Maine Grass Farmers Network

The Maine Grass Farmers Network supports farmers by gathering and providing information about

  • potential advantages of growing grass as managed pasture for livestock.
  • increasing profitability to keep farms viable and to maintain the rural character of our communities
  • taking advantage of Maine’s short growing season and cool climate.
  • utilizing pasture lands effectively, while improving animal health, product quality, and market advantage.
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News

Maine Grass Farmers Network Pasture Walk in Jackson on September 9

University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association are partnering with the Maine Grass Farmers Network to offer a pasture walk at the David Greeley farm in Jackson, Maine on September 9 from 4:00–6:00 p.m.

Pasture walks are designed to be a peer-to-peer learning experience, where experienced graziers share their knowledge while walking through their pastures and explaining their management style. Participants learn new techniques and share their experiences and challenges in managing a productive pasture system.

Greeley has been grazing beef cows on his farm in Jackson for many years. Starting in 1994, there have been four biomass harvests totaling about 60 acres that are now in hay or pasture. In addition, over 100 acres of silvopasture help support 40 brood cows and their calves. The farm is located at 291 Hatch Road in Jackson. No preregistration is required.

For more information or a reasonable accommodation, contact Rick Kersbergen at UMaine Extension, 207.342.5971; richard.kersbergen@maine.edu.

Meat Processing Study Released

For the past 18 months, livestock producers in northern Vermont have been looking at ways to improve and increase their slaughter and processing options. One of the study’s most significant finding was that there is not a shortage of slaughtering capacity state-wide, but a shortage of processing capacity. An increase in the availability of USDA processing services since the study began, and the potential for more capacity in the near future, contributed to the group’s decision to not buy an existing slaughterhouse or build a new processing plant at this time.

The report includes:

  • Description of the regulatory issues faced by a slaughter or processing facility operating in Vermont;
  • An assessment of the market for a potential slaughter or processing facility in Vermont
  • Competition analysis of the existing slaughterhouses in Vermont
  • Recommended options for this group, including estimated costs
  • Capital budget for processing facility
  • Operating budget for processing facility

The report’s recommendations include:

  • explore collaborative and creative options for trucking livestock and finished product
  • develop online scheduling and cut lists, and standardize labels
  • state level support and producer participation in education
  • demonstration and technical assistance efforts to mitigate the seasonal nature of Vermont’s livestock industry
  • monitor emerging developments such as the Food Venture Center’s
  • activities to address the shortage of USDA-licensed meat processing capacity

The Slaughterhouse Feasibility Study was conducted by Sleeping Lion Associates, Montpelier, Vermont, and the report on the study is available at The University of Vermont website; do a search for Slaughterhouse Feasibility Study.

The Study was funded by a Vermont Community Development grant to the Town of Troy, subgranted to Pride of Vermont Farms, LLC, grants from the Vermont Community Loan Fund and the Agency of Agriculture, and in-kind services from the UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture and the Cooperative Development Institute from Pride of Vermont Farms.

Maine Grass Farmers Network is coordinated and sponsored by:

University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Contact: Rick Kersbergen
1.800.287.1426 or richard.kersbergen@maine.edu

MOFGA
Contact: Diane Schivera
207.568.4142 or P.O. Box 170, Unity Maine 04988

Natural Resources Conservation Service
Contact: Alice Begin
990.9568 or alice.begin@me.usda.gov

National Grazing Lands Conservation (Formerly GLCI)

Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources
Contact: 207.287.3871