December 2016
Your Monthly News & Updates
Red Barn
A short course for farmers thinking about starting a new farm enterprise has been offered a number of times in the past. 
The purpose of this course was to equip participants with the business knowledge and skills to start, adapt, and maintain a profitable land-based business. It was designed for people who want to start a profitable farm or expand their farm hobby to a profitable business.
To help us determine the best format (live, video, webinar, etc.) for this program please complete this survey.
In the past the course objectives have been:
  • ­Participants will feel comfortable starting a farm-based business.
  • ­Participants will understand the need for and have a framework for a business plan.
  • ­Participants will select and use a record keeping system.
  • ­Participants will understand how to use Cooperative Extension and other agencies as a resource for their farm-based business.
  • ­Participants will understand the importance of and basics of marketing their products, including customer surveys.

We anticipate offering this program in the spring 2017. 

showcaseSpaces are Filling Up Fast for the get real. get Maine! Product Showcase!
The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry would like to invite you to participate in our new get real. get Maine! Product Showcase. The showcase will take place on Tuesday, January 10th and Wednesday, January 11th, from 9am-5pm at the 76th Annual Maine Agricultural Trades Show. This showcase is a special opportunity for get real. get Maine! producers to showcase their products at one of the biggest agricultural events in the state.
Producers who are members of get real. get Maine! may apply for a space in the showcase. A limited number of exhibit spaces are available; the fee for each 8' x 10' exhibit space is $75.00 per day, or $150 for both days. This fee will include the cost of any electrical hookups, tables and chairs. Wireless internet access is available through the Augusta Civic Center.
To apply for exhibit space at the 2017 Maine Agricultural Trades Show, please fill out the application here as accurately and in as much detail as possible. In order to sample food & beverage at your booth, you must present a copy of your food & beverage license and/or certificate with your application.
Please register no later than Friday, December 9th, 2016. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered. Due to the increasing popularity of the show and demand for space, payment for booth space is due IN FULL with your completed application. Please make your payment online at the time of registration or send a check made out to: Treasurer, State of Maine. Space will be reserved on a first-come-first-served basis. We will notify you in writing if your application is accepted. Once space becomes full, we will put additional names on a waiting list. Once the floor is filled, if you are not chosen, payment will be immediately returned to you.
If you have questions or need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Samantha Howard, Agricultural Promotions Coordinator, at (207) 287-7620 or by e-mail at We look forward to seeing you in Augusta, January 10th-11th, 2017.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is preparing the mail list for the 2017 Census of Agriculture. The Census of Agriculture is the leading source of facts and figures about American agriculture. Conducted every five years, the Census provides a detailed picture of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. It is the only source of uniform, comprehensive agricultural data for every state and county in the United States.
I am asking for your help to make the 2017 Census of Agriculture as accurate as possible. A major challenge is having a list of farmers that is as complete as possible, especially with so many new farmers. If you have never received a Census of Agriculture or survey questionnaire from NASS then they may not have you on their farm list. Please take a couple minutes and provide NASS your contact information at
Even if you do not think of yourself as a farmer or rancher, your operation is a farm if it meets the Census of Agriculture definition - an operation that sold or normally would have sold $1,000 or more of agricultural products in a year.  If you own or rent agricultural land, grow vegetables, grow horticultural or floricultural products, have fruit or nut trees, cattle, horses, poultry, hogs, bees, aquaculture products, or consider yourself a farmer or rancher, they need to hear from you.
All individual information provided to NASS is confidential and only used for statistical purposes. In accordance with the Confidential Information Protection provisions of Title V, Subtitle A, Public Law 107-347 and other applicable Federal laws, your responses will be kept confidential and will not be disclosed in identifiable form to anyone other than their employees or agents. By law, every employee and agent has taken an oath and is subject to a jail term, a fine, or both if he or she willfully discloses ANY identifiable information about you or your operation.
If you have previously received a Census of Agriculture or survey questionnaire from NASS then you will be receiving your 2017 Census of Agriculture questionnaire in late December 2017 or January 2018. Your cooperation is appreciated.
soilSoil Quality and Nutrient Levels in New and Established High Tunnels in Maine

In this study UMaine Extension staff Caragh Fitzgerald and Mark Hutton report on soil nutrient levels and soil quality in 35 high tunnels on 29 Maine farms. The objective of the research was to determine soil fertility and soil health status; to identify trends in high tunnel soil nutrition management; and to identify grower practices needing additional or continued education with high tunnel farmers. Regardless of tunnel age, more careful management of pH, soluble salts, nitrate, and phosphorus are recommended in order to avoid deficiencies and excesses. This includes using less compost and more high-nitrogen fertilizer materials. Minimizing tillage and ensuring adequate moisture through improved irrigation practices are also recommended. 
interestItems of Interest
  • New Apiarist! Jennifer Lund from the University of Maine comes to the MDACF with a Master's degree in Entomology and over 15 years of entomological experience.  
    The Apiary program helps prevent the introduction and spread of regulated honey bee diseases, parasites, and undesirable genetic material in resident and migratory honey bee colonies. It also helps facilitate the movement of honey bees for crop pollination and honey production. She can be contacted at  (207) 287-3891.
  • Leftovers for Livestock: A Legal Guide for Using Excess Food as Animal Feed (pdf), the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic and the Food Recovery Project at the University of Arkansas provide the first-ever catalogue of the different state regulations and requirements for feeding food scraps to animals (focus on swine.)
  • NASS USDA Sheep and Goat Survey starting in late December will measure sheep and goat inventories and wool and mohair production. Operators surveyed will be asked to provide information about their sheep and goat inventories, counts of lambs and kids born during 2016, and production and prices received for wool and mohair. Results will be available the end of January on NASS USDA website.
  • Free CL testing for Sheep and Goat producers from UMaine Extension Animal Health Lab. Dr. Anne Licktenwalner announced that her lab will provide free CL test until the end of the year. Either the livestock owner or their veterinarian must collect a blood sample and transport to the lab in Orono. Factsheet: Sheep & Goats - Eliminating Chronic Disease Using a Farmbased Approach: Caseous Lymphadenitis (CL). For details on submitting blood samples contact the UMaine Animal Health Lab.   
  • York County Food Hub Feasibility Study that was done over the past 18 months in partnership with Southern Maine Regional Planning Commission, York County Farmers Network and Extension in York County.
  • Tomatoes that ripen two weeks earlier due to gene editing technique being developed by a researcher at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. The CHRISPR technology could be used with other crops to extend the area that crops can be grown by reducing their days to harvest. Click here for more information.  
  • Sign up for Amazon Smile as you shop online this holiday season. All support on Amazon Smile for the Maine 4-H Foundation will help a child in Maine. For more information go to the Maine 4-H Foundation Facebook page.  
  • Positions Available 
    • Codman Community Farms is seeking an Assistant Farm Manager to support all aspects of operating a community farm in Lincoln, MA.  The farm focuses on pasture-raised livestock with a small fruit and vegetable component.  This is a full-time, year-round position with housing and benefits. Full position description pdf
    • Valley Shepherd is looking for a farm manager. They are located in Long valley , NJ and milking hundreds of sheep and goats and making over 30 types of artisan, cave aged cheeses.Full position description pdf.
  • Gravely Enthusiasts of Maine Society (GEMS) - Tom Bartlett of Bangor is interested in getting a group of Gravely owners together to share information about the older walk behind and rider model tractors and their attachments. There is a Gravely Tractor Club of America, but if you are interested in learning more about the GEMS  group you can contact Tom at
  • Maine Hay Directory - You can list hay that you have for sale or you can look for hay to buy. Listings are free.
resourcesFeatured Resources

  • Southern Cover Crop Conference Videos - 6 short videos of field demonstrations of cover crop technologies and production practices from a variety of university and ag industry specialists. The following videos highlight some of these demonstrations, including using equipment for cover crops in conservation systems, cover crop production in high tunnels, growing summer cover crops in organic strawberries, reseeding cover crops in a cotton rotation, grazing summer cover crops in livestock production, and mechanical termination of various cover crops species. Sponsored by SARE
  • Ultra-Niche Crops for Progressive Farmers Virtual Field Trip Series: Cut Flowers and Strawberry Enterprise videos are available with more to come. The website includes alot of valuable resources to go along with the videos. 
  • Poultry medications - rule changes affecting small and backyard poultry flocks. December 12 at 11:00 am EST Location: 
  • Setting culling standards for small and backyard flocks. December 13 at 3:00 pm EST. Location: 
  • Creating a Farm Loan Package December 14 at 12:00 pm EST Location: Online Webinar. Register at 
  • Crop Planning for Vegetable Growers - Scaling up to meet the demands of wholesale or institutional markets requires careful planning and recordkeeping. This webinar will help growers understand how to plan crops to fulfill production goals and wholesale contracts and how to calculate planting dates based on an anticipated date of harvest. In addition key records that growers should keep to help with future production planning will be discussed. Sponsored by NCAT, December 14th 11 am CST. Register here.  
  • 2017 Small Farm Winter Series Webinars by University of Illinois Extension. Free webinars on Thursdays noon to 1 pm. Topics from microgreens, flowers, plasticulture, hay, bees, windbreaks and high tunnels.
Visit the UMaine Cooperative Extension online Publications Catalog
 for agriculture information, such as: 
  • Winter Care for Your Laying Hens # 2217 Keeping laying hens productive through the winter months means keeping them well fed, well watered, healthy, and comfortable. We have a checklist of management tips to assist the farmer/grower in keeping their farm flock comfortable. 3 pages. © 2014 by University of Maine Cooperative Extension.  Download it for free or buy a color copy.
  • Winter Care for Horses #1007 This equine fact sheet addresses food, water and shelter requirements and other care necessary for horses during Maine winters. 4 pages. © 2001, 2003 by University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Download it for free or buy a color copy.

eventsUpcoming Events
subscription  Newsletter Subscription Information
The Central Maine Farming Newsletter (CMFN), now received by over 860 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 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.
quickQuick Links
Mention or display of a trademark, proprietary product, or firm in text or figures does not constitute an endorsement and does not imply approval to the exclusion of other suitable products or firms.
weather  Local 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
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.
T he 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)