December 2017
Your Monthly News & Updates
 recipeRecipe to Market: Is It for ME?
University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering a workshop for people considering a small-scale food business from  9 a.m.- noon  Dec. 14 (snow date  Dec. 15), at the UMaine Extension office, 165 East Main Street, Dover-Foxcroft. 
 "Recipe to Market: Is It for Me?" will introduce key components of starting a successful food business, including the fundamentals of entrepreneurship, product development, licensing and regulations, and food safety concerns. The course is free to Piscataquis County residents, $10 otherwise; 
online pre-registration is required ( For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact
MaineGrown by Vets Label
The United Farmer Veterans of Maine is honored to announce an agreement between their organization and the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to promote and market Maine veteran grown agricultural products. The agreement signifies mutual marketing efforts to promote a new "MaineGrown by Vets" label. The label will offer all Maine veterans the opportunity to showcase their products as a veteran produced product off a veteran owned farm in Maine.
This official signing was at the Annual Meeting of UFVM at their Bangor offices located at  45 Columbia Street, Bangor, Maine on November 18.
This agreement is very important in showing all military and veterans across America that Maine is not only open for Agricultural business, but our State has opened "both barn doors" to any and all military and veterans looking for a great place to move, retire, or begin farming. The future of Maine agriculture is promising, and with veterans, that future looks even better. What a way to honor our veterans here in Maine by purchasing a local Maine grown product from a veteran owned farm!
foodtrendsWhat's Hot in Food for 2018?
Photo: Remsberg
Specialty Food Association's Trendspotter Panel just released what it believes will be the hot trends in 2018. Macro trends like sustainability and health are converging. The panel is predicting more algae and other plant-based proteins and products meant to reduce food waste. Consumers' demand for deeper flavor exploration is evidenced by interest in Filipino and regional Middle Eastern foods. 
The top 10 food trends for 2018 include:
  • Plant-based foods beyond meat substitutes
  • Upcycled products made from ingredients that would otherwise be discarded
  • Filipino cuisine
  • Goth food (black or blackened)
  • Alt-Sweet options for sweeteners
  • Product labeling 2.0 more on-label visibility into farms, ingredient sources & supply chain. GMO transparency as well as Fair Trade certification, responsible production & no animal testing
  • Root to stem utilizing the entire plant
  • Cannabis cuisine as more states legalize recreational marijuana.*
  • A (deeper) feast from the Middle East beyond hummus, pita and falafel
  • The rise of traditional bread using local grains, milling the day before baking, long proofing times and re-inventing what good bread means

The trendspotter panel also sees more fermented foods, cocktail mixes and bitters for home use, savory flavors where one would expect sweet, pasture-raised animals, mushrooms (extracts, powders or whole)in everything from chocolate to lattes. 


*The Speciality Food Association recognizes that Federal law prohibits the possession, sale or distribution of marijuana, but its sale and use is declared legal under some state laws. In recognizing cannabis as a food trend, the SFA in no way endorses or encourages activities which are in violation of state or Federal law. 


2017 Census of Agriculture Gets Underway 
Questionnaires being sent to over 3 million U.S. producers 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) starts mailing the 2017 Census of Agriculture to the nation's producers this week. Conducted once every five years, the census aims to get a complete and accurate picture of American agriculture. The resulting data are used by farmers, ranchers, trade associations, researchers, policymakers, and many others to help make decisions in community planning, farm assistance programs, technology development, farm advocacy, agribusiness setup, rural development, and more.
"The Census of Agriculture is USDA's largest data collection endeavor, providing some of the most widely used statistics in the industry," said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. "Collected in service to American agriculture since 1840, the census gives every producer the opportunity to be represented so that informed decisions can support their efforts to provide the world with food, fuel, feed, and fiber. Every response matters."  
The census will be mailed in several phases through December. Farm operations of all sizes which produced and sold, or normally would have sold, $1,000 or more of agricultural product in 2017 are included in the census. The census is the only source of uniform, comprehensive, and impartial agriculture data for every state and county in the nation.  
NASS revised the census forms in an attempt to document changes and emerging trends in the industry. Changes include a new question about military veteran status, expanded questions about food marketing practices, and questions about on-farm decision-making to help better capture the roles and contributions of beginning farmers, women farmers, and others involved in running a farm enterprise.  
"Producers can respond to the census online or by mail. We highly recommend the updated online questionnaire. We heard what people wanted and we made responding to the census easier than ever," said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. "The online questionnaire now has timesaving features, such as automatic calculations, and the convenience of being accessible on mobile and desktop devices."  
The census response deadline is February 5, 2018. Responding to the Census of Agriculture is required by law under Title 7 USC 2204(g) Public Law 105-113. The same law requires NASS to keep all information confidential, to use the data only for statistical purposes, and only publish in aggregate form   to prevent disclosing the identity of any individual producer or farm operation. NASS will release the results of the census in February 2019.  
For more information about the 2017 Census of Agriculture, visit or call (800) 727-9540.  

interestItems of Interest
  • Running a Food Hub: Learning from Food Hub Closures (pdf) - The goal of this study is to examine factors that have led food hubs to close their doors. Many studies have been conducted on successful food hubs, but USDA hopes to fill a knowledge gap by using national data and case studies to draw general lessons for why food hubs fail. By identifying lessons learned from former food hubs, we hope this information will assist new and existing food hubs in addressing challenges, leading to success. 
  • ATTRA's recently released publication, "Sheep and Goats: Frequently Asked Questions," joins many other publications in our outstanding collection of small-ruminant resources. You will find this publication offers concise answers to many common questions about raising sheep and goats.
  • Maine Hay Directory -Due to numerous attempts by fraudulent hay buyers, we have had to remove the hay directory from the University website until an acceptable solution is found.
  • Agrichemical and Fertilizer Suppliers in Maine - compiled by David E. Yarborough, Extension Blueberry Specialist.  
  • Jobs at UMaine Extension:  Ornamental Specialist, Wild Blueberry Specialist, Administrative Specialist (Orono), CEA Horticulture (Oxford), Nutrition Professional (Andro/ Sag)
  • New UMaine Extension Livestock Facebook Page - Please like, share and follow.
Grants & Loans
  • Organic Farming Research Foundation grant proposals deadline is Dec. 15. Their priority issues are soil health, innovative weed control, management of emerging insect and disease issues and livestock health. 
  • Value Added Producer Grant  and matching funds can be used for planning activities or for working capital expenses related to producing and marketing a value-added agricultural product. FMI   Click Here.   There is also a webinar called  "VAPG 101" and contains great information on how the program will be administered. Here is the link.
  • Rural Rehabilitation Trust Fund has a loan program to help beef producers purchase breeding stock or feeder cattle.  
  • FSA Microloan Program: The focus of Microloans (up to $50,000) is on the financing needs of small, beginning farmer, niche and non-traditional farm operations, such as truck farms, farms participating in direct marketing and sales such as farmers' markets, CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture), restaurants and grocery stores, or those using hydroponic, aquaponic, organic and vertical growing methods.
resourcesFeatured Resources

Developing Montana's Agritourism: A Resource Manual, developed by  staff with the support of the USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program, MSU Extension, and others. This manual is a resource for farmers, ranchers and producers geared towards helping you gain a deeper understanding of agritourism and how it can impact the connections between your community and farm.  These resources can serve as a jumping off point to help you support or launch agritourism in your area and enhance the agritourism activities you already offer.

Website:  Growing Magazine offers a free digital version of their magazine for produce farmers. 

Forest Botanicals Deep and Tangled Roots Webinar with Eric Burkhart.  There are many native plant species on eastern US forestlands that are wild harvested for the domestic and international plant trade. 

USDA Census of Agriculture: Your Voice. Your Future. Your Opportunity.
Maine Balsam Fir Tips: A Sustainable Harvest University of Maine Cooperative Extension talks about how to properly identify and harvest Maine Balsam Fir tips.
Purchasing and Maintaining a Used Tractor by Penn State University.
Rutgers Ultra-Niche Crops: Farming Garlic 24-minute "Virtual Field Trip" video on the production and marketing of garlic. 

Visit the UMaine Extension online  Publications Catalog for agriculture information, such as: 
Balsam Fir Tip Gathering #7011 The demand for balsam fir wreaths has risen over the years. This bulletin covers basic tip gathering. Includes drawings to help you identify high quality balsam fir tips and remove and stack tips effectively. 4 pages. © 1991, 2008, 2017 by University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Download it for free or buy a color copy for $0.75.
Making Balsam Wreaths #7012 This fact sheet includes instructions and 11 drawings to lead you through wreath construction step by step. Includes a materials list. © 1991, 2008 by University of Maine Cooperative Extension.  Download it for free or  buy a color copy.
eventsUpcoming Events
  • December 6, 2017 2017 Potato Pest Management Conference  at the Presque Isle Inn and Convention Center located on US Route #1 in Presque Isle. The program will begin at 9 am,  with registration opening at 8:30 am. FMI contact or phone 207.764.3361.
  • December 7, 2017  Kitchen Licensing Workshop.   10 a.m. to 4 p.m. , MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center, Unity. (Snow date  December 8 .) Designed for farmers and others interested in home-food processing for resale. $50 (includes lunch); $35 for MOFGA members. 
  • December 12 - 14, 2017 New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference and Trade Show at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester, NH and will include 32 educational sessions over 3 days, covering major vegetable, berry and tree fruit crops, as well as various special topics, such as hard cider and cut flower production. Additional information on the New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference, including on-line and downloadable registration material, may be found at
  • December 14, 2017 Recipe to Market: Is it for ME? (Dec. 15 - snow date) 9 am to noon at the Piscataquis County Extension Office, Dover-Foxcroft. Pre-registration is required. Click here for more details. 
  • January 9 - 11, 2018 Maine Agricultural Trades Show, Augusta Civic Center. 
  • January 22 & 23, 2018   Save the Date: Flowering in the North, A Flower Grower's Conference  for sharing knowledge about Zone 5 growing, wholesaling, retailing, and designing with Farm Fresh Flowers. The conference will take place  in the East Bayside neighborhood of Portland, ME. This events is a collaboration between the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, MOFGA, and UMaine Cooperative Extension.
  • March 17, 2018 Grazing Conference
  • March 21 to 25, 2018 Maine Flower Show, Thompson's Point, Portland.
  • May 19, 2018 Northeast Livestock Expo Windsor Fair Grounds, Winsor

The Greenhouse Research & Extension Program at UConn is organizing two workshops on greenhouse vegetables. The second workshop on (Dec. 9) is intended for experienced growers who would like to improve their production practices in hydroponic or soilless systems.  Both workshops will take place at UConn-Storrs.  These workshops are co-sponsored by: UConn CAHNR,  The Connecticut Department of Agriculture  via the Specialty Crop Block Grant Project # AG151260,  and  The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station .
  For more information go to:

subscription  Newsletter Subscription Information
The Central Maine Farming Newsletter (CMFN), now received by over 875 readers, has been offered as an educational resource by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension for over 10 years.  On January 1, 2015 the CMFN transitioned to electronic-only delivery. There is still 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 by contacting your County office. 
 3) A third option is to come into the Piscataquis, Penobscot or Waldo County Extension Offices 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.

The 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.
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.
quick  Quick Links  
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. 

 Click on one of these icons to follow our posts.

Like us on Facebook Piscataquis County         Like us on Facebook Penobscot County       Like us on Facebook Waldo County        
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)