith’s house at 428 Mullen Road, Newport.

For more information, contact Sylvia Miholovich at 207-217-8615 or sjmiholovich@gmail.com


Planning for Soil Health: This Fall to the Next Generation

Wish that you were getting more benefits from your cover crop and seeing more improvements in your soil health? At this meeting we will discuss diverse cover crop species options, and planting criteria and methods for success. We will develop a crop rotation plan for your farm that includes cover crops and discuss tillage practices, equipment, and testing to improve soil health. Bring your crop rotation plans and a sharpened pencil for this hands-on workshop!

Date: Wednesday, August 8th, 2018
Time: 6:00-7:00pm
Location: UMaine Regional Learning Center, 75 Clearwater Drive, Suite 104, Falmouth, ME
Cost: FREE, email lynne.b.hazelton@maine.edu to RSVP


Maine Certified Vegetable Production Course

A multi-session course designed to successfully equip individuals with practical skills and knowledge for growing and harvesting vegetables in Maine. In this hands-on course you will not only discuss, see, and learn several aspects of vegetable production in Maine, but you will also develop plans relevant to your land to succeed in your vegetable production endeavors.

Dates: Tuesdays,August 14th, 21st, 28th, September 4th, & Wednesday, September 12th, 2018
Time: 5:00-8:00pm
Location: UMaine Regional Learning Center, Falmouth, ME (5th session at a local farm.)
Instructors: Sustainable Agriculture Professional, Jason Lilley, and Horticulturist, Pamela Hargest
Cost: $50 per person – Includes a copy of the New England Vegetable Management Guide and the Northeast Vegetable and Strawberry Pest Identification Guide.
Registration: Online


Are you a small- or medium-scale maple syrup producer in Maine?

The University of Maine and College of the Atlantic are seeking interested small- scale (<300 taps) and medium-scale (300-3,000 taps) maple syrup producers involved in the sale of maple syrup to participate in a 60-90 minute interview at a location of your choosing about your experiences in sugaring and challenges you currently face.

These interviews will be used to understand the scale of operations and to enhance the sustainability, viability, and competitiveness of the small- and medium-scale maple producers within the state of Maine. We would greatly appreciate your time, expertise and experience!

If you are interested in participating, please contact research associate, Sara Velardi, by email (sara.velardi@maine.edu) or by phone (203-583-0181). We hope to conduct interviews between August-October 2018. Thank you for your time!


Come Meet Maine’s Next Governor

Hear each of the gubernatorial candidates speak about the issues impacting Maine’s agricultural sector, and engage in a question & answer session about some of the challenges facing Maine farmers and the potential solutions that would be proposed by the next governor.

  • Each Candidate has their own dedicated me to talk 1-on-1 with a room of farmers and those working in Maine agriculture. A moderator will do brief candidate intro- duc ons, keep track of me, and facilitate ques ons from the audience.
  • Candidates are alloted 10 minutes of opening remarks and 5 minutes of closing re- marks. Candidates will also be provided several general ques ons about agricultur- al policy in advance of the Forum, which can be addressed as part of their opening remarks.
  • The 4 candidates running to be Maine’s next governor will appear in the following order:
    • 12 pm (noon) – 1 pm Shawn Moody (R)
      1 pm—2 pm Terry Hayes (I)
      2 pm—3 pm Alan Caron (I)
      3 pm—4 pm Janet Mills (D)
  • Light refreshments provided.

When: Tuesday, August 28, 201812 noon—4 pm

Where: Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine L.L. Bean Conference Room, 205 Church Hill Road, Augusta, ME

For more information about AgCOM and our membership, go to http://maineagcom.org/


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.

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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

FSA County Committee Nominations Launch June 15 Giving Farmers a Voice in their Community

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. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (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 price loan support, county office employment and other agricultural issues.

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. Check your local USDA service center to see if your local administrative area is up for election this year.  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.

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. 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.


USDA to Measure Quarterly Colony Loss

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will be collecting information about colony loss in the honey industry. The Quarterly Colony Loss survey will be conducted over the period of June 2018 through July 2018. This survey collects information about colony inventory and loss from more than 400 producers with bee colonies in the Northeastern Region of the United States.

“The information from these surveys directly impacts our region’s beekeepers and honey producers,” said King Whetstone, Director of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Northeastern Regional Field Office. “Keepers and producers can use the survey results when making business plans and marketing decisions. Cooperative Extension uses the data to provide needed outreach and education and State Departments and Agencies of Agriculture use the information to set insurance values.”

In these surveys, NASS asks participants to answer a variety of questions about their colonies, including reasons for colony losses. 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.

The Honey Bee Colonies publication will be available online on August 1, 2018. Previous Honey Bee Colonies publications are also available for review. These reports can be found online at http://www.nass.usda.gov. For more information on NASS surveys and reports, call the NASS Northeastern Regional Field Office at 1.800.498.1518.


Respond Now to the 2017 Census of Agriculture

New PSA from Sec. Perdue regarding the last chance to complete the 2017 Census of Agriculture.

Please visit the website for more agricultural information:  http://www.nass.usda.gov


USDA Resumes Continuous Conservation Reserve Program Enrollment

One-Year Extension Available to Holders of Many Expiring Contracts through Continuous Signup

As part of a 33-year effort to protect sensitive lands and improve water quality and wildlife habitat on private lands, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will resume accepting applications for the voluntary Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Eligible farmers, ranchers, and private landowners can sign up at their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office between June 4 and Aug. 17, 2018.

FSA stopped accepting applications last fall for the CRP continuous signup (excluding applications for the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and CRP grasslands). This pause allowed USDA to review available acres and avoid exceeding the 24 million-acre CRP cap set by the 2014 Farm Bill. New limited practice availability and short sign up period helps ensure that landowners with the most sensitive acreage will enroll in the program and avoid unintended competition with new and beginning farmers seeking leases. CRP enrollment currently is about 22.7 million acres.

2018 Signup for CRP

For this year’s signup, limited priority practices are available for continuous enrollment. They include grassed waterways, filter strips, riparian buffers, wetland restoration and others. View a full list of practices.

FSA will use updated soil rental rates to make annual rental payments, reflecting current values. It will not offer incentive payments as part of the new signup.

USDA will not open a general signup this year, however, a one-year extension will be offered to existing CRP participants with expiring CRP contracts of 14 years or less. Producers eligible for an extension will receive a letter with more information.

CRP Grasslands

Additionally, FSA established new ranking criteria for CRP Grasslands. To guarantee all CRP grasslands offers are treated equally, applicants who previously applied will be asked to reapply using the new ranking criteria. Producers with pending applications will receive a letter providing the options.


New Soil Health Case Study about Piper Farms

The Maine Soil Health Dairy team has a new case study, Piper Farms Saves Big with a Center Pivot about this farm’s innovative irrigation technique which in turn has some soil health benefits.


New Dairy Improvement Fund Loan Program Announced – Investments in Maine Dairy Cow Farms and Enterprises 

The Dairy Improvement Fund (DIF) is a new revolving loan program to help Maine dairy farms and enterprises fund capital improvements to maintain and enhance the viability of their farms.

The DIF program will assist farms that are engaged in the commercial production of cow milk or cow milk products. It was developed by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) and is administered by the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME). The program will operate in accordance with three core principles to:

  1. Provide financial support for sound business propositions
  2. Offer funds at reasonable rates and terms
  3. Partner with private sector equity

More about the program can be accessed on DACF’s Dairy Fund Improvement webpage and at the FAME Dairy Fund Improvement webpage, which provides the Department’s Eligibility Form and FAME’s Loan Application.The DACF and FAME will host an informational meeting for all dairy farms interested in learning more about this investment opportunity.

INFORMATIONAL MEETING:

WHEN: Thursday, June 14, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

WHERE: Marquardt Building (Room 118), 32 Blossom Lane, Augusta.

WHO: Ron Dyer, Director of the Bureau of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources; Roxanne Broughton, Commercial Loan Officer at FAME.

WHAT: An overview of both the eligibility and application procedures will be provided, then prospective applicants can ask questions about the new program.

**Dairy producers should also be aware of a separate USDA program that is available to help dairy producers**

USDA Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy)

The Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy) is a voluntary risk management program for dairy producers authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill through Dec. 31, 2018. Significant changes to MPP-Dairy for the 2018 coverage year are further authorized by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. The MPP-Dairy offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.

2018 Registration and Re-Enrollment Period

The registration and re-enrollment period for coverage year 2018 ends June 1, 2018. Dairy operations must make a new coverage election for 2018, even if you enrolled during the previous 2018 signup period. Coverage elections made for 2018 will be retroactive to January 1, 2018.

For more information, contact your local USDA service center. Or see https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/Dairy-MPP/index


Complete the 2017 Census of Agriculture

There is still time to fill out your 2017 Census of Agriculture survey. USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is making progress every day, but they need to hear from all producers. Help NASS spread the word that farmers and ranchers still have time to be counted in the 2017 Census of Agriculture.


Dairy Farmers Have Until June 1 to Apply for Improved Safety Net under Margin Protection Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds dairy farmers of the June 1 deadline to enroll in the improved Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy).  Many producers will see payments in early June, depending on the coverage they elect.

The program protects dairy producers by paying them based on the difference between the national all-milk price and the national average feed cost.  The 2018 Bipartisan Budget Act made several changes to the safety net program to provide better protections for dairy producers from shifting milk and feed prices.

Updates include:

  • Calculation of the margin period is monthly rather than bi-monthly.
  • Covered production is increased to 5 million pounds on the Tier 1 premium schedule, and premium rates for Tier 1 are substantially lowered.
  • An exemption from paying an administrative fee for limited resource, beginning, veteran, and socially disadvantaged producers. Dairy operators enrolled in the previous 2018 enrollment period that qualify for this exemption under the new provisions may request a refund.

Signup for 2018 will be retroactive to Jan. 1, of this year.  Margins for February and March 2018 have already been announced and payments for those months, along with potential payments for April, will be issued in June based on producer elections.

All dairy operations must make new coverage elections for 2018, even if the operation was enrolled during the previous 2018 signup period. Dairy producers should use the MPP-Dairy Decision Tool for support in making related enrollment decisions.

All dairy operations interested in MPP-Dairy coverage must sign up during the enrollment period and submit form CCC-782 to FSA to enroll. Dairy operations may still “opt out” by not submitting a form.

For more information, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/dairy. Contact your local FSA county office to enroll in the program. To find your local FSA county office, visit https://www.farmers.gov/.


Crop Insurance Deadline Nears in Maine

Nursery Growers Need to Make Insurance Decisions Soon

USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) reminds Maine nursery growers that the final date to apply for crop insurance coverage for the 2019 crop year is May 1. Current policyholders who wish to make changes to their existing coverage also have until the May 1 sales closing date to do so. Growers applying for the first time may purchase coverage at any time.

Federal crop insurance is critical to the farm safety net. It helps growers and owners manage revenue risks and strengthens the rural economy. Coverage begins 30 days after receipt of a signed application, Plant Inventory Value Report for each insured practice, and two copies of the grower’s most recent wholesale catalog or price list. More information on nursery crop insurance is available at RMA’s Nursery Policy web page.

Growers are encouraged to visit their crop insurance agent to learn specific details for the 2019 crop year. Crop insurance is sold and delivered solely through private crop insurance agents. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers and online at the RMA Agent Locator. Growers can use the RMA Cost Estimator to get a premium amount estimate of their insurance needs online.

For more information about crop insurance and the modern farm safety net, visit www.rma.usda.gov.


USDA Reopens Enrollment for Improved Dairy Safety Net Tool

Bipartisan Budget Act Makes Substantial Program Changes

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is encouraging dairy producers to consider enrolling in the new and improved Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy), which will provide better protections for dairy producers from shifting milk and feed prices. With changes authorized under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) has set the enrollment period to run from April 9, 2018 to June 1, 2018.

The program protects dairy producers by paying them when the difference between the national all-milk price and the national average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount elected by the producer.

Dairy operations must make a new coverage election for 2018, even if you enrolled during the previous 2018 signup period. Coverage elections made for 2018 will be retroactive to January 1, 2018. All dairy operations desiring coverage must sign up during the enrollment period and submit an appropriate form (CCC-782) and dairy operations may still “opt out” by not submitting a form. All outstanding balances for 2017 and prior years must be paid in full before 2018 coverage is approved.

Dairy producers can participate in FSA’s MPP-Dairy or the Risk Management Agency’s Livestock Gross Margin Insurance Plan for Dairy Cattle (LGM-Dairy), but not both. During the 2018 enrollment period, only producers with an active LGM-Dairy policy who have targeted marketings insured in 2018 months will be allowed to enroll in MPP-Dairy by June 1, 2018; however, their coverage will start only after active target marketings conclude under LGM-Dairy.

USDA has a web tool to help producers determine the level of coverage under the MPP-Dairy that will provide them with the strongest safety net under a variety of conditions. The online resource, which will be updated and available by April 9 at www.fsa.usda.gov/mpptool, allows dairy farmers to quickly and easily combine unique operation data and other key variables to calculate their coverage needs based on price projections. Producers can also review historical data or estimate future coverage based on data projections. The secure site can be accessed via computer, smartphone, tablet or any other platform.

USDA is mailing postcards advising dairy producers of the changes. For more information, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/dairy or contact your local USDA service center.


Registration is open for Open Farm Day 2018!

Complete your registration today!

get real. get Maine! Promotes Maine food, farms and forests.

Questions about registration? Please email us.

New for 2018!

We have some benchmarks and related pilot programs for 2018 to help connect consumers and attendees with Maine farmers during Open Farm Day 2018. This includes: an online map, a printable passport, and participant resources.

Online Map: Identify your GPS coordinates to be included in the *new* electronic guide map! To help us better share and publicize your participation to interested attendees, this year’s form asks for a GPS address. The GPS information will help us create an online map for attendees to search. You can >>use this online tool<< to enter your venue address, and get the latitude and longitude for your GPS address.

What to find on the farm: When our team receives questions about where they can purchase Maine products, or where to visit to learn about a certain type of crop or animal, we want to be able to connect attendees and customers with Maine farms. The 2018 form has more specific categories, and will help us share specific information in the Open Farm Day Passport.

Open Farm Day Passport: The printable and electronic guide for attendees will include a passport. It is a pilot program to encourage participation by attendees, and create relationships with farmers. We are asking farmers to initial an attendee’s passport next to the farm description. We are asking attendees to submit their signed passports and surveys to the Ag Resources team for prizes. The passport is scheduled for publication across the state in all seven daily newspapers, and visitor centers.

Participant Resources: these are designed as helpful tools for farmers. Look for the agritourism best practices, a sample certificate of insurance copy, pre-and post event survey about your participation goals, and tips on how to help promote your agritourism event!


USDA to Measure Fruit and Berry Production

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

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

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


Woodchuck Survey

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

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

Click here to start the Survey

Thank you for your participation.


AgriTourism Survey

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

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

https://wvu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5mVWXHplvCnelwh

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


Maine Grain Conference CANCELLED

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

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

Full refunds will be processed automatically for those who registered. If you have any questions about the refund, contact Terri Eldridge at theresa.eldrige@maine.edu or 207581.3873.


10 Ways to Observe National Invasive Species Awareness Week in Maine February 26 – March 2, 2018

  1. Learn how to identify invasive plants that might be growing on your property. With the leaves off the trees, now is a great time to find some invasive plants that might be otherwise hidden, such as Asiatic bittersweet vines snaking through a tree’s canopy. Take a walk through your property and flag invasive woody plants. Map your finds and plan your management tactics for each species.
  2. Are you planting this year?  Use as many native plants as possible. The UMAINE Cooperative Extension Service has a detailed list of Maine native plants for gardening or landscaping, or ask your local nursery staff for help on choosing non-invasive alternatives.
  3. Take a hike and look for signs of invasive forest insects as you go. Use this the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry guide to help. Make it a family, club or organization outing! Become a citizen scientist and report your findings to www.vitalsignsme.org.
  4. Going camping? Leave your firewood at home and prevent the spread of invasive pests. Buy firewood at the campground or go to FirewoodScout.org to find other local sources.
  5. Do you live in an area that has winter moth?  Don’t dig up and share perennials/tree saplings. Winter moth pupae are hiding in the soil all summer long and will move with transplants.
  6. Stay inside and watch “Foes of the Forests: Maine’s Trees at Risk from Invasive Insects,” or participate in an invasive species webinar offered during NISAW week.
  7. Don’t release aquarium fish and plants, live bait or other exotic animals into the wild.  If you plan to own an exotic pet, do your research and make sure you can commit to its care.
  8. Learn about protecting Maine’s waterways from invasive aquatic plants. Consider joining Maine’s Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program.
  9. Like or Follow Maine Bug Watch and the Maine Invasive Species Network Facebook pages.

Spread Awareness: take your National Invasive Species Awareness Week commitment beyond this week. Tell your friends, family, neighbors and others about invasive species! It’s a big state and we can’t get the word out to everyone without your help. Encourage them to get involved with National Invasive Species Awareness Week in their own way.


Be counted in the 2017 Census of Agriculture! It’s Not Too Late

It’s not too late to be counted in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Every five years, the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) conducts the Census of Agriculture. Questionnaires were mailed to all known farmers in beginning in December 2017. NASS is following up with those that have not returned their questionnaires but farmers can still complete their questionnaires and return them by mail or complete their questionnaires on-line with NASS’s new web response tool. Reporting on-line saves time, is user-friendly, calculates totals automatically, and skips questions not applicable to your operation.

“It’s important for all farmers to be counted” according to Gary Keough, NASS State Statistician for the New England States. “NASS will begin following up with those that have not completed their The Census of Agriculture is the only source of uniform, comprehensive and impartial agricultural data for every county in the nation. It’s a complete count of U.S. farms and the people who operate them. From small plots of urban and rural land to large farms with thousands of acres, the Census counts them all plus looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, and income and expenditures.” For Census of Agriculture purposes, a farm is any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the Census year.

Why is data like this good to have?

  1. Farmers have an opportunity to decide if they’d like to expand or diversify their operations to fill a gap that may show in the trends.
  2. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry uses the data to administer State programs.
  3. Organizations like the Maine Farm Bureau and Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association uses the data to educate legislators, local officials, and consumers about the importance of Maine agriculture to the State’s and local community’s economies.
  4. Universities like the University of Maine can identify a need in the county/state, build programs and workshops for farmers to learn about best practices and strategies, and possibly write grant proposals to benefit farmers looking to diversify and grow their operations.
  5. Agribusinesses have insight to where particular farm machinery or processing facilities are needed to address farmers’ needs.

If you didn’t receive a questionnaire please contact Gary Keough at 603.227.3129 or email at gary_keough@nass.usda.gov.

Be counted – Take the Questionnaire


NRCS seeks proposals for grants to improve conservation in Maine

Fiscal Year 2018 grant program addresses natural resource concerns in Forestry, Aquatic Organism Conservation, Soil Health and Pollinator Conservation. Do you have an idea that could improve conservation in Maine?

The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is announcing availability of Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) to stimulate the local development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies. NRCS anticipates that the amount available for support of this program in Fiscal Year 2018 will be up to $250,000 in Maine.

Proposals are requested from eligible governmental or non-governmental organizations, or individuals, for competitive consideration of grant awards. Projects will be between one and three years in duration.

CIG will fund single and multi-year projects, with an anticipated project start date of Sept. 30, 2018.  Funds will be awarded through a competitive grants process, and the maximum award amount for any project will not exceed $75,000 in this fiscal year. Selected applicants may receive CIG grants of up to 50 percent of their total project cost, and recipients must provide non-Federal funding equal to the amount of Federal funds requested. Non-Federal funds must be derived from cash and/or in-kind sources.

Proposals must be sent electronically through https://www.grants.gov/ In addition proposals must be emailed to tony.jenkins@me.usda.gov in PDF format. Proposals must be received by NRCS before 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) on April 16, 2018.

For additional information visit the NRCS-Maine website or contact State CIG Program Manager Tony Jenkins at 207.990.9557.


Need Pesticide Recertification Credit? There are several upcoming events!

Including:

  • Maine Vegetable and Fruit Schools
  • Southern Aroostook County SWCD Winter Ag Schools
  • 2018 Wild Blueberry Spring Meetings & Field Days
  • and many additional options

For details on these events and many other upcoming credit opportunities visit the Board of Pesticides Control credit calendar 

If you have any questions please contact the Board of Pesticides Control at 207.287.2731or pesticides@maine.gov

For more information about the Board of Pesticides Control visit: thinkfirstspraylast.org


2018-2019 New England Vegetable Management Guide Available

Copies of the 2018-2019 New England Vegetable Management Guide are now available at Highmoor Farm. The guide contains the latest information on management control options for the major vegetable pests as well as scouting information. This guide has been significantly revised and updated. We recommend all earlier editions of the guide be discarded, in favor of this latest edition.

Cost of the guide is $25.00 plus $3.68 postage for a total of $28.68. To order the guides, please send your check made payable to UMaine Cooperative Extension mailed to:  Highmoor Farm, P.O. Box 179, Monmouth, Maine 04259, atten. Pam St. Peter. For more information, contact Pam St. Peter at 933.2100 or pamela.stpeter@maine.edu.

Members of the Maine Vegetable & Small Fruit Growers Association (MVSFGA) or the New England Vegetable & Berry Growers Association receive free copies of the guides. For MVSFGA membership information, contact Bill Jordan at 207.799.1040.


Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue unveils Farmers.gov at a breakfast hosted by the Michigan Farm Bureau.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today unveiled Farmers.gov, the new interactive one-stop website for producers maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Farmers.gov is now live but will have multiple features added over the coming months to allow agricultural producers to make appointments with USDA offices, file forms, and apply for USDA programs. The website, launched at a breakfast hosted by the Michigan Farm Bureau, gathers together the three agencies that comprise USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation mission area: the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Risk Management Agency.


Perdue Announces USDA’s Farm Bill and Legislative Principles for 2018

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Bill and Legislative Principles for 2018 during a town hall at Reinford Farms in Mifflintown, Pennsylvania.

“Since my first day as the Secretary of Agriculture, I’ve traveled to 30 states, listening to the people of American agriculture about what is working and what is not. The conversations we had and the people we came across helped us craft USDA’s Farm Bill and Legislative Principles for 2018,” said Secretary Perdue. “These principles will be used as a road map – they are our way of letting Congress know what we’ve heard from the hard-working men and women of American agriculture. While we understand it’s the legislature’s job to write the Farm Bill, USDA will be right there providing whatever counsel Congress may request or require.”


Androscoggin-Sagadahoc County Farm Service Agency Announces County Committee Election Results

 Androscoggin-Sagadahoc County U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Marcia L Hall announced that County Committee elections are over and the ballots have been counted.

Adam C. Trundy of Minot was elected to represent local administrative area (LAA) #2.

“County Committee members are a critical component of the day-to-day operations of FSA,” said Hall. “They help deliver programs at the county level and work to serve the needs of local producers. All recently elected County Committee members will take office in January 2018, and will be joining the existing committee.” Every FSA office is required to have a County Committee, and they are made up of local farmers who are elected by local farmers.

For more information, visit the FSA website at www.fsa.usda.gov/elections or contact the Androscoggin-Sagadahoc County FSA office at 207.753.9400.


New Extension Publication

#1060 Orienting New Farm Employees: A Checklist for Maine Agricultural Employers 

Finding and keeping good employees is a common concern among many Maine farm owners. Effective training, relationship development, and communication strategies are all important components of getting off on the right foot with new employees and fostering their interest in staying for multiple seasons. This checklist is designed to assist farmers in orienting one or more employees once they’ve been hired. 


National Young Farmer’s Coalition Guidebook

The NYFC’s newest publication, is available here, Farm Service Agency Loans: The Ins and Outs of Growing a Farm with Federal Loans.

The guidebook is written specifically to help beginning farmers and ranchers navigate the credit options offered by the Farm Service Agency, and was made possible by a cooperative agreement with FSA. Find more information on NYFC’s website.


Androscoggin – Sagadahoc County Farm Service Agency Is Accepting Emergency Conservation Program Applications

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Executive Director (CED) Marcia L Hall today announced that Androscoggin County and Sagadahoc County are approved to accept applications for the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) to address damages from the severe storm on October 29, 2017. ECP signup began on January 2, 2018, and ends on March 2, 2018.

According to Hall, approved ECP practices under this authorization include: EC1 Removing Debris from Farmland, EC2 Grading, Shaping, Releveling, or Similar Measures, EC3 Restoring Permanent Fences and EC4 Restoring Conservation Structures and Other Installations.

ECP is administered by FSA to assist producers with the cost of recovery activities required to restore the agricultural land to pre-disaster conditions. Producers who sustained damage from this disaster event are encouraged to submit their request for assistance prior to beginning reconstructive work. Submitting a request after completing qualified reconstructive work may result in forfeiture of program eligibility.

FSA county committees will complete an evaluation of submitted requests and obligate available funds based on an on-site inspection of the damaged land, taking into consideration the type and extent of the eligible damage. Completion of the on-site inspection does not guarantee that cost-share funding will be allocated.

The use of obligated funds is limited to return the land to the relative pre-disaster condition. Conservation concerns that were present on the land prior to the disaster are not eligible for ECP assistance. Approved ECP applicants may receive up to 75 percent of the cost of completing the approved restoration activity.

For more information on ECP, please contact the Androscoggin-Sagadahoc County FSA office at 207.753.9400.


Perdue Announces Farm Service Agency State Committee Appointees

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced a slate of Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Committee Appointees. State committees are selected by the Secretary, serve at the pleasure of the Secretary, and are responsible for carrying out FSA’s farm programs within delegated authorities.

“The State Committees will help to ensure USDA is providing our farmers, ranchers, foresters, and agricultural producers with the best customer service,” Secretary Perdue said. “They serve as a liaison between USDA and the producers in each state across the nation by keeping them informed and hearing their appeals and complaints. The committees are made up mostly of active farmers and ranchers, representing their peers and ensuring USDA’s programs are supporting the American harvest.”

Each state committee has five members, one chairperson and four members. The individuals appointed to serve on this committee in Maine include:

Committee Chair Sue McCrum – Belfast

Gregg Garrison – Blaine

Heath Miller – Newburgh

Nancy Ricker – Turner

David Tuttle – North Berwick

State committees are appointed for a one year term which began on January 1, 2018. Each state committee has five members, one chairperson and four members. Committee lists can be found online. States that are not listed here or that have incomplete lists will be announced at a later date.


USDA to Measure Agricultural Land Values

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is encouraging agricultural operations to respond to the New England Agricultural Land Values Survey.

Agricultural land values are one of the major indicators of the financial health of the agricultural sector. The value of land and buildings accounts for the vast majority of all farm assets. Accurate land values are necessary for Federal and State deliberations on farm programs, for lending agencies (e.g. determining collateral assets), and for individual producers to determine their net worth.

This survey collects agricultural farmland values, cropland and pasture values on a per-acre basis (excluding buildings), and year-to-year percentage changes in land values. This data will be summarized in conjunction with June Area survey results to maximize precision of aggregate data.

NASS will publish the results in the August 2, 2018 Land Values publication. The publication will be available on the USDA-NASS website at https://www.nass.usda.gov/.


Kansas State University Extension Specialists Share Tips for Managing Livestock in Winter

Livestock producers are entering a time of year that, because of winter weather, can often be challenging for maintaining the health of their herds, but a host of management steps and best practices can help to get the animals through the tough times. Read more here.


USDA Approves Emergency Forest Restoration Assistance for Androscoggin and Sagadahoc Counties

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Executive Director (CED Marcia Hall today announced that Androscoggin County is approved to accept applications for the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) to address damages due to high wind and rain from the severe storm on October 29, 2017.

EFRP provides payments to eligible owners of nonindustrial private forest (NIPF) land to enable the owners to carry out emergency measures to restore land damaged by a natural disaster. EFRP signup will begin on January 2, 2018, and end on March 2, 2018.

After applications are received, Maine Forest Service will provide technical assistance by evaluating the damage and developing a plan to restore the NIPF land. The local FSA county committee will determine land eligibility and approve applications.

In order to meet eligibility requirements, NIPF land must have existing tree cover or had tree cover immediately before the natural disaster occurred and be sustainable for growing trees. The land must also be owned by any nonindustrial private individual, group, association, corporation or other private legal entity that has definitive decision-making authority over the land. The natural disaster must have resulted in damage that if untreated would impair or endanger the natural resources on the land and/or materially affect future use of the land.

Please contact the Androscoggin County FSA office at 207.753.9400 ext. 2 for more information or visit http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov. The Androscoggin County FSA office is located at 254 Goddard Rd in Lewiston 04240.


BFRN National Tractor ROPS Rebate Program

As you all know, tractors are a central, nearly essential tool for our Maine farmers. Both beginning and experienced farmers are commonly using older tractors that do not have a Roll-Over Protective Structure (ROPS) installed on them. Beginning farmers are at a particular risk when using this equipment, as they do not generally have the tractor operating experience that is critical for safe operation. In the case of a tractor roll over, these ROPS can save lives.I have been working with the Maine Farm Bureau, DACF, State Legislators, and the National Tractor Safety Coalition to create a ROPS rebate program here in Maine. This program will cover 70% of the cost of retrofitting ROPS systems on older tractors. The program is still in the development phases, however, in the mean time, the farmers who you work with can get on the waiting list for the national ROPS Rebate Program that is headed up by the National Tractor Safety Coalition. Their website with info about the program and how to apply is here. https://www.ropsr4u.com/

Contact Jason Lilley if you have any questions about the program.


Record keeping help available to Maine farmers

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Farm Service Agency (FSA) are partnering to provide free assistance to Maine farmers who would like to build on their ability to keep production and/or financial records. The goal of the project is to work with farmers one-on-one to help them evaluate and improve their current record keeping system or help them to implement a new record keeping system. The project began in August and will last 11 months. The goal is to work with at least 15 farms one-on-one across the state of Maine. I believe the winter months are likely the best time of year for farmers to evaluate their record keeping methods and system

I have been hired as an agriculture record keeping professional to manage the program. I can be contacted at calvert.schaefer@maine.edu or by phone at 207.735.3244.


Exotic Tick Species Identified on Hunterdon County Farm

New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher today announced the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa has confirmed the finding of an exotic East Asian tick, also known as the longhorned tick or bush tick, on a farm in Hunterdon County on November 9. This tick is not known to be present in the U.S., although there are records of at least a dozen previous collections of this species in the country on animals and materials presented for entry at U.S. ports.

This tick is a serious pest to livestock (including cattle, horses, farmed deer, sheep, and goats), particularly in New Zealand, as well as wildlife, pets, and humans. Farmers should monitor their livestock for the presence of this tick and decreased growth rates or signs of anemia in the animals. With respect to livestock, the tick is known to transmit a disease called Theileriosis to cattle, which results in severe anemia and possibly death. There are no human health or food safety risks associated with Theileria. This tick also has the potential to spread other bacterial and viral diseases to humans and other animals.

The potential impact of this tick on tickborne illness in New Jersey residents is not yet known. In other parts of the world, the bush tick has been associated with several tickborne diseases, some of which are found in New Jersey, such as spotted fever rickettsioses. The Department of Agriculture is investigating if the ticks found locally are carrying any potential pathogens that may impact human or animal health.

Some tick species may become less active in the winter; however, it is important to take steps to prevent tick bites whenever you are in areas where ticks may be found. Protect yourself, your family and your pets from tick bites.

This tick is a known pest in deer and has a wide host range, thus can infect a range of wildlife species. If the tick is detected in wildlife, then it should be immediately reported to the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife, Bureau of Wildlife Management at 609.984.6295 or the Office of Fish and Wildlife Health and Forensics at 908. 637.4173 ext. 120.

For questions about tickborne illness in humans, contact your local health department (http://localhealth.nj.gov) or the New Jersey Department of Health during normal business hours at 609.826.5964


How to enroll a diversified veggie & fruit farm in Whole Farm Revenue Protection Crop Insurance

A revenue-protection policy for diversified farms

Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) is a crop insurance policy that protects a farm’s adjusted gross revenue from production losses or decline in market prices due to natural causes. WFRP acts as an umbrella policy because revenue from multiple crops, livestock, and nursery products is insurable. Farmers must furnish a fair amount of records to the crop insurance agent to enroll in this policy. The purpose of this factsheet is to explain the required records so that farmers can understand the policy and prepare for a meeting with a crop insurance agent.

Locating a crop insurance agent

 The deadline to enroll in WFRP is March 15, 2018 for insurance during the 2018 growing season, but farmers should begin the sign-up process with a crop insurance agent well in advance of the deadline to ensure coverage. Having your farm records organized before you meet with an agent is favorable.

Locate a crop insurance agent using the online agent locator tool: (https://prodwebnlb.rma.usda.gov/apps/AgentLocator/#/).

(Click on “RMA Agent Locator”. On next page, enter your location in box at top left, and in “Licensed in” box on right, click on Maine in the drop-down menu. Adjust other filters as desired, then click on blue “Search” box.)

More Information

Visit the UMaine Risk Management and Crop Insurance website at: https://extension.umaine.edu/agriculture/crop-insurance/

Contact Crop Insurance Education Program Manager Erin Roche erin.roche@maine.edu or 207.949.2490


Low Interest Emergency Physical Loss Loans Available for 13 Maine Counties with Assistance to Producers in Surrounding Counties and New Hampshire

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting Administrator Steve Peterson today announced that physical loss loans are available for 13 counties in Maine. Farm operators who have suffered major physical losses caused by heavy rain, high winds and flash flooding that occurred from Oct. 29 through Oct. 30, 2017, may be eligible for emergency loans.

This Administrator’s Physical Loss Notification has been issued for Androscoggin, Cumberland, Franklin, Hancock, Kennebec, Lincoln, Oxford, Penobscot, Sagadahoc, Somerset, Waldo, Washington and York counties as the primary damaged area.

Additionally, three Maine counties are contiguous to this designated disaster area, making these producers also potentially eligible for programs based on this designation. The contiguous counties are: Aroostook, Knox and Piscataquis.

Carroll, Coos and Strafford counties in New Hampshire are also eligible for emergency loans because they are contiguous.

FSA’s low interest emergency loans may be made available to any applicant with a qualifying loss in the counties named above. Approval is limited to applicants who suffered severe physical losses only.

Physical loss loans may be made to eligible farmers and ranchers to repair or replace damaged or destroyed physical property essential to the success of the agriculture operation, including livestock losses. Examples of property commonly affected include essential farm buildings, fixtures to real estate, equipment, livestock, perennial crops, fruit and nut bearing trees, and harvested or stored crops and hay.

Producers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans for physical losses.

Please contact FSA for more information on loan eligibility and the application process. FSA office information is available at http://offices.usda.gov. Additional FSA disaster assistance program information is available at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.


USDA to Measure Bee and Honey Production and Colony Loss

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will be collecting information about the honey industry. The Bee Production and Loss, Bee and Honey Inquiry, and Quarterly Colony Loss surveys will be conducted over the period of November 2017 through February of 2018. These surveys collect information about colony inventory and loss, honey production and sales, and production expenses from approximately 2,500 growers in the Northeastern region of the United States.

In these surveys, NASS asks participants to answer a variety of questions about their colonies, honey production and expenses. 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 March Annual Honey report. All previous Annual Honey publications are available online at http://www.nass.usda.gov. For more information on NASS surveys and reports, call the NASS Northeastern Regional Field Office at 1.800.498.1518.


Join one of our upcoming online farming courses: Climate Smart Farming, Holistic Financial Planning, Tree Fruit Production, and more!  

The Cornell Small Farms Program offers over twenty courses to help farmers improve their technical and business skills. 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.

Most courses are six weeks long. Each week features an evening webinar and follow-up readings, videos, and activities. Students and their instructors connect through online forums and live chat. If you aren’t able to attend the webinars in real-time, they are always recorded for later viewing.


USDA Offers Targeted Farm Loan Funding for Underserved Groups and Beginning Farmers

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Maine Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director, David R. Lavway reminds producers that FSA offers specially targeted farm ownership and farm operating loans to underserved applicants as well as beginning farmers and ranchers.

During fiscal year 2017 (Oct. 1, 2016, through Sept. 30, 2017), Maine FSA obligated $5.19 million in loans to underserved borrowers and beginning farmers and ranchers.

USDA defines underserved applicants as a group whose members have been subjected to racial, ethnic or gender prejudice because of their identity as members of the group without regard to their individual qualities. For farm loan program purposes, underserved groups are women, African Americans, American Indians and Alaskan Natives, Hispanics and Asians and Pacific Islanders.

In order to qualify as a beginning farmer, the individual or entity must meet the eligibility requirements outlined for direct or guaranteed loans. Additionally, individuals and all entity members must have operated a farm for less than 10 years. Applicants must materially or substantially participate in the operation. For farm ownership purposes, the applicant must not own a farm greater than 30 percent of the average size farm in the county at the time of application. All direct farm ownership applicants must have participated in the business operations of a farm for at least three years out of the last 10 years prior to the date the application is submitted. If the applicant is an entity, all members must be related by blood or marriage and all entity members must be eligible beginning farmers.


Emera Maine Logging & Farming Safety

Recently, Emera Maine has experienced a number of incidents with logging and farming machinery coming close to or having contact with power lines. Situations like these can potentially have tragic consequences. There is nothing more important to us than sending our employees home safe and well each and every day. We are reaching out with information to help those in the logging and farming industry do the same.

Operating any type of equipment that encroaches upon power lines can potentially risk the safety of the operator and others nearby. Fortunately there were no injuries associated with the recent events we’ve experienced. However, extensive damage to machinery and power outages did result from these incidents. In some cases, power outages affected local businesses, schools, and emergency services. Expenses were also incurred from the time and effort Emera Maine needed to determine the cause of the outage and re-establish power.

Our Safety Around Power Lines guide includes important information for logging, farming, or any activity that has the possibility of coming near or contacting power lines. Some key things to remember are:

  • Stay clear of lines. The very best practice is to avoid power lines altogether, including parking, loading, or storing any equipment under our power lines.
  • Look up! When working around power lines, signs to remind workers of overhead lines can save a life.
  • Maintain a distance of 20 feet. Ensure no part of any vehicle, equipment, or person is operating within 20 feet of power lines. For work that requires closer proximity, please refer to OSHA rules and the Maine Overhead High Voltage Safety Act.
  • No line is safe to touch. Trees, limbs, and equipment can all conduct electricity. You cannot tell if a line is energized simply by looking at it.

In cases where work distances are needed that are closer than outlined by OSHA and Maine State rules, notify Emera Maine a minimum of 72 hours in advance so we can evaluate and implement the needed safety arrangements. If a limb, tree, or equipment comes in contact with or brings down a line, even if something just brushes the lines, contact Emera Maine immediately. For all life-threatening or emergency situations, contact emergency services before calling Emera Maine.

Should you have any questions about operating safely around electrical lines, please call our Customer Contact Center at 1-855-EMERA-11 (1.855.363.7211) or 1.207.973.2000.


Do Your Growers Need Pesticide Credits?

Here is a link for online tests for credits:

https://extension.umaine.edu/potatoes/recertification-credits/maine-board-of-pesticides-control/


USDA Value-Added Producer Grant Funding Available

The Rural Business-Cooperative Service Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program helps agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of new products. The goals of this program are to generate new products, create and expand marketing opportunities, and increase producer income. Applicants may receive priority if they are a beginning farmer or rancher, a socially-disadvantaged farmer or rancher, a small or medium-sized farm or ranch structured as a family farm, a farmer or rancher cooperative, or are proposing a mid-tier value chain. Grants are awarded through a national competition. Each fiscal year, applications are requested through a notice published in the Federal Register and through an announcement posted on Grants.gov.

Independent producers, agricultural producer groups, farmer- or rancher-cooperatives, and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures, as defined in the program regulation are eligible to apply for this program.

Grant and matching funds can be used for planning activities or for working capital expenses related to producing and marketing a value-added agricultural product. Examples of planning activities include conducting feasibility studies and developing business plans for processing and marketing the proposed value-added product. Examples of working capital expenses include:

  • Processing costs
  • Marketing and advertising expenses
  • Some inventory and salary expenses

For more information about the program, please visit: https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/value-added-producer-grants


MOFGA Farm Beginnings

This a farmer-led program to help guide those with a strong commitment to creating a sustainable farm business achieve their goals. Designed for farmers with at least one year of production experience, this series of intensive workshops will help you to develop a whole farm plan through realistic goal setting, reflection, and assessment of your resources, skills, and markets – and gives you the business planning tools necessary to successfully implement your plan. The course was originally developed to support participants in the MOFGA Journeyperson Program but enrollment is open to any farm looking to apply whole farm planning and financial management tools to their operation.

To apply please visit this link

2017-2018 Course Schedule

The 2017-2018 Farm Beginnings course will consist of 7 six-hour sessions, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Sundays from mid-October through early March, a number of shorter workshops at the January Agricultural Trades Show in Augusta, and a workshop with Julia Shanks, author of “The Farmers’ Office” in February. Each of the six-hour sessions is farmer-led and professionally facilitated with course material covered through a combination of classroom presentations, group discussions, guest speakers and panels, as well as guided readings and exercises.

This year the course will be offered in two locations: at MOFGA in Unity, and in Portland. Up to three of the sessions will take place jointly in Unity. The 2017-2018 schedule of dates and session topics can be found here.


Respirator Fit Tests: How To

New requirements under the Worker Protection Standards (WPS) mandate that all pesticide handlers, who are applying pesticides requiring the use of a respirator, have an OSHA approved respirator fit test. These tests include;

  • A medical evaluation and questionnaire
  • A check up with a physician if deemed necessary based on medical history
  • Training on the proper use of required respirators
  • Completing the test annually

Respirator fit tests can be conducted on-farm, however this involves purchasing specialized equipment and working with physicians on the medical evaluations. Many primary care physicians are unfamiliar with this test. Full information on test procedures can be found here. 3M also has information and instructional videos on how to do the test here.

A simplified method for obtaining a fit test for you and your handlers is to visit your local occupational health center. An internet search of “occupational health in Maine” should give you a number of options. Be sure to ask if the center offers respirator fit testing. When ready to do the testing, have a number of respirators with you as different respirator types are designed for different face shapes. Facial hair must be removed in order to use a tight-fitting face piece respirator. One alternative for those of us who are attached to our beards is to use a full faced powered air purifying respirator (PAPR).

Contact the Maine Board of Pesticide Control or your local Cooperative Extension Office for more information.


FDA Launches Food Safety Plan Builder to Help Businesses Comply with FSMA Requirements

To help businesses meet the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Final Rule for Preventive Controls for Human Food, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is releasing a new software tool to help owners and operators of food facilities create a food safety plan specific to their facilities.

The Food Safety Plan Builder (FSPB) is a free software application, developed by FDA,  that businesses can download from the FDA’s website to guide them, step-by-step, through the creation of a food safety plan, as required by  FSMA.

The user is taken through a series of sections (tabs) in the application that prompt the user to answer questions and/or fill in information specific to their business and facility. Once all the  tabs have been completed, the file may be saved or printed, and the firm will have a food safety plan to use in its operations and to provide when the FDA conducts an inspection.

While the Food Safety Plan Builder was primarily designed for use by small manufacturers, which may have limited resources, any size manufacturer can opt to use it. Although manufacturers are not required to use the program, the FDA designed this program to help companies organize their food safety information and minimize the burden of creating their food safety plan.

To assist users, the FDA has also developed an overview video about the application, as well as individual videos that demonstrate how to navigate the various tabs.  These videos are posted on Youtube and may be accessed via the Food Safety Plan Builder webpage. The FDA has also provided a User Guide with individual chapters devoted to each tab. Manufacturers with questions about how to use the tool can access further assistance by contacting the FDA through the email address FoodSafetyPlanBuilder@fda.hhs.gov.

The program and educational materials are modeled after the successful Food Defense Plan Builder, which was created to assist owners and operators of food facilities with developing personalized food defense plans for their facilities.

Additional Information:


USDA and SCORE Launch Innovative Mentorship Effort to Support New Farmers and Ranchers

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with officials from SCORE, the nation’s largest volunteer network of expert business mentors, to support new and beginning farmers. Today’s agreement provides new help resources for beginning ranchers, veterans, women, socially disadvantaged Americans and others, providing new tools to help them both grow and thrive in agri-business.

SCORE matches business professionals and entrepreneurs with new business owners to mentor them through the process of starting-up and maintaining a new business. USDA and its partners across rural America are working with SCORE to support new farming and ranching operations, and identify and recruit mentors with a wealth of agricultural experience.

SCORE mentors will partner with USDA and a wide array of groups already hard at work serving new and beginning farmers and ranchers, such as the Future Farmers of America, 4-H, cooperative extension and land grant universities, nonprofits, legal aid groups, banks, technical and farm advisors. These partnerships will expand and integrate outreach and technical assistance between current and retired farmers and agri-business experts and new farmers.

This joint initiative leverages SCORE’s 10,000 existing volunteer mentors and USDA’s expertise and presence in agricultural communities to bring no-cost business mentoring to rural and agricultural entrepreneurs. This initiative will also be another tool to empower the work of many community-based organizations, cooperative extension and land grant universities, working with beginning farmers in their communities. SCORE mentorship will also be available to current farmers and ranchers. Anyone interested in being a mentor can get more information and sign up on the USDA New Farmers’ website at https://newfarmers.usda.gov/mentorship.


When a wet spring prevents planting… or a spring frost kills your plants… what happens to your crop insurance coverage?

In stark contrast to last year this spring has been a wet one which means fields may be too wet to till and plant on time. Those with crop insurance might find some comfort knowing that their coverage can also help manage risk at planting time- in addition to helping with recovery from crop failure. This is because most crop insurance policies include provisions that provide compensation if weather related issues prevent planting or cause losses that warrant replanting.

More Information

Farmers we’d like to receive your feedback on crop insurance, whether or not you use it, please take our short survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SKP7HCS

Visit the UMaine Risk Management and Crop Insurance website at: https://extension.umaine.edu/agriculture/crop-insurance/

A list of agents serving Maine can be found online using the Agent Locator tool at: http://prodwebnlb.rma.usda.gov/apps/AgentLocator/#/. This article has material from the University of Vermont’s Crop Insurance Outreach Education Program.

Contact Crop Insurance Education Program Manager Erin Roche or 207.949.2490.


Host a Better Field Day

You’ve done some interesting work: You had a great idea, tried it on your farm and got surprising results. Now, you want to share those results with other farmers and ranchers. The only problem is, you’re busy and constantly pressed for time. Who has time to plan a field day? Thankfully, SARE’s new Farmer Field Day Toolkit is here to take off some of the pressure and get the right tools and tips into your hands.


FSMA Required Records and Record Templates

Under the Food Safety Modernization Act non-exempt farms must maintain records of several aspects of the farm. These records include management of compost, test results of irrigation and wash water, training of employees, and more. The Produce Safety Alliance has compiled a list of these required records with details about each, and templates to use for keeping records on your farm. See the PSA fact sheet here. Click here for printable versions of the templates.


Cover Crops Work? Show Me!

All across the United States, farmers are increasingly using cover crops to suppress weeds, conserve soil and control pests and diseases. But agricultural educators know that savvy farmers are reluctant about risk and often want to see cover crops in action before making significant change. SARE’s Library of Cover Crop and Soil Health Images is now available to help educators show producers how cover crops can work on their farms.

The collection includes over 1,500 photos and illustrations organized into 10 galleries. A soil health gallery features high-resolution illustrations compiled in a set of 20 PowerPoint slides for use in presentations.


#2034 Plum Production in Maine

The resurgence in demand for locally-grown fresh fruit has created an opportunity for Maine’s famers to grow and sell plums. Many varieties of plums with excellent fruit quality and market potential are adapted to Maine’s cold climate. As a summer fruit, they are ready to harvest when most farmstands are open for business and people are seeking local produce. The cultural requirements and production practices of plums are similar to apple trees, so farm operations can be easily adapted for plum production.

  • If browsing the publications catalog, you’ll find the new publication in the Agriculture » Fruit » Other Fruit category
  • FYI….You can sort the list of titles by: name/title, author, price, or manufacturer/publisher
  • To print a publication click on the PRINT icon (near the title), then click on PDF.

What is the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and How Could It Impact Your Farm?

Are you a grower or producer interested in learning more about food safety on your farm? If so, please join us for an introduction to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule. This session will be held on Thursday, April 6, 2017 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Knox/Lincoln Counties Cooperative Extension Office, 377 Manktown Road, Waldoboro, Maine 04572. The venue phone number is 207.832.0343.

This introductory session, sponsored by the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Knox-Lincoln Soil and Water Conservation District, and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension will address produce safety, farm food safety best practices, and upcoming regulations. Dr. David Handley, from the University of Maine’s Highmoor Farm, will be our presenter. Handley is an Extension Vegetable and Small Fruit Specialist with over 30 years of experience in the field. This will be a valuable information session for all those wanting to improve food safety on their farm.

This event is free and open to the public. Please preregister by sending an email to Aaron Englander. For more information, you may contact Aaron at the above email or Mark Hutchinson at 207.832.0343.


Webinar – Connecting with Institutional Markets: Strategies and Programs for Producers

For many farmers and ranchers, branching into institutional sales alone might seem daunting. Some producers may rely on independent distributors or co-ops to engage with these markets.

This newly archived webinar on the ATTRA website, NCAT and partners discuss topics including developing partnerships, direct marketing, wholesaling, forward contracting, utilizing MOU’s, and briefly, food safety.

Though focused on Montana, the principles discussed in the video can be applied elsewhere in the country.

To go directly to the hour-long video, click here or find it on the ATTRA website.


Local and Regional Agricultural Production and Intermediated Markets Survey

A new study, funded by USDA, and led by Syracuse University, New York University, the Pennsylvania State University, and the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) seeks to examine local and regional agricultural production and intermediated markets.

The study will examine the opportunities and risks of four main marketing opportunities for farmers—direct-to-consumer, direct-to-institution, direct-to-retail, and selling to intermediaries (such as distributors or food hubs), who in turn sell the products as local food. We are interested in all farmers’ perceptions of these markets, whether currently selling to these markets or not.

The survey has several intended benefits for farmers, including the identification of technical assistance and information needs to help scale up farms for marketing to intermediaries. A national outreach and technical assistance program, conducted by NCAT’s ATTRA Program (National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service) will be developed based on the results of this research.

The survey should take approximately 10 minutes to complete. It includes questions to gather basic information about your farm, production, and marketing practices, and your technical assistance and training needs.

Here is the link to the survey: https://nyu.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_81Z2uih9NPHcnTD

This survey is voluntary, but your input is critical. Your participation in this research is confidential; your responses will not be linked to your contact information in any way.

If you would prefer to complete a paper version of the survey, you can request a copy by contacting Lydia Oberholtzer, Penn State, at 301.891.­0470 or lso3@psu.edu.


SNAP for Direct Marketing Farmers and Farmers Markets – FREE Webinars

USDA has continued funding through May 2017 to assist direct marketing farmers and farmers markets join the SNAP program by providing free equipment to qualified farmers and farmers markets. The National Association of Farmers Market Nutrition Programs (NAFMNP) has created MarketLink, an online solution to an expedited application process, nationally negotiated rates for SNAP, debit and credit; as well as state-of-the-art equipment, an iPHone 6, EMV card reader and blue-tooth connected printer.

Joining the SNAP program involves a multiple application process that enrolls you as a SNAP retailer, determines your eligibility for free equipment and then provides the service to accept SNAP, debit and credit.

The Farmers Market Federation of NY will be holding webinars to help direct marketing farmers and market managers understand the MarketLink program and will schedule phone appointments with attendees to complete the application process. The presentations should take approximately 60 minutes for the presentation and question and answers.

The webinar is free to join and will help you understand the process and the value of adding SNAP to your farm or market. Register now to reserve your space on the date that best fits your schedule.

To register, visit Enrolling in SNAP for the registration information, then click on the link for your choice of dates and complete the registration information. Once submitted you will receive a link to the webinar. Save that link! This is how you will access the live webinar.

For more information, contact the Farmers Market Federation of NY at 315.400.1447 or email deggert@nyfarmersmarket.com.


Resources to Navigate Drought Successfully

By Cathryn Kloetzli, Extension Professional, and Erin Roche, Crop Insurance Education Program Manager, University of Maine Cooperative Extension

As a farmer, gardener or landowner, there are steps and management practices you can implement to reduce or eliminate threats caused by water shortages and damaging weather events. This collection of resources has been gathered for you to successfully navigate the impacts caused by drought.


State of Maine Standard Operating Procedure on Non-Negative Tuberculosis Screen Tests

Tuberculosis transmission from cattle to humans was once common in the United States, but human infections have been greatly reduced by decades of disease control in cattle herds and by routine pasteurization of cow’s milk. In recent history, most human infection in the US are caused M. bovis are due to the consumption of unpasteurized infected dairy products.

Maine allows the sale of both pasteurized and unpasteurized, raw, milk products. This means that there is an elevated risk of M. bovis being spread to the public if it was ever reintroduced into our dairy herds. Due to this risk it is necessary to create a scientifically based standard operating procedure (SOP) for animals that are found to be suspect animals on screening TB tests.

Attached is the standard operating procedures (SOP) we use regarding Raw Milk Producers and Tuberculosis testing. There is also an associated letter that we will be giving to the raw milk producers when they have a non-negative TB test. This SOP is not a new policy it merely puts the previous precedent into writing. Though, this is the first time we will be formally informing the producers of the risks.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions on these documents or TB testing in general at 207.592.6698 or Justin G. Bergeron, BVMS, MPH, Assistant State Veterinarian, NPIP Coordinator, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry Augusta, Maine.


Working with Your Meat Processor

Farmers who want to sell meat directly to restaurants, grocery stores, or consumers need a reliable and skilled partner; the meat processor is an essential team member and an asset to the business. This publication suggests some key ways to work effectively with a meat processor and lists resources for further information: Working with Your Meat Processor (PDF).

 


Eggs from small flocks more likely to contain Salmonella enteritidis

That conclusion — which flies in the face of conventional wisdom that eggs from backyard poultry and small local enterprises are safer to eat than “commercially produced” eggs — was drawn from afirst-of-its-kind, 6-month study done last year in Pennsylvania. Researchers collected and tested more than 6,000 eggs from more than 200 selling points across the state.

Read the entire article from Penn State University online.x


High Tunnels in Urban Agriculture

This new ATTRA publication by NCAT Specialist Chris Lent identifies the unique benefits of high tunnels to urban farmers. It addresses a number of issues — basics of siting and constructing a high tunnel, for example, as well as some of the policy and zoning challenges urban growers face when planning to erect a tunnel

It also discusses high tunnel management, including soil fertility, irrigation, and disease and pest control. Finally, it includes resources on intensive crop production and other uses for high tunnels.

The publication can be downloaded free online.

ATTRA is developed and managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology in cooperation with USDA Rural Business Cooperative. ATTRA’s website features sustainable agriculture publications, webinars, videos, databases, and its popular “Ask an Ag Expert” telephone and email hotline. It is located at www.attra.ncat.org.


USDA Provides New Cost Share Opportunities for Organic Producers and Handlers

Organic Producers and Handlers May Apply for Certification Cost Share Reimbursements; Expanded Eligibility for Transition and State Certification Cost

USDA is making changes to increase participation in the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP) and the Agricultural Management Assistance Organic Certification Cost Share Program, and at the same time provide more opportunities for organic producers to access other USDA programs, such as disaster protection and loans for farms, facilities and marketing. Producers can also access information on nonfederal agricultural resources, and get referrals to local experts, including organic agriculture, through USDA’s Bridges to Opportunity service at the local FSA office.

Eligible producers include any certified producers or handlers who have paid organic or transitional certification fees to a USDA-accredited certifying agent. Application fees, inspection costs, fees related to equivalency agreement/ arrangement requirements, travel/per diem for inspectors, user fees, sales assessments and postage are all eligible for a cost share reimbursement from USDA.

Once certified, producers and handlers are eligible to receive reimbursement for up to 75 percent of certification costs each year up to a maximum of $750 per certification scope—crops, livestock, wild crops and handling. Today’s announcement also adds transitional certification and state organic program fees as additional scopes.

To learn more about organic certification cost share, please visit www.fsa.usda.gov/organic or contact a local FSA office by visiting http://offices.usda.gov.


Farmer Assistance Needed

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is preparing to conduct the 2017 Census of Agriculture. The Census of Agriculture is the leading source of facts and figures about American agriculture. Conducted every five years, the Census provides a detailed picture of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. It is the only source of uniform, comprehensive agricultural data for every state and county in the United States.

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry is asking for your help to make the 2017 Census of Agriculture as accurate as possible. The USDA faces the major challenge of maintaining a current mailing list of farmers. If you have never received a Census of Agriculture or a survey questionnaire from NASS, please take a couple minutes and provide NASS your contact information at https://www.agcounts.usda.gov/cgi-bin/counts/.

Even if you do not think of yourself as a farmer or rancher, please note that your operation is a farm if it meets the Census of Agriculture definition – an operation that sold or normally would have sold $1,000 or more of agricultural products in a year.  If you own or rent agricultural land, grow vegetables, grow horticultural or floricultural products, have fruit or nut trees, cattle, horses, poultry, hogs, bees, aquaculture products, or consider yourself a farmer or rancher, NASS needs to hear from you!

All individual information provided to NASS is confidential and only used for statistical purposes. In accordance with the Confidential Information Protection provisions of Title V, Subtitle A, Public Law 107-347 and other applicable Federal laws, your responses will be kept confidential and will not be disclosed in identifiable form to anyone other than employees or agents. By law, every employee and agent has taken an oath and is subject to a jail term, a fine, or both if he or she willfully discloses ANY identifiable information about you or your operation.

If you have previously received a Census of Agriculture or survey questionnaire from NASS then you will be receiving you 2017 Census of Agriculture questionnaire in late December 2017 or January 2018. Your cooperation is appreciated.


2018 Farm Bill Resources

Farmers might find this link useful in understanding the 2018 Farm Bill.

 


The Farm Bill Process

The Farm Bill is renewed about every five years and includes income supports for farmers, conservation, nutrition, research, agricultural education, rural development, crop insurance, and many other agricultural topics.

The next Farm Bill is expected to be reauthorized in 2018. This document describes the process and invites input: Farm Bill (PDF).


USDA Expands Working-Lands Conservation Opportunities through CRP

Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Deputy Under Secretary Alexis Taylor today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will offer a new Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Grasslands practice specifically tailored for small-scale livestock grazing operations. Small livestock operations with 100 or fewer head of grazing dairy cows (or the equivalent) can submit applications to enroll up to 200 acres of grasslands per farm. USDA’s goal is to enroll up to 200,000 acres.

Taylor also announced that the current CRP Grassland ranking period will end on Nov. 10, 2016. To date, the USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) has received nearly 5,000 offers covering over 1 million acres for this CRP working-lands conservation program. These offers are predominantly larger acreage ranchland in Western states.

The new practice for small-scale livestock grazers aims, in part, to encourage greater diversity geographically and in types of livestock operation. This opportunity will close on Dec. 16, 2016. Offers selected this fiscal year will be enrolled into CRP Grasslands beginning Oct. 1, 2017.

Participants in CRP Grasslands establish or maintain long-term, resource-conserving grasses and other plant species to control soil erosion, improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat on marginally productive agricultural lands. CRP Grasslands participants can use the land for livestock production (e.g. grazing or producing hay), while following their conservation and grazing plans in order to maintain the cover. A goal of CRP Grasslands is to minimize conversion of grasslands either to row crops or to non-agricultural uses. Participants can receive annual payments of up to 75 percent of the grazing value of the land and up to 50 percent to fund cover or practices like cross-fencing to support rotational grazing or improving pasture cover to benefit pollinators or other wildlife.

USDA will select offers for enrollment based on six ranking factors: (1) current and future use, (2) new farmer/rancher or underserved producer involvement, (3) maximum grassland preservation, (4) vegetative cover, (5) environmental factors and (6) pollinator habitat. Offers for the second ranking period also will be considered from producers who submitted offers for the first ranking period but were not accepted, as well as from new offers submitted through Dec. 16.

Small livestock operations or other farming and ranching operations interested in participating in CRP Grasslands should contact their local FSA office. To find your local FSA office, visit http://offices.usda.gov. To learn more about FSA’s conservation programs, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/conservation.


USDA Invests $1.7 Billion to Protect Sensitive Agricultural Lands through Conservation Reserve Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will issue nearly $1.7 billion in payments to more than half of a million Americans who have contracts with the government to protect sensitive agricultural lands. The investment, part of the voluntary USDA Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), will allow producers to protect almost 24 million acres of wetlands, grasslands and wildlife habitat in 2016.

CRP provides financial assistance to farmers and ranchers who remove environmentally sensitive land from production to be planted with certain grasses, shrubs and trees that improve water quality, prevent soil erosion, and increase wildlife habitat. In return for enrolling in CRP, USDA, through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance. Landowners enter into contracts that last between 10 and 15 years.

More than 1.3 million acres were newly enrolled in CRP in fiscal year 2016 using the continuous enrollment authority, triple the pace of the previous year. In fiscal year 2016, FSA also accepted 411,000 acres through its general enrollment authority, plus 101,000 acres in the new CRP-Grasslands program, which balances conservation with working lands. More than 70 percent of the acres enrolled in CRP-Grasslands are diverse native grasslands under threat of conversion, with more than 97 percent of the acres having a new, veteran or underserved farmer or rancher as a primary producer.

For more information about CRP, contact your local FSA office or online at www.fsa.usda.gov/crp. Visit www.fsa.usda.gov/crpis30 or follower Twitter at #CRPis30 for program anniversary background and success stories. To locate your local FSA office, visit http://offices.usda.gov.


NIFA Announces Funding Available for Organic Agriculture Research, Education and Extension Projects

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced the availability of $17.6 million for research and outreach activities to support the organic agriculture sector. The grants are funded through NIFA’s Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

OREI funds high-priority research, education and extension projects that enhance the ability of producers and processors who have already adopted organic standards to grow and market high quality organic products. Eligible entities include Land-Grant and other research universities, federal agencies, national laboratories, state agricultural experiment stations, and research foundations and other private researchers.

Priority areas include biological, physical and social science research, including economics. Funded projects will aid farmers and ranchers with whole-farm planning by delivering practical research-based information and improve the ability for growers to develop the Organic System Plan required for certification.

OREI has eight legislatively-defined goals:

  • Facilitate the development and improvement of organic agriculture production, breeding, and processing methods;
  • Evaluate the potential economic benefits of organic agricultural production and methods to producers, processors and rural communities;
  • Explore international trade opportunities for organically grown and processed agricultural commodities;
  • Determine desirable traits for organic commodities;
  • Identify marketing and policy constraints on the expansion of organic agriculture;
  • Conduct advanced on-farm research and development into topic areas including production, marketing, food safety, socioeconomic conditions and farm business management;
  • Examine optimal conservation and environmental outcomes relating to organically-produced agricultural products; and
  • Develop new and improved seed varieties that are particularly suited for organic agriculture.

Applications are due by January 19, 2017. See the OREI request for applications for details.


USDA Offers Assistance to Maine Farmers and Livestock Producers Impacted by Drought

Farm Service Agency Stands Ready to Assist Agricultural Producers Affected by the Drought

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Maine Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director, Don Todd, reminds farmers and livestock producers of federal farm program benefits that may be available to help eligible producers recover from drought.

FSA offers disaster assistance and low-interest loan programs to assist agricultural producers experiencing drought conditions or similar qualifying natural disasters. Available programs and loans include:

  • Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) — provides financial assistance to producers of non-insurable crops when low yields, loss of inventory, or prevented planting occur due to natural disasters (includes native grass for grazing). Eligible producers must have purchased NAP coverage for 2016 crops.
  • Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) — provides compensation to eligible livestock producers who have suffered grazing losses for covered livestock on land that is native or improved pastureland with permanent vegetative cover or is planted specifically for grazing. The grazing losses must be due to a qualifying drought condition during the normal grazing period for the county.
  • Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) — provides emergency relief for losses due to feed or water shortages, disease, adverse weather, or other conditions, which are not adequately addressed by other disaster programs. ELAP provides assistance for losses resulting from the cost of transporting water to livestock due to an eligible drought. Producers can apply to receive ELAP assistance at local FSA service centers. For the 2016 program year the application period will end on Nov. 1, 2016.
  • Emergency Loan Program — Available to producers with agriculture operations located in a county under a primary or contiguous Secretarial Disaster designation. These low interest loans help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought.
  • Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) — provides emergency funding for farmers to install water conservation measures during periods of severe drought to supply emergency water for livestock, including confined livestock and poultry and existing eligible irrigation systems serving orchards and vineyards.
  • Tree Assistance Program (TAP) — provides assistance to eligible orchardists and nursery tree growers for qualifying tree, shrub and vine losses due to natural disaster.
  • HayNet – is an Internet-based Hay and Grazing Net Ad Service allowing farmers and livestock producers to share ‘Need Hay’ ads and ‘Have Hay’ ads online. Farmers also can use another feature to post advertisements for grazing land, specifically ads announcing the availability of grazing land or ads requesting a need for land to graze: fsa.usda.gov/haynet.

For more information on disaster assistance programs and loans visit www.fsa.usda.gov/ or contact your local FSA Office. To find your local FSA county office, visit http://offices.usda.gov.

 


USDA Farmer Resource — A New Generation on the Land

The question of who farms tomorrow — and how they get access to good quality farmland — is one of the key challenges and opportunities for the farming and ranching community.

For farmers seeking land, it can feel like a daunting task to find the right space to make a farm business.  There are many pressures, including finding and affording the right land, competing in sometimes very competitive real estate markets, assessing how a business plan will work on a specific piece of land, and, importantly, engaging the community and environment around your farm.

For farmers who are preparing for what comes next as they retire, choose a new career, or decide how they want to pass forward their investments – the challenge can feel equally complex. Many farmers want to continue their investments in agriculture even as they leave the business – and feel passionately about helping give others the same opportunities to be a part of a farm or ranch, or to grow up and live in rural America as they have. Many are also looking for strategies to support a healthy, happy retirement, and want to be sure to leave a strong inheritance and legacy for their children.

No matter where you are in this discussion, USDA is here for you.


Maine Seed Garlic Directory

BUYERS: The Maine Seed Garlic Directory is organized by county, then alphabetically by seller.

SELLERS: already listed on the directory below: Please, notify us of updates or when your supply is out or spoken for; email Tiffany Wing or call 207.778.4650.

NEW SELLERS: To place a NEW listing, email Tiffany Wing or call 207.778.4650 to get on the list.

 


USDA Announces Safety Net Assistance for Milk Producers Due to Tightening Dairy Margins

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced approximately $11.2 million in financial assistance to American dairy producers enrolled in the 2016 Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy). The payment rate for May/June 2016 will be the largest since the program began in 2014. The narrowing margin between milk prices and the cost of feed triggered the payments, as provided for by the 2014 Farm Bill. The entire announcement can be downloaded here: USDA Announces Safety Net Assistance for Milk Producers (Word).


SARE Offers Free Online Sustainable Agriculture Courses

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) is offering three free, online, self-paced sustainable agriculture courses.

These include Sustainable Agriculture Principles and Concept Overview, Strategic Farm/Ranch Planning and Marketing, and a new course on Agricultural Ecosystem Management. This program is designed primarily for Cooperative Extension and Natural Resources Conservation Service personnel and is open to farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural professionals nationwide. More information can be found online.


Dairy Producers Can Enroll Today to Protect Milk Production Margins

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Maine today announced that dairy producers can enroll for 2017 coverage in the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy) starting July 1. The voluntary program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides financial assistance to participating dairy producers when the margin — the difference between the price of milk and feed costs — falls below the coverage level selected by the producer.

The Margin Protection Program gives participating dairy producers the flexibility to select coverage levels best suited for their operation. Enrollment begins July 1 and ends on Sept. 30, 2016, for coverage in calendar year 2017. Participating farmers will remain in the program through 2018 and pay a minimum $100 administrative fee each year. Producers have the option of selecting a different coverage level during open enrollment each year.

USDA has a web tool to help producers determine the level of coverage under the Margin Protection Program that will provide them with the strongest safety net under a variety of conditions. The online resource, available at www.fsa.usda.gov/mpptool, allows dairy farmers to quickly and easily combine unique operation data and other key variables to calculate their coverage needs based on price projections. Producers can also review historical data or estimate future coverage needs, based on data projections. The secure site can be accessed via computer, Smartphone or tablet 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The entire news release can be downloaded here: Dairy Producers Can Enroll to Protect Milk Production Margins News Release (PDF).


Maine Migrant Education Program

The Maine Migrant Education Program (MEP) is a federally-funded program under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (Title I, Part C) that provides supplemental educational services to the children of seasonal agricultural and fishing workers that move to new school districts in order to obtain work in industries such as blueberries, broccoli, apples, dairy, eggs tree tipping, fish processing and countless more. The Maine MEP is operated from the Maine Department of Education, but we work with community agencies all over the state to identify potential students and to make sure we pursue all potential leads. The UMaine Cooperative Extension has been exceptionally helpful in the past, due to the widespread nature of the program and many avenues of communication it has. Download the entire article here: MEP article (Word).


Grower Resources — Agritourism

Agritourism is a great way to get the public onto your farm and into your farm stand. This marketing practice gives the public an opportunity to better understand where their food comes from and to see the hard work that goes into the food that you produce by getting them into your fields or up close with your livestock. While there are several benefits to incorporating agritourism into your farm model, there are several health, safety, liability, and sometimes regulatory concerns to be aware of. Below is a list of resources for navigating these concerns. More information and additional resources can be found online.


Online Managed Grazing Tutorial Available

Free Interactive Lessons Can Help Land and Finances

Strategic livestock management can improve soil health, pastures, and profits.

A new online tutorial, “Managed Grazing Tutorial,” by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) goes in-depth into how changing the way grazing animals are managed can improve both the condition of your land and your bottom line.

It’s free and available on the NCAT ATTRA website. Go directly to the tutorial.


The Internal Revenue Service issued the following 10 Key Tax Tips for Farmers and Ranchers

  1. Crop insurance. Insurance payments from crop damage count as income. Generally, you should report these payments in the year you get them.
  2. Sale of items purchased for resale. If you sold livestock or items that you bought for resale, you must report the sale. Your profit or loss is the difference between your selling price and your basis in the item. Basis is usually the cost of the item. Your cost may also include other expenses such as sales tax and freight.
  3. Weather-related sales. Bad weather such as a drought or flood may force you to sell more livestock than you normally would in a year. If so, you may defer tax on the gain from the sale of the extra animals.
  4. Farm expenses. Farmers can deduct ordinary and necessary expenses they paid for their business. An ordinary expense is a common and accepted cost for that type of business. A necessary expense means a cost that is proper for that business.
  5. Employee wages. You can deduct wages you paid to your farm’s full- and part-time workers. You must withhold Social Security, Medicare and income taxes from their wages.
  6. Loan repayment. You can only deduct the interest you paid on a loan if the loan is used for your farming business. You can’t deduct interest you paid on a personal loan.
  7. Net operating losses. If your expenses are more than income for the year, you may have a net operating loss. You can carry that loss over to other years and deduct it. You may get a refund of part or all of the income tax you paid in prior years. You may also be able to lower your tax in future years.
  8. Farm income averaging. You may be able to average some or all of the current year’s farm income by spreading it out over the past three years. This may cut your taxes if your farm income is high in the current year and low in the prior three years.
  9. Tax credit or refund. You may be able to claim a tax credit or refund of excise taxes you paid on fuel used on your farm for farming purposes.
  10. Farmers Tax Guide. For more details on this topic see Publication 225, Farmer’s Tax Guide. You can get it online www.irs.gov/Forms-&-Pubs anytime.

NOP Videos on Organic Certification

As part of the USDA National Organic Program’s Sound and Sensible Initiative, the International Organic Inspectors Association (IoIA) created two videos on what producers can expect during an organic farm inspection. The focus of the video is to take some of the mystery out of the process for producers considering beginning or transitioning to an organic operation. The videos were produced in conjunction with the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT).

The links to the videos are posted below. Please consider passing on this message to anyone who might be interested in the videos. They also are available at NCAT’s ATTRA website at www.attra.ncat.org.