April 2016
Your Monthly News & Updates
group garden talk
Extension Services Keeping Farmers on the Farm...New Research Shows Substantial Impact of Federal Program
Federal cooperative extension programs were developed to help researchers in the agriculture industry and, in turn, individual farmers in the United States.
According to a new study, an estimated 137,000 farmers would have left the fields in the past 25 years if it weren't for these programs.
In his paper, State Cooperative Extension Spending and Farmer Exits Stephan Goetz of Penn State University examines the value of extension services in an era in which fewer farmers are needed to produce food in the U.S. than in previous generations.
"The underlying concern is, if we are losing farmers at too fast a pace we may not be able to grow our own food," Goetz said.
This paper, co-authored by Meri Davlasheridze of Texas A&M-Galveston, was recently chosen to be published in Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy. It not only looks at policy and agriculture, but also the impact on traditional farming communities in rural areas; where cuts in extension funding could lead to a big economic downturn.
"There is tremendous return to the community," Goetz said. "The numbers are clear. These services are making an impact. (Extension services) are helping create and keep jobs and doing it for less money."
Source: Agricultural & Applied Economics Association.

Spring Cover Crop Walk
April 26 th 1:00
Host Farm: Stonyvale Farm, Fogler Family
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension and The Natural Resources Conservation Service will be hosting a cover crop walk in Exeter on April 26 th starting at 1:00.  Stonyvale Farm has been using cover crops for years, and has been experimenting with various tools and techniques to establish effective cover crops and improve soil health. Come join us as we walk some fields and evaluate the effectiveness of some of their experiments to improve the sustainability of their cropping systems.
The field day will start at the Exeter Town office at 1:00pm and participants will carpool to various fields where we have pits dug to look at rooting depth and soil qualities. The Exeter Town Office is located at 1220 Stetson Rd, Exeter.
2016 is the International year of soil! Come learn how soil cover cropping practices and crop rotations can improve soil quality!
For more information and directions, contact Rick Kersbergen at 207.342.5971 or Richard.kersbergen@maine.edu 
sheepOnline Training for
FAMACHA© Certification 
Use of the FAMACHA© system allows small ruminant producers to make deworming decisions based on an estimate of the the level of anemia in sheep and goats associated with barber pole worm (Haemonchus contortus) infection. As part of new Northeast SARE Grant (LNE15-342) small ruminant producers can obtain FAMACHA©
certification through a 4-step process online:
1.    View the 2 hour video on Integrated Parasite Control and the 30 minute video, Why and How To Do FAMACHA© Scoring.  Complete an online post-video summary.
2.    Practice the Cover, Push, Pull, POP! technique.
3.    Record and email a video of your FAMACHA© scoring technique.
4.    Follow-up by phone and/or email as needed.  Live video sessions can be utilized if needed.
Once this certification process is complete, you will be able to purchase a FAMACHA© card.  Visit this website for detailed instructions including contacts for more information,  
tickWatch for Ticks to Prevent Lyme Disease
Spring is here, so it's time to think about the outdoors and proper protection against ticks. Maine had 1,171 cases of Lyme disease reported in 2015. Ticks are primarily active in warmer months.  Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is caused by a bite from an infected deer tick (Ixodes scapularis).  Individuals who work or play outside are more likely to be exposed to ticks. The most common and visible symptom of Lyme disease is a red bulls-eye rash that grows and appears within 3-30 days of exposure.  Other symptoms may include fevers, and joint or muscle pain.
Lyme disease is treatable and most individuals recover completely with a proper drugs. However, the easiest way to avoid the disease is prevention, using "No Ticks 4 ME":
1)      Use caution in tick infested areas
2)      Wear protective clothing
3)      Use an EPA approved repellant
4)      Perform daily tick checks after any outdoor activity
A tick must be attached for a minimum of 24 hours before the infection can be passed on, further stressing the need for prompt and proper tick removal. If you are bitten by a tick, or work in a known tick habitat, watch for symptoms for up to 30 days, and call a healthcare provider if symptoms develop.
Remember that the deer tick (Ixodes scapularis) is the only tick that can transmit Lyme disease, but there are other species of ticks throughout the state. Tick identification references are available to order online at Maine CDC's website. The University of Maine Cooperative Extension Tick ID Lab offers free identification services and educational resources.
New England Red Meat Production Up 8 Percent In 2015
Total red meat production for New England totaled 22.1 million pounds in 2015, up 8 percent from the 20.5 million pounds produced in 2014, according to Gary Keough, State Statistician, of the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), New England Field Office.
  • Commercial cattle slaughter totaled 22,500 head, up 7 percent from 2014. The average live weight was 1,113 pounds, up 42 pounds from the previous year.
  • Commercial hog slaughter totaled 30,800 head, up 5 percent from 2014. The average live weight was 253 pounds, up 5 pounds from the previous year.
  • Commercial sheep and lamb slaughter totaled 35,600 head, down 4 percent from last year. The average live weight was 98 pounds, up 3 pounds from a year ago.
The complete Livestock Slaughter Annual Summary and all other NASS reports are available online at www.nass.usda.gov. 
interestItems of Interest
  • The Local Food System Toolkit was developed by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to help communities reliably evaluate the economic impact of investing in local and regional food systems. The Local Food System Toolkit provides detailed guidance in seven modules to measure and assess the expected economic impacts of local food investments.
  • UMaine Extension Livestock Educator #32920 position description has been posted at UMaine Job Opportunities. Screening will begin May 3rd until a suitable candidate is found. 
  • Maine Food Atlas - The Maine Food Atlas encourages diverse food operators-growers, processors, farm to school groups, food security organizations-to use the website and put themselves "on the map."
  • Farmers Tax Guide #225 available online.
  • Cover Crop Survey - Chance to win $100. A nationwide survey of farmers on cover crop use is seeking insight from growers around the country - whether or not they plant cover crops. Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) in administers the survey funded by SARE. The survey can be taken online at http://tinyurl.com/ccsurvey2016  until May 1, 2016.  All answers to the survey are anonymous. Participants who complete the survey - an easy process that takes no more than 15 minutes, and even less depending on your crop rotations and diversity -  have the option of entering into a drawing for a $100 gift card.
  • Honey production in 2015 from Maine producers with five or more colonies totaled 470 thousand pounds, up 25 percent from 2014, according to Gary Keough, State Statistician of the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, New England Field Office. There were 10 thousand colonies producing honey in 2015, up 25 percent from 2014. Yield per colony averaged 47 pounds, unchanged from 2014. Honey prices increased during 2015 to 551 cents per pound, up 10 percent from 499 cents per pound in 2014. The Honey Production report and all other NASS reports are available online at   www.nass.usda.gov.
  • USDA CONDUCTING MAPLE SYRUP SURVEY - National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will conduct the 2016 Maple Syrup Survey for the Northeastern Region to collect information from more than 2,100 Northeastern producers. Maine currently ranks 3rd in Maple Syrup production. The 2016 survey will ask about the 2015 and 2016 taps and production as well as price information on the syrup produced in 2015.
  • Northeast SARE Graduate Student Grants
    program supports graduate students doing research on topics specific to sustainable agriculture. Grants are capped at $15,000 and projects can run for two years. This grant is open to graduate students enrolled at an accredited college, university, or veterinary school in the Northeast region. Applications are due May 10, 2016.
  • The Local Food Marketing Practices Survey is the first-ever survey conducted by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service to produce benchmark data about local food. Information will include the number of agricultural operations in the United States that produce local foods, the value of local foods sales, and marketing practices and expenses. This census study will provide data on the production and marketing of locally and regionally produced agricultural food products, as directed under the 2014 Farm Bill. A random number of farms received this survey and are encouraged to complete it as soon as possible. Responses can be logged online or by return mail. 
  • Value Added Producer Grant Assistance - The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has a new blog to help farmers navigate the USDA Value Added Producer Grant Application Process.
  • Wholesale Success: A Farmer's Guide to Food Safety, Selling , Postharvest Handling, and Packing Produce by Family Farmed.
    This 316-page book is the definitive source on selling into wholesale markets. It includes topics such as: Calculating Return on Investment; Cleaning, Drying, and Curing Produce; Traceability; Packing Shed Design; and Maintaining the Cold Chain.
    Wholesale Success builds the capacity of farmers to meet the burgeoning demand for locally/regionally grown fruits and vegetables. Adopting best practices in food safety, postharvest handling, packing, and business management will help farmers be more efficient and profitable. It will also give buyers an incentive to increase their purchases of locally grown food. There is a copy in the Piscataquis Extension Office that folks can borrow.
resourcesFeatured Resources

An excellent AgriTourism website for farmers and growers.  
  http://agritourism.rutgers.edu/training/ The website includes several agritourism-related fact sheets, training modules, training videos, checklists, and much more that you may find helpful. Funded by NESARE. Our own Dick Brzozowski contributed to the site development.

April 19, 2016 "Veterinary Feed Directives: Taking Action" hosted by   GlobalVetLINK (GVL®) The one-hour session is ideal for veterinarians, feed industry personnel and producers responsible for handling VFDs and those interested in learning what steps they can take now to prepare for the changes in veterinary oversight of commonly used antibiotics, effective January 2017. Sign up for the webinar at www.globalvetlink.com/vfdstakingaction

Overview of Poultry Related Equipment May 4 at 11:30 am by eXtension.org. Dr. Jacquie Jacob from the University of Kentucky will discuss the different equipment needs for backyard flocks and small scale poultry operations.

Visit the UMaine Cooperative Extension online Publications Catalog
 for agriculture information, such as: 
  •  Crop Rotation on Organic Farm # 1176
    This manual provides an in-depth review of the applications of crop rotation-including improving soil quality and health, and managing pests, diseases, and weeds. A valuable resource for farmers, educators, students, and professionals interested in the do's, don'ts, how's, and why's of crop rotation. Includes instructions for making rotation planning maps and discusses the transition to organic farming. 154 pages. 2009. From Sustainable Ag. Network. $24.00.
  • Forest Landowners Guide to Evaluating and Choosing Natural Resource-Based Enterprise # 7004
    Each year, farm and forest owners start nontraditional enterprises to take advantage of renewable natural resources, such as forests, wildlife, water, and cropland. However, many endeavors fail because the landowner lacked sufficient information as well as technical, business, and marketing skills. This 102-page guide supplies the method and tools to help you make an informed decision and assess your enterprise and resource. 2004. From NRAES $19.95.
  • Tips for Detecting Disease or Injury in Sheep and Goats #1032 If you're a sheep or goat producer, the health of your animals is essential for optimum performance and profitability. This fact sheet organizes information to help you remember past circumstances and treatments. Includes tips to help you interpret normal and abnormal health conditions of sheep and goats. 4 pages. © 2015 by University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Download it for free or buy a color copy.
  • Setting up for Sheep Foot Inspection and Trimming #1033 Discusses the tools and equipment needed to inspect or trim the feet of sheep, as well as the benefits of setting up a handling system that can be used for more than hoof trimming. 5 pages. © 2015 by University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Download it for free or buy a color copy.
The Ohio State University Publications:
Fact Sheets for On-Farm Solar Energy Development Available Online
The Ohio State University has issued a series of fact sheets that cover key aspects of on-farm solar energy development. The series includes "An Introduction to On-Farm Solar Electric Systems," "On-Farm Solar Site Assessment," "Estimating the Size of Your Solar Electric System," "Financial Considerations of On-Farm Renewable Energy" and "On-Farm Solar Electric System Safety."
Cornell Small Farms Program Article:
Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Poultry House by Dr. Michael Darre, Poultry Specialist, UCONN  
eventsUpcoming Events
  • April 26, 2016 Cover Crop Walk - 1 pm starting at Exeter Town Office, 1220 Stetson Rd. Sponsored by UMaine Extension and Natural Resource Conservation Service. Host: Folger Farm. For more information and directions, contact Rick Kersbergen at 207.342.5971 or Richard.kersbergen@maine.edu 
  • May 2, 2016 Deadline for Rural Energy for America Program Grant. FMI brian.wilson@me.usda.gov
  • May 7 and 8, 2016 Free Annual Fence Building Clinics. 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wellscroft Farm in Chesham, N.H. Learn about all styles of electrical and woven wire fence from these fencing gurus. (Wellscroft is owned by Dave Kennard, who comes to many farming trade shows in Maine.) Information. 
  • May 11, 2016 Zinpro free presentation on beef cattle lameness and nutrition at 6:30 pm at the Maine Beef Producers Association Meeting - All interested people invited. Deering Building, Blossom Lane, Augusta. Call Cindy Kilgor to get into the building 215-4968. Call first to be sure of meeting location due to impending remodeling activities.
  • May 20 - 22, 2016 Northeast Livestock Expo, Windsor
  • May 24-25, 2016 Organic Farming Principles and Practices, MOFGA Common Ground Education Center, Unity. Free for MOFGA apprentices, $100 for all other registrants.
  • June 8, 2016 Signs of Spring 4:30 pm to 7 pm at the Hancock County Extension Office, Ellsworth. For those interested in identifying and recording seasonal change in their community in support of understanding Maine's changing climate. Training is free, but registration is required. Register online. 
  • June 11, 2016 Farm & Homestead Day at MOFGA. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center, Unity. Learn skills for resilient living through face-to-face, hands-on activities. Nearly all workshops are participatory. Free! Information.
subscriptionNewsletter Subscription Information 
The Central Maine Farming Newsletter (CMFN), now received by over 775 readers, has been offered as an educational resource by University of Maine Cooperative Extension for over 10 years. As of January 1, 2015, the CMFN will be transitioning to electronic-only delivery. There will still be 
three ways to receive the CMFN from your local UMaine Extension:
1) Central Maine Farming Newsletter remains available online for free! You can sign up to receive the newsletter through your email or view the archived issues anytime at  http://bit.ly/PPfarming If you currently do not have an email, you can get one for free from several email hosts. If you do not have a computer, community libraries have computers for you to use to access information on the Internet and to view your email.
2) Those with no email can opt to pay an annual subscription to receive the newsletters monthly for $15/year. 
 3) A third option is to come into the Piscataquis, Penobscot or Waldo County Extension Office and pick up a free printed copy of the newsletter.
       We appreciate our readers referring others to the newsletter, and sharing it with their family and friends.
    Thank you for your continued support of the CMFN, providing valuable agricultural information from Extension for folks in the central Maine area since 2003.

University of Maine Cooperative Extension is the major educational outreach program of the University of Maine with offices statewide. UMaine Extension provides Maine people with research-based educational programs to help them live fuller, more productive lives.
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weatherLocal Weather Anytime
Many farming activities are driven by the weather.  Our local National Weather Service in Caribou has meteorologists on staff 24 hours a day.  They are willing to talk with you about rain predictions for your town.  Give them a call at 492-0180.  Or check out their online detailed maps at  http://www.weather.gov/car/.

Need Pesticide credits?  Check out the   Maine Board of Pesticide credit calendar.  Many approved pesticide applicator re-certification programs are listed.

Donna Coffin, Extension Educator
Rick Kersbergen, Extension Educator


The goal of the Central Maine Farming Newsletter is to provide timely information on the production and marketing of crops and livestock grown in central Maine.

The University of Maine does not discriminate on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, including transgender status and gender expression, national origin, citizenship status, age, disability, genetic information or veteran status in employment, education, and all other programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director, Office of Equal Opportunity, 101 North Stevens Hall, 207.581.1226.

Photos: Donna Coffin unless indicated otherwise. 

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Penobscot Office - website 
Open Monday - Friday 8 am to 4:30 pm
307 Maine Ave. Bangor, ME  04401  207-942-7396 or 800-287-1485

Piscataquis Office  - website 
Open Monday, Thursday, Friday 8 am to 4:30 pm,
Open By-chance on Wednesday , Closed Tuesday 
165 East Main St. Dover-Foxcroft, ME  04426  207-564-3301 or 800-287-1491 
Waldo Office  - website 
Open Monday - Friday 8 am to 4:30 pm
992 Waterville Road, Waldo, ME 04915-3117 Phone: 207.342.5971 or 800.287.1426 (in Maine)