Cows and Crops, October 2017


In this issue:

Upcoming Events

ISU Extension and Outreach Dairy Specialist hosts “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”
September 26, 2017 at 1:00 PM

On September 26, Larry will discuss organic and organic “grassfed” dairy systems. Webinars will also include videos from producers in each of these systems. These webinars are sponsored by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and North Central Risk Management Education Center.

If you’d like to join the webinar, log onto the ISU Dairy Webinars as a guest at 1:00 EST on September 26th.

Also, ISU has an excellent collection of free dairy budgets across all systems, production levels, etc. as well as a blank budget template and explanatory materials on their website.

The New England Dairy Summit and Holstein Convention
October 27-28, 2017

This exciting event is open to anyone involved in the dairy industry.  The program truly offers something for everyone, including:

  • IDEXX facility tour: Tour IDEXX company headquarters to learn more about their animal diagnostic tools and research
  • Farm Tours: Visit four Maine dairy herds to view their cattle and learn more about their herd management- Juniper Farms, Pineland, Brigeen, Conant Acres
  • Maine Product Showcase: Enjoy samples of Maine specialty food and beverage products, including cheese, maple, potatoes, blueberries, cider, wine and craft beer
  • Dairy Girl Network Connect Event: Women in agriculture are invited to attend a networking event hosted by the Dairy Girl Network. This is the first event they have hosted in New England.
  • Interesting featured speakers and presentations by:
    • Mr. Walter Whitcomb- Maine Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
    • Dr. David Kirk, Leader of Technical Services for North American, Phibro Animal Health Corporation
    • Stan Erwine, Vice-President of Farmer Relations at Dairy Management Inc.
    • Robotic Milking Panel- hear from New England dairy producers that have transitioned to robotic milking systems during this panel discussion
  • Traditional Maine Lobster Bake
  • Youth activities, which include a pizza party at a trampoline park, dairy knowledge and public speaking competitions and a folding display contest.

Visit New England States Holstein Association’s website for the brochure, registration materials and further information.

2017 Census of Agriculture — We Need Your Help!

The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service is preparing to conduct the 2017 Census of Agriculture and is asking for your help to promote it. Questionnaires will be mailed in late December. This information is critical to Maine agriculture.  The results of the Ag. census have been used to influence policy decisions and resource allocations.  We highly encourage Maine farmers to complete the 2017 Census of Agriculture.

The Maine Tier Program Needs You!

Many of you have received several notices about the need for Maine Dairy Cost of Production Study data for 2016. This study needs to be done every three years to maintain the Maine Tier program.

The process for the data collection is not very difficult. While sharing your data with us in a confidential manner is probably not your idea of a good time, I think most of you would agree that collecting the tier payments has been beneficial to your farm business.

So before you throw out the next notice or send back a reply that you don’t want to participate, realize that the tier program mandates that the information be collected from a significant number of farms. If we cannot get enough participants, it does not reflect well on the Tier program going forward.

For some of you, participation in the study will also be helpful in managing your farm business going forward.  If you have declined to participate and now want to join, please contact Gary Anderson at

Dairy Producers Can Enroll for 2018 Coverage

Secretary Allows Producers to Opt Out

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) today announced that starting Sept. 1, 2017, dairy producers, can enroll  for 2018 coverage in the Margin Protection Program (MPP-Dairy). Secretary Sonny Perdue has utilized additional flexibility this year by providing dairy producers the option of opting out of the program for 2018.

To opt out, a producer should not sign up during the annual registration period. By opting out, a producer would not receive any MPP-Dairy benefits if payments are triggered for 2018. Full details will be included in a subsequent Federal Register Notice.  The decision would be for 2018 only and is not retroactive.

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.

MPP-Dairy gives participating dairy producers the flexibility to select coverage levels best suited for their operation. Enrollment ends on Dec. 15, 2017, for coverage in calendar year 2018. Participating farmers will remain in the program through Dec. 31, 2018, and pay a minimum $100 administrative fee for 2018 coverage. Producers have the option of selecting a different coverage level from the previous coverage year during open enrollment.

Dairy operations enrolling in the program must meet conservation compliance provisions and cannot participate in the Livestock Gross Margin Dairy Insurance Program. Producers can mail the appropriate form to the producer’s administrative county FSA office, along with applicable fees, without necessitating a trip to the local FSA office. If electing higher coverage for 2018, dairy producers can either pay the premium in full at the time of enrollment or pay 100 percent of the premium by Sept. 1, 2018. Premium fees may be paid directly to FSA or producers can work with their milk handlers to remit premiums on their behalf.

USDA has a Margin Protection Program 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 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, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For more information, visit FSA online or stop by a local FSA office to learn more about the MPP-Dairy.

Maine Farms for the Future Request for Proposals

Looking for a way to change your dairy farm and improve your business management?
Maine Farms for the Future may be for you!

A copy of the Request For Proposal document for Maine Farms for the Future Program can be downloaded. Also, view Question & Answer Summary and all amendments related to this RFP, at Maine’s Request for Proposals website.

Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
Bureau of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources
RFP# 201709156

Maine Farms for the Future Program, Round 17: Phase 1 – Business Plan Development (2017-2019) with potential Phase 2 – Investment Support in 2019

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).

A Bidders Conference will be held on Wednesday, September 27, 2017 from 2:30 – 4:00 p.m. at Conference Room # 118 located in the Marquardt Building, 32 Blossom Ln in Augusta with a public entrance at Door D7.

Proposals must be submitted to the State of Maine Division of Purchases, located at the Burton M. Cross Office Building, 111 Sewall St – 4th Floor in Augusta. Proposals must be submitted by 4:00 pm, local time, on Tuesday, October 17, when they will be opened. Proposals not received at the Division of Purchases’ aforementioned address by the aforementioned deadline will not be considered for contract award.

Weather Resources You May Find Interesting

By Rick Kersbergen

After posting about the lack of Growing Degree Days (GDD) a few days ago, we have experienced some much-needed warm weather. Many of you have asked where to get GDD data for your area. I access the Climate Smart Farming website to get very localized data.

For example, here is the chart for central Maine as of 9-20-17.

Screenshot of CSF Growing Degree Day Calculator

Some other weather resources you may be interested in learning about are available through the Gulf of Maine Gulf of Maine Region Quarterly Climate Impacts and Outlook website. If you are interested, read the most recent issue of Quarterly Climate Impacts and Outlook for the Gulf of Maine Region.

2017 Maine Eastern States Dairy Team Results

On September 14-17, 2017, sixteen 4-H youth and their project animals traveled to West Springfield, MA to represent Maine at the Eastern States Exposition. They competed against more than 150 youth from all over New England in a variety of dairy competitions.

In the first competition, the Dairy Knowledge Exam, Gabbie Guillette took third place and Keltan Tanguay was sixth in the Senior Division (Ages 15-18). While Susannah Huettner took second place in the Junior Division (Ages 12-15).

The Maine Quiz Bowl Team consisting of Alyvia Caruso, Gabbie Guillemette, Calli-Ann Leach and Keltan Tanguay took third place overall. Keltan Tanguay finished third, Gabbie Guillemete finished sixth and Calli-Ann Leach finished tenth in the individual scoring. The quiz bowl team was coached by Connie Wood.

The Maine Clipping Team consisting of Alexia Dumont, Mackensie Schofield and Keltan Tanguay finished second.

In the Dairy Judging, the Maine Team of Alyvia Caruso, Emma Hawkes, Calli-Ann Leach and Jaymee Rankin, took second place in Guernseys, third in Jerseys and third in Milking Shorthorns, with a third place overall. In the individual competition, Calli-Ann Leach finished third in Ayrshires, second in the Shorthorns and sixth overall, while Jaymee Rankin placed second in Guernseys and seventh overall. The team was coached by Jessyca Rankin.

In the Grilled Cheese Sandwich Competition, the team of Alyvia Caruso, Lydia Schofield and Ruben Schofield finished first in the Traditional Category with their Monterey Jack with Pesto sandwich and finished third in the Non-Traditional Category with their wild blueberry and sharp cheddar on sour dough sandwich. The team’s traditional sandwich was also best sandwich of the competition. The team was coached by Ann Caruso.

Maine Grilled Cheese Team of Lydia Schofield, Alyvia Caruso and Ruben Schofield
Maine Grilled Cheese Team of Lydia Schofield, Alyvia Caruso and Ruben Schofield

Results of the Cattle Quality Classes were as follows. In the Ayrshire breed, class winners included Abigail Clock with her Fall Calf, M-R Primes Viv, Megan Caruso with her Winter Yearling, Family-AF-AYR Lucky Martha, Susannah Huettner with her Fall Yearling, Glen-Farm Valorous Most and Keltan Tanguay with his four year-old cow, Blue-Spruce Medalist Brooke, Megan’s yearling was named Reserve Junior Champion and Keltan’s cow was named Reserve Senior Champion of the breed.

In the Guernseys, Kiley Clock and her Summer Yearling, Pinedust Colton Forest finished first and was named Junior Champion and Reserve Grand Champion.

In the Holsteins, Reeve Twitchell and his Fall Calf, Brigeen Brash Paddy finished first and was named Junior Champion and Reserve Grand Champion.

In the Jerseys, class winners included, Mackensie Schofield’s Winter Calf, Happy Acres FP Mistletoe and Calli-Ann Leach’s Winter Yearling, Tierneys Venom Portia.

In the State Herd Competition, the Maine cattle were first in Ayrshires, second in Guernseys and third in Jerseys.

In the Fitting and Showmanship competition, Alyvia Caruso placed first in her age group and was named Reserve Champion in the Junior Division.

The dairy team would like to thank Stephanie Smith, the chair of the dairy 4-H committee for her leadership, and all of the volunteers, coaches, chaperones, contributors and parents who gave freely of their time and resources to make this year successful. 4-H is an educational youth program of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.