Wild Blueberry Newsletter December 2020

Wild Blueberry Newsletter header graphic, text and a photo of blueberries and leaves

December 2020

Dear Wild Blueberry Growers, Processors, and Stakeholders,

There are some important loan and grant funding deadlines coming up in December.

The last Produce Safety Training will be offered as a two-day workshop December 11 and 18. As you are aware, if you sell more than $28K in produce annually (average of your last three years of sales) and more than half of your crop is sold to a wholesale market to be frozen, then you are FULLY COVERED by the FSMA Produce Safety Rule. If so, you MUST have someone from your farm attend a Produce Safety Grower Training.

FSA CFAP2 December 11, 2020 Deadline

The FSA CFAP2 program is the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2, for agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19. This is a cash program, not a loan. There is a fast turn-around for the funds (3-5 days), and it is easy to qualify. The deadline for this program is December 11, 2020.

DACF CARES ACT E-Commerce Reimbursement Program

Agriculture producers who invested in e-commerce because of COVID-19 are urged to take advantage of the DACF CARES ACT E-Commerce Reimbursement Program. The deadline to apply is December 18, 2020.

This program, which will be administered by Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), is open to farm businesses that have incurred new, unanticipated expenses directly related to e-commerce infrastructure purchase or subscription after March 1, 2020. The funding includes reimbursement of up to $5,000 for e-commerce infrastructure, including:

  • Comprehensive online sales management platforms (e.g., those that cover CSA, wholesale, and direct-to-consumer models);
  • Online payment processing subscription/services;
  • Turnkey or custom order processing and fulfillment software;
  • Website design/customization services (e.g., subcontractor services);
  • Critical program/app integration services (e.g., QuickBooks, Stripe).

For complete DACF CARES Act (CFDA# 21.019) E-Commerce Reimbursement Program overview including funding eligibility requirements, application timeline, and other program resources, visit CEI’s Maine Grant Programs webpage.

For questions or additional information, please contact Jenn Stein, CEI Food Systems Business Advisor at jenn.stein@ceimaine.org.

Upcoming Events

Produce Safety Grower Alliance Training

Online/Virtual, December 11 & 18, 2020. (two Friday mornings)
December 11, 2020, Friday: 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM
December 18, 2020, Friday: 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM
This will be the last training of 2020. Online Registration

Climate Change Focus Group

Researchers at the University of Maine and University of New Hampshire are looking for wild blueberry farmers to participate in a zoom focus group discussion on ‘natural climate solutions.’ The purpose of this focus group is to better understand farmer challenges and barriers to adoption of practices that build soil health and contribute to climate resilience. Participating farmers will be compensated with a $100 Visa gift card for their time. Focus group participation is limited to 10 farms and compensation is on a per-farm basis.

When: January 5, 2021, Tuesday
Time: 2:00 PM­– ­4:00 PM
Questions? Contact Sonja Birthisel at sonja.birthisel@maine.edu or 207-228-3601

UMaine Wild Blueberry Conference Series

This winter’s conference will be offered online via zoom from January 27 – March 19. One-two hour sessions will be held on Wednesdays from 4:00 pm-6:00 pm and on Fridays from 12:00 pm-2:00 pm. Registration is required. More information can be found on the agenda.

For phone registration please call Mary Michaud 207.581.3175.

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