Farm Scoop June 2011

Vegetable Growers Twilight Meeting

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Maine Vegetable and Small Fruit Growers Association will hold a Twilight Meeting at R. Belanger & Sons Farm in Lewiston on Wednesday, June 8th at 5:30 p.m. Join our host Rick Belanger for a tour of their new packing and storage facility designed to meet G.A.P. certification standards, early vegetable plantings, new strawberry plantings on plastic mulch and a discussion of pest management strategies for the season ahead with David Handley, Vegetable & Small Fruit Specialist. One pesticide applicator re-certification credit will be available for attending. R. Belanger & Sons Farm is located at 262 Cotton Road in Lewiston, off of Exit 80 on the Maine Turnpike. The farm phone number is 207.783.3737. Cost for the meeting is free and no registration is required. For more information, please contact David Handley at 207.933.2100. Hope to see you there!

2011 UMaine Sustainable Agriculture Field Day

This year features small-scale vegetable production — come and see what UMaine researchers have been up to!

When: Wednesday, June 29, 2011, 5:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Where: Rogers Research Farm, Stillwater, ME

Cost: Free

Registration: On-site at 4:45 p.m.  Come early (4:00-4:45 p.m.) to try a variety of hand- and wheel-hoes for weeding. For more information contact John Jemison or Ellen Mallory at 1.800.870.7270 (in Maine).

2011 North Atlantic Poultry Biosecurity and Pest Management Workshop

This one-day workshop will be offered on Wednesday, June 15, 2011 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. in Room 100, W.B. Young Building, at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT. Your fee of $50 will be due at the start of the meeting.

Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Committee (COC) Elections

Are you an agricultural producer in Maine? Are you willing to assist your local FSA office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), by representing the agricultural producers in your Local Administrative Area (LAA) in your county? Would you enjoy working on a committee that provides local input on USDA Commodity, Conservation and Emergency Programs as well as producer payment eligibility? If you answered YES to these three questions, please consider filing a nomination petition form FSA-669A with your local FSA office to have your name entered on the ballot for the next COC election. The nomination process for County Committee members will begin on June 15, 2011. If you are new to FSA, please check the website to find your local county office for contact information and to see if your LAA is having an election this year.

Do You Offer Educational Workshops at Your Farm?

If you would like to request a presenter from UMaine Cooperative Extension for a public food preservation workshop, please see our Food Preservation Hands-on Workshop page or call 1.800.287.1471. Anyone can request a workshop and Kate McCarty, Food Preservation Program Aide, will field these requests and identify staff or Master Food Preservers volunteers to teach the class.

Applied Poultry Science Project

Twenty-five agricultural service providers throughout New England are participating in a three-year project to gain practical knowledge and skills in applied poultry science. Each participant is expected to assist local farmers (or individuals planning to farm) with establishing, expanding or adapting small scale poultry enterprises in their respective state. These enterprises may range from 25 to 10,000 birds and may involve the production of eggs, meat, feathers or other poultry-related products. Poultry enterprises involving the sale of live birds such as hatcheries and pullet production could also be included. If you are interested in participating as a producer and receiving input for a poultry-related enterprise, please read the farmer invitation letter and get in touch with Dick Brzozowski 1.800.287.1471 or Tori Jackson 1.800.287.1458.

Useful Calculators for Poultry Producers

We have two Excel spreadsheets that poultry producers may find useful for planning purposes. The first can help you calculate how many hens you need to produce the desired number of eggs for your operation. The second is a break-even calculator so you can see all of your expenses and how many birds you need to sell, and at what price, to break even. If you would like either of these sent to you via email, please contact Dick Brzozowski 1.800.287.1471 or Tori Jackson 1.800.287.1458.

Tractor Safety Videos Available

What do your workers do on rainy days? How about some safety training? We have several tractor safety videos available on both VHS and DVD available for loan from the Cumberland County Cooperative Extension office. Contact Dick Brzozowski at 207.781.6099 or 1.800.287.1471 (in Maine) for specific titles and to borrow videos.

Do You Use a Smart Phone?

If so, what applications do you use in your farm business? We are interested in how Maine farmers are using mobile technology. Are there applications you wish were available for your iPhone or Android, but haven’t been able to find? Please contact Dick or Tori with your feedback.

Financing Corner

Agricultural Microloan Programs from CEI

This program has helped quite a few farmers get up and running for the season. Coastal Enterprises, Inc (CEI) has seen an increased number of farmers inquiring about business planning assistance, recognizing that good planning and farm viability go hand in hand. For more information contact Gray Harris or call 207.882.7552.

The No Small Potatoes Investment Club seeks to strengthen Maine’s sustainable food system by providing low-interest micro-loans (up to $5,000) to Maine’s farms and food businesses for equipment or working capital. Applications for our next round of loans are due on June 15th, and we will make loan decisions by the end of July. Please contact Chris Hallweaver or call 207.329.5048 to receive an application.

FSA offers Rural Youth Loans

Rural Youth Loans are available as direct loans only and have a maximum loan amount of $5,000. Rural youth loans may be made to individuals who are sponsored by a project advisor, such as a 4-H Club, FFA or local vocational instructor. Individuals must be at least 10 but not more than 20 years old to be eligible and reside in a town or city with a population. For more information and to apply, please call the FSA Loan office at 207.753.9400, ext. 2

Unsecured SBA Small Business Loans

Many small businesses, including farms, can have difficulty obtaining capital at reasonable rate. Strategies For Small Business offers both low-interest rates, and a quick turn around, so you can receive up to $25,000 for any business expense, including working capital.

Free Agricultural Publications Available

Having recently packed up and moved his office from Portland to the new Tidewater Regional Learning Center in Falmouth, Extension Educator Dick Brzozowski has found several publications and handbooks he would like to make available at no charge to you! There are limited supplies, but if you are interested in any of the following, please email Dick or call him at 207.781.6099.

  • The Hoophouse Handbook: Growing Produce and Flowers in Hoophouses and High Tunnels by Lynn Byczynski.
  • Several Yearbooks of Agriculture
  • Arthritis and Agriculture. Arthritis is common for many farmers and farm workers. This publication can help you learn how to manage your arthritis and continue farming.
  • Handbook for Raising Small Numbers of Sheep (55p)
  • Management Guidelines for Efficient Sheep Production (64p)