March 2017
Your Monthly News & Updates
The Maine Vegetable and Fruit Schools will be rescheduled due to the winter storm. The new dates are Monday, March 27 at Seasons Event & Conference Center in Portland and Friday, March 31 at Bangor Motor Inn Conference Center. As it stands now, the agendas for the schools will remain the same, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. If you are unable to attend at the new date for your registered location, or would like to switch locations, please contact us for a refund at or 207-933-2100.

Make sure your farm counts!
NASS conducts a census of all agricultural operations every five years as well as other agricultural surveys.  We need to know about all types of agricultural operations of all sizes. The Information you provide is kept confidential by law and will not be disclosed to any other government or private entity.
Red Barn
sywtfimSo You Want to Farm in Maine?
A Short Course for Individuals Who Want a Profitable Farm Operation.
This course is designed for current farmers and those who are aspiring to have a farm.
The purpose of this course is to equip participants with knowledge and skills to start, adapt and maintain a profitable land-based business.
This multi-session course will be offered over 4 evenings starting April 3, 2017 from 6 pm to 9 pm at Penobscot County Extension Office, 307 Maine Ave, Bangor. (out by the airport) The text for the course is Starting and Running a Small Farm Business by Sarah Aubrey. Instructors for the course include Extension staff Donna Coffin, Caragh Fitzgerald, Gary Anderson, Kathy Hopkins and Rick Kersbergen with guest instructors.
The live onsite course will hold a maximum of 45 participants. The live ZOOM connection is limited to 50 participants. All participants will be able to access the archived sessions through YouTube. The course registration fee is $50. Two members of the same household may attend at no additional fee, provided they share course materials.
For more information and to register online click here.

ddatWool, Leather, and Rope Workshop
On Saturday March 18, Dexter Dover Area Towns in Transition (DDATT) will sponsor another of its monthly informal workshops, this one on spinning fibers, hand sewing leather, and knot tying. 
From 10 AM to noon at the Abbott Memorial Library in Dexter, JJ Starwalker, Beverly Tilton and Marylin C. Famosi will demonstrate and teach simple traditional techniques for making useful yarn from sheep's wool, with a nod to other local fibers. Spinning wheels and small spindles will be available to try, as well as parts and instruction to make your own simple spindle from a dowel and old CDs!
Patti Dowse's experience from years of leather work will assist any interested hand sewers to learn the basics of that craft. 
And an unknown Boy Scout or two will be on hand with twine and rope to teach and learn useful rural knots, from the square knot to the hayhitch, the bowline to the sheepshank.   If you like tying knots and would like to share your knowledge, please come and enjoy the Saturday morning camaraderie. These hands-on workshops hope to attract learners and teachers in a comfortable setting, to expand our community's practical rural skills and relationships. For more information on DDATT and future events, email to get on email news list, or call 277-4221 or 924-3638 .

surveyIntermediated Farm Market Survey
A new study, funded by USDA, and led by Syracuse University, New York University, the Pennsylvania State University, and the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) seeks to examine local and regional agricultural production and intermediated markets.
The study will examine the opportunities and risks of four main marketing opportunities for farmers-direct-to-consumer, direct-to-institution, direct-to-retail, and selling to intermediaries (such as distributors or food hubs), who in turn sell the products as local food. We are interested in all farmers' perceptions of these markets, whether currently selling to these markets or not.
Click here for the survey: Click here for survey
The survey should take approximately 10 minutes to complete. It includes questions to gather basic information about your farm, production, and marketing practices, and your technical assistance and training needs.
This survey is voluntary, but your input is critical. Your participation in this research is confidential; your responses will not be linked to your contact information in any way.
If you would prefer to complete a paper version of the survey, you can request a copy by contacting Lydia Oberholtzer, Penn State, at 301-891-0470 or

equipSharing Machinery and Equipment?
When small scale producers start thinking about scaling up to expand their market opportunities they look to improving labor efficiency through mechanization and other labor saving innovations. They evaluate options for mechanization, including sharing, and understand the trade-offs between employing additional labor and/or purchasing additional equipment.
Iowa State University's "Machinery Sharing Manual for Fruit and Vegetable Growers"outlines the steps a farmer can go through when considering sharing equipment. It starts with finding another farmer that has similar production needs, compatible personality traits, similar work habits and is located nearby.
There are many details to iron out before growing season. Who will "own" the equipment, how will repairs be shared, who will transport the equipment, who's insurance will be used, when can equipment be used, can it be loaned to others, how can you get out of the sharing agreement, etc. are all things to consider.
To prevent any misunderstandings, it is best to put everything down on paper so all parties understand the agreement. ISU's manual has sample agreements and other things to consider.
interestItems of Interest
  • Dover Cove Market is looking for vendors to bring variety to the market. Saturday May - Oct 9 - 1 and Tuesdays June - September 2 - 5. For application contact
  • Plant Something Maine has just rolled out their website, Facebook page and newsletter. They are a program of the Maine Landscape and Nursery Association.
  • Farm Credit East just released the 2017 industry outlook report that addresses market outlooks for multiple industries, including dairy, grain, vegetables, greenhouse and nursery, groundfish and forest products. It also provides information on leadership development, marketing and digital opportunities for agriculture, as well as potential impacts of the Food Safety Modernization Act for Northeast producer - See more at:  2017 industry outlook report. It addresses market outlooks for multiple industries including: dairy, grain, vegetable, greenhouse & nursery, ground fish, and forest products.
  • Agrichemical and Fertilizer Suppliers in Maine list compiled by Dave Yarborough, Blueberry Specialist.
  • Best Staple Gun for Fencing - article rates the attributes and cost of battery and pneumatic stable guns. 
  • Mid Maine Greenhouse Growers just started a Facebook page for the public. They are asking for likes and shares to promote their page.
  • New Entry Sustainable Farming Project  (based in Lowell, MA) is looking to fill a key position in our Farmer Training team that will work primarily with our incubator farm.
  • Rural Tax Education: Farmers, ranchers, other agricultural producers and Extension educators will find on this website a source for agriculturally related income and self-employment tax information that is both current and easy to understand.
  • IRS Farmers Tax Guide #225 
  • Positions Available: Ornamental Horticulture Specialist, 4-H Youth Development Professionals - Knox & Lincoln Counties and Franklin County. 
  • 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

Animal Welfare Considerations for Backyard Poultry Flocks -, March 20 at 3 pm. As more people become interested in backyard flocks, it is important to consider the welfare of the birds in your flock. This webinar will discuss some of the concerns related to backyard poultry flocks. This webinar is free and will be archived.
Local Foods College, U. of Minnesota Extension is just completing the 2017 sessions. All are available online. Topics include: Crop Disease Management in a High Tunnel, Postharvest Handling, Sheep on a Small Farm - A Natural Fit, Soil Health is a Win-Win for Sustainable Management and Adaptation to Severe Weather Events, Cottage Food Law, Ag Lending Perspectives - Considerations for Farmers, Seed Saving, Raising Poultry for Fun and Profit.
Beginning Farmer Webinar: Women in Agriculture Virtual Roundtable - Southwest Virginia, March 16 at 1 pm - 2 pm.  featuring two women involved in farming and agriculture in Southwest Virginia - Amy Fannon and Christy Asbury. Presenters will share information about themselves and their agricultural work; their challenges; their hopes for the future of women in agriculture; and advice for others. Following their stories, we will open up the communication lines for a Q&A session. There is also a call in option. 1-855-749-4750 US TOLL FREE. Access code: 649 410 767.

High Tunnel Winter Lettuce - from Rutger's Ultra-Niche Crops for Progressive Farmers Series. A video tour of lettuce growing operations and a video of a farmer panel. In addition to the videos there is a factsheet that details production and marketing information. 

 HOW DOES IT GROW? is the most watched web series dedicated to food and agriculture education. We tell the stories of our food from farm to fork - one fruit, vegetable, nut, grain (you get it) a time. We lay down some food facts, bust some food myths, and season with food history. Because we all should know how our food grows. And let's face it - we don't.

43560 Project (that's how many square feet are in an acre).  The goal is to try to earn $1.00 per square foot of space.  The project started a few years ago.  I missed hearing about it then - seeing it today for the first time.
The project is the idea of a County Agent, Clif Slade, with Virgina State University.  It seems most appropriate for use by beginning farmers. Making a Dollar per Square Foot: Dream or Reality? is a Journal of Extension article about this project.

High Tunnels Website provides information and links to relevant sites around the world, so that growers and educators have a one-stop source where they can find information on all aspects of high tunnel construction and use.


Growing Opportunity: A Guide to USDA Sustainable Farming Programs, Jan. 2017.

Visit the UMaine Extension online
Publications Catalog 
for agriculture information, such as:  
  • Raw Milk Production: Guidelines for Maine Licensed Dealers #1030 Maine allows the sale of raw (not pasteurized) milk to the public by producers/dealers that are licensed with the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. This publication is intended as a checklist for those dealers who are already licensed by the State of Maine, although it may be useful for individuals contemplating becoming licensed in the future. 7 pages. © 2014 by University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Download it for free or buy a color copy $1.00.
  • Sustainable Vegetable Production from Start Up to Market #1164  Learn moderate-scale vegetable production using ecological practices that minimize the need for synthetic inputs. Addresses planning, launching, and managing a vegetable production business; farm business management; marketing; soil fertility; composting; crop rotation; cover crops; tillage equipment and field preparation; seeds and transplants; irrigation and spraying systems; harvest and post-harvest handling; season extension; and integrated pest management. Includes 32 grower profiles, 91 illustrations, 20 tables, 6 appendixes, a glossary, and extensive references. 280 pages 1999.From NRAES $38.00

eventsUpcoming Events
  • March 16 and 23, 2017 - Free webinar series on reduced tillage in organic vegetables. 3 to 5 p.m. from Cornell, Michigan State and the University of Maine. March 16: Strip Tillage Tools and Practices; March 23: Cultivation for Reduced Tillage Systems. FMI and to  Register click here 
  • March 17, 2017 - Controlling Internal Parasites in Sheep & Goats FAMACHA Certification Workshop. Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 45 Edgecomb Rd., Belfast, Maine. $20/farm includes one FAMACHA card; additional card $12. Bring your own bag lunch. FMI: Diane Schivera, or the MOFGA office at 207-568-4142 or  Register here. 
  • March 18, 2017 - Maine Grass Farmers Network Maine Grazing Conference. Keynote speaker Fred Provenza on grazing animal behavior and its link to soil health. Registration and conference details are available on-line  here FMI Rick Kersbergen, 207-342-5971or MOFGA's Diane Schivera 
    Wiswell Farm, Orrington.10 a.m. until done. Full schedule of speakers already lined up. come meet your colleagues, socialize, learn, save money, get tax advice, have fun!
  • March 18, 2017 Workshop on Raising Heritage Pigs, 1 pm to 4:30 pm, East Sangerville Grange, Sangerville.
  • March 19 - 25, 2017 National Ag Week
  • March 20, 2017 - Deadline for veterans to apply for  The Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund, which assists veterans in their beginning years of farming or ranching, in the form of items that make a critical difference in launching a young farm business. Applicants must have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, currently be on active-duty, or be serving in the military reserve/National Guard. Applicants must be members of Farmer Veteran Coalition (free to join). Awards are also made in the form of a scholarship to study for a career in agriculture at a college, university or farm-training program.
  • March 21, 2017 National Ag Day - Agriculture: Food for Life
  • March 26, 2016 Seed and Scion Exchange, 10 am to 3 pm, MOFGA exhibition Hall, Unity.
  • March 26, 2017 Maine Maple Sunday
  • March 27, 2017 Piscataquis County Economic Development Council Quarterly Meeting featuring Amanda Beal CEO of the Maine Farm Land Trust as guest speaker. 4 pm - 7 pm, Red Maple Inn, Guilford.
  • March 28, 2017 Buying Local Meat, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, NPT Region III, Lincoln - 794-3004 x 211
  • Rescheduled ! March 31, 2017 Vegetable and Small Fruit School, 8:30 am to 4 pm, Bangor Motor Inn, Bangor 
  • April 1, 2017 (April 2 snow date) - Grafting workshop with MOFGA's C.J. Walke at the Abbot Town Office. Sponsored by the Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District. FMI:
  • April 1, 2017 Beef Industry Meeting, 9 am to 3 pm, A Vaccine and Nutrition Discussion Focused on Beef Cow Calf producers, Spectacular Event Center, Bangor. Program includes: Keeping Cows Healthy With Better Vaccine Science - Dan Heon & Dr. Rolleston; Using Body Condition Score As A Reproductive Management Tool & Beef Quality Assurance - Dr. Colt Knight, UMaine Extension Specialist; Beef Cow Nutrition - Chris Hagedorn; Nutritional Tools To Smooth Out The Trouble Spots - Chris Hagedorn; Feed Commodities International - Partners for Profitability, and what that means for you - Al Fortin. Free program includes a meal. Please RSVP by March 28th to Patty Kennedy 1-800-462-4929 or
  • April 3, 10, 17 and 24, 2017 So You Want to Farm in Maine? Training sessions for beginning farmers at the Penobscot County Extension Office. Attend live, online or view archived sessions. Cost $50. For more information and to register click here.  
  • April 4, 2017 Backyard Hops Growing, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, Bucksport Adult Ed - 469-2129
  • April 5, 2017 Spring Swine Meeting 9 am to 3 pm at the Viles Arboretum in Augusta. Swine problems seen last year, Meghan Flanagan, Annabessacook Vet; problems seen with backyard swine, Rachel Fisk, MDACF; swine AI, Dr. Colt Knight, UMaine Extension. FMI or 215-4968.
  • April 8, 2017 Poultry Bio-security Display at the Brewer Aubuchon Hardware Store. Donna Coffin will have information for backyard poultry producers.
  • April 8, 2017 - UMaine Cooperative Extension and Waldo County Extension Association's Rural Living Day.  Mount View High School, 577 Mount View Rd., Thorndike.
  • April 11- 12, 2017 Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training, Courtyard Portland Downtown/ Waterfront, Casco Bay Room, 321 Commercial St, Portland. Sponsored by UMaine Extension, UNH, UVM and Northeast Center to Advance Food Safety.
  • April 20 to 22, 2017 27th Annual National Belted Galloway Sale and  Fryeburg Youth Show
  • April 24 to 28, 2017 Maine Meat Cutters School, Gardener area. Sponsored by UMaine Extension. Dr. Gregg Rentfrom, Penn State Meat Specialist is the lead instructor. More details TBA.
  •  April 28 & 29, 2017 New England Meat Conference in Manchester, NH.
  • May 6, 2017 Annual Maine Greenhouse and Nursery Day. Posters will again be available at Spring Meeting as well as downloadable from the website,
  • May 19 - 21, 2017 Northeast Livestock Expo, Windsor Fair Grounds. Kids Day is Friday.
  • May 25, 2017 Poultry Processing Class - MOFGA, Unity
  • May 30, 2017 Buying Local Meat, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, Bucksport Adult Ed - 469-2129 
  • June 3,4 2017  17th Annual Maine Fiber Frolic, Windsor, ME
  • July 6, 2017 Poultry Processing Class - MOFGA, Unity
  • July 27 & 28, 2017 Kneading Conference 
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.
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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)