March 2016
Your Monthly News & Updates
livestockLivestock 101

Hands-on livestock methods for small-scale livestock producers, 4-H project leaders, and older 4-H youth, who are just starting out or thinking about raising livestock. Sponsored by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, University of Maine J. Franklin Witter Teaching and Research Center, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association.
Free workshop with required preregistration since there is a limited amount of space. No meals or refreshments will be provided so please have your lunch before attending.

 Preregistration Click Here

PLEASE come prepared. You will need rubber boots that can be washed before going into the barn area. You will also need warm clothing for the sessions will be held out in the barn.
We will have six 25 minute sessions based on preferences of those attending. Attendees will be asked to prioritize the sessions they want to participate in. You may or may not be able to attend all preferred sessions. Session options include:
  • Sheep Restraint and Handling
  • Sheep Hoof Trimming
  • Cattle Body Condition Score and Weight
  • Calf Taking Vital Signs
  • Injection Techniques
  • Grain and Hay Quality
  • Growth Curves
  • DIY Poultry Waterers & Feeders
  • Poultry Handling
  • Worming Schedules of sheep, goats & horses
Speakers include staff from UMaine Extension, UMaine, MDACF and MOFGA.

grazing10th Annual Maine Grazing Conference
 Hinckley, Maine - March 19, 2016
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Maine Grass Farmers Network is proud to be hosting the 10th Annual Maine Grazing Conference on March 19th at the Alfond Campus of the Kennebec Valley Community College on Rt 201 in Hinckley.
This very popular conference has been a great sharing resource for livestock producers who manage their livestock using pasture and quality forages to produce high quality milk and meat products. This year will feature expert speakers from throughout the Northeast and Canada. Topics will range from Silvopasture to choosing improved forage species research. The keynote speaker will be Sarah Flack from Vermont, whose new book "The Art and Science of Grazing" will be available later in the Spring of 2016.
Other sponsors and cooperators for the conference are the Maine Beef Producers Association, the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
To register and to see the whole day agenda, visit our website or call the Waldo County Extension Office at 207-342-5971 or 1-800-287-1426 (in Maine).

vegconf2016 Maine Vegetable & Fruit School

8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Tuesday, March 15 at Seasons Event & Conference Center in Portland and
Wednesday, March 16 at the Bangor Motor Inn Conference Center.

Topics include:
  • Balancing Nitrogen and Potassium Fertilization for High Tunnel Tomatoes
  • FSMA Produce Safety Rule: Details and Its Possible Impacts on You!
  • Garlic: Growing Tips and Disease Issues
  • Optimizing Compost Use in the Field
  • Using Cover Crops and Strip Tillage for Soil Health
  • Spotted Wing Drosophila Update - Scouting Results and Management Options
  • Opportunities for Stone Fruit
  • Risk Management: Updates for Diversified Growers
  • Worker Protection Education for Farmers
  • Best Practices for Growing Melons in Maine
  • Grapes: New Varieties and Potential for Maine
More information is posted on our website:
Please register by March 4.  The cost is $45.00 and includes lunch.  Participants may receive 2 Pesticide Applicator recertification credits, and Certified Crop Advisors may earn 5 recertification credits.  We hope to see you there!
Benchmarks... How Does Your Farm Compare?
The Farmers Market Federation of NY and Cornell Cooperation Extension of Broome County, funded by NY Farm Viability Institute, has conducted a study to define Benchmarks for Success at Farmers Markets. For the past few weeks they have shared their results in free noon time webinars. Past webinars were archived and can be viewed plus you can sign up for the upcoming sessions. Here are some benchmarks that they developed from the 250 responses they received from across New York.
Average Daily Sale $
Average Sale per Transaction ($)
Average Daily Sale $
Average Sale per Transaction ($)
Fresh Cut and Dried Flowers
Meat: Poultry
Bedding Plants
Meat Exotics
Meat: Beef & Pork
Meat: Lamb & Goat
Baked Goods 1467 13 Eggs
Honey Products 350 16 Maple Products

Financial Benchmarks and Economic Impact of Local Food Operations report from University of Minnesota Extension found the net return to the vegetable enterprises on the eleven small scale farms after deducting operating expenses and depreciation averaged $2,199 per acre, but varied from -$590 to $8,453 per acre. The smaller market gardens (less than 3 acres) were farmed more intensively than the larger farms.   The study also found that one million dollars in sales by small-scale farmers will generate $1.6 million in the regional economy (the 13-county study area). The same $1 million dollars in sales will support $568,600 of labor income and 100 jobs. We should note, however, that the input-output model counts any job (even part-time) as one job, and participants in our study employed, on average, 2.7 people, all of whom worked part-time. Comparatively, $1 million in sales by conventional agriculture farms will generate $1.4 million in the local economy and support $506,600 of labor income and nine jobs.
safetyIntegrating Safety into Agritourism Website

Integrating Safety into Agritourism features virtual walkthroughs covering 15 key areas of agritourism including petting zoos, hand washing/restrooms, large animal safety, farmers' markets, food safety and more. Farmers can access the mobile-friendly checklists on their tablets, fill them out while walking their property, and then save the information for their records. The website also contains information about insurance, along with numerous print-ready resources such as signs, policies, logs and information handouts - all available at no cost.
MayoMayo Regional Hospital Survey for Farmers
At Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft, we recognize the importance of sourcing foods from local farms. We value the opportunity local food sourcing presents to support sustainability and health. As an active organization in the community, we strive to be a leader in the area. As a result, Mayo Regional Hospital is looking to develop relationships with local farms to source various foods for our café in the coming year. We are excited to embark on the new goal of local food sourcing and look forward to working with the quality growers in our area. Please complete this short survey and contact Tyler Parkhurst, Supervisor of Nutrition Services at or Whitney Gould, Dietitian, at with any questions or information. Thank you and we look forward to working with you!

 pastureEquine Pasture Management Survey
Taylor Hallczuk (Undergraduate Senior, School of Food and Agriculture), Dr. Robert Causey (Associate Professor, School of Food and Agriculture), Alexandria Garcia (Graduate student, School of Food and Agriculture) and Donna Coffin, (Extension Professor, Cooperative Extension) at the University of Maine are undertaking a study to determine the needs of the equine industry regarding Equine pasture management. We would greatly appreciate it if you would complete an online survey for us. It will take about 10 minutes to complete and will be anonymous.
Please click on the following link to begin the survey.

Your contribution will help us to find ways to improve the health of horses and potentially improving costs of feed to farmers. Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Taylor Hallczuk, Undergraduate Senior or 207-423-5085 
interestItems of Interest
  • UMaine Extension Livestock Educator position description will be released later this month. Watch for it at UMaine Job Opportunities 
  • Veggies For All food bank farm in Unity, ME is seeking a farmer/organizer/leader/all-around-rockstar to be their 2016 Assistant Project Manager.  Full job ad and description: or
  • Agriculture Education Survey: The Maine Farm Bureau has partnered with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension to assess the educational needs of farmers, growers, and farm employees in Maine.  A short survey has been developed to determine these needs across the state.  Your input would be appreciated.  
    It will likely take 5 minutes or less to complete this survey.     If you haven't done so already, please complete the survey as soon as possible and by March 15, 2016Thank you to the 250 folks who have completed the survey!
  • UDSA Agricultural Marketing Service's National Organic Program (NOP) is continuing to launch new resources resulting from their Sound and Sensible Initiative, which is making organic certification more accessible, affordable, and attainable. Recently they released resources that help those who help others - guides and resources that help organizations reach out to and educate potential organic farmers. These resources were produced by partners in the organic community, all of whom have on-the-ground experience teaching producers about the organic option.
  • USDA Expands Insurance Options for Farmers Transitioning to Certified Organic Agriculture that lowers risk for producers and strengthens farm safety net by expanding a crop insurance option to allow producers to purchase insurance coverage that better reflects their product's actual value. Crop insurance is sold and delivered solely through private crop insurance agents. Contact a local crop insurance agent for more information about the program. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers or online at
  • USDA Introduces Organic Market News Summary- 
    Several USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Market News Divisions have developed a new  Weekly National Organic Summary online report to highlight some of the 200 different organic commodities reported. This weekly report presents data collected by market reporters from wholesale markets, retail ads, and industry participants.
  • MDACF Rural Rehabilitation Scholarship grants available to students pursuing secondary education in an agriculture or natural resource related field

    The deadline for applications (pdf) this year is March 1, 2016.
  • USDA Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program provides funds for economic planning activities or eligible working capital expenses to enable viable Agricultural Producers to develop businesses that produce and market Value-Added Agricultural Products and to create marketing opportunities for such businesses. In Central Maine Brian Wilson with USDA Rural Development is ready to help you through the process of submitting a grant. Contact him at  967 Illinois Avenue, Suite 4 | Bangor, ME 04401-2767 Phone:207-990-9125.
  • Farm Credit East released the findings of a survey taken in January of this year indicating Northeast farm, fishing and forestry producers are cautiously optimistic for their businesses in the year ahead, but are increasingly concerned about a number of challenges, including farm labor availability, government regulations, price volatility and shrinking operating margins. Complete survey results available on their website.
  • Financial Benchmarks and Economic Impact of Local Food Operations report from University of Minnesota Extension found that o ne million dollars in sales by small-scale farmers will generate $1.6 million in the regional economy (the 13-county study area). The same $1 million dollars in sales will support $568,600 of labor income and 100 jobs. We should note, however, that the input-output model counts any job (even part-time) as one job, and participants in our study employed, on average, 2.7 people, all of whom worked part-time. Comparatively, $1 million in sales by conventional agriculture farms will generate $1.4 million in the local economy and support $506,600 of labor income and nine jobs.
  • Maple Equipment Dealers List - Kathy Hopkins from Somerset Extension Office has developed this list. Many hardware stores carry basic supplies. Contact her at for a copy. 
  • HPAI Strikes in Indiana A strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), H7N8, was found on a turkey farm there last week. This strain is different from the strain that caused extensive losses in 2015, and is thought to have arisen from North American strains of the flu. Read more at 2016 Maine: Heads-up Avian Flu Still a Threat in US    
  • Montana Farming Internships Available in Big Sky Country This Summer. For more information and to apply for an internship, visit
  • Frost Seeding- low tech wonder or wishful thinking The principle behind frost seeding is quite simple. Seed is broadcast on the soil in mid-spring, when daytime temperatures are above freezing but nighttime temperature are below freezing. This daily freezing and thawing, which shrinks and swells the soil, works the seed into the soil.
  • Farmers Tax Guide #225 available online.
  • 2016 Wild Blueberry Spring Meetings will be held on the following dates and times: FMI  or Tel: 207 581-2892
    WALDOBORO - Tuesday, March 22, 2016 from 6:00-9:00 p.m.
    ELLSWORTH - Thursday, March 24, 2016 from 6:00-9:00 p.m.
    MACHIAS - Saturday, March 26, 2016 from 1:00-4:00 p.m.
resourcesFeatured Resources

Do you use an android or ISO app to scan and organize your receipts? If you do please let Donna Coffin know what you are using, when you started using it, and how well it works for you and your operation. Thanks  


Farm Basics - CEC Cation Exchange Capacity of Soil Explained YouTube from Ag PhD

Brown Bag Series: Farmers' Market Benchmarks, Thursdays at noon. By the Farmers' Market Federation of New York. Registration required for this free webinar series.
  • March 3: Pricing Benchmarks for Successful Farmers' Market Sales
  • March 9: Finding Your Profits Through Farmers Market Selection
Visit the UMaine Cooperative Extension online Publications Catalog
for agricultural information such as this:
  • Storey's Guide to Raising Goats #1043 Dairy goats are a great choice for the small or backyard dairy farmer. They require a smaller investment than cows and produce milk that is great for making yogurt and cheese. Everything you need to know to raise dairy goats, including more information on pygmy goats, updated information on disease diagnosis and treatment, and expanded information on breeding, milking, dairying, and cheese making. 304 pages. 2010 Order from our catalog $19.95  
  • New England Vegetable Management Guide #1029 2016-2017 edition. This guide is intended to assist commercial vegetable producers by providing information on production techniques and pest management. Includes Northeast Vegetable & Strawberry Pest Identification Guide.This book is not recommended for home gardeners because it contains recommendations for restricted pesticide use. 298 pages. © 2016 From UMass Extension $30.
Iowa State University:
  Short Duration Cover Crops for Vegetable Production Systems, Ajay Nair , Ray Kruse.
Cover crops are planted not for harvest, but are designed to maintain and enhance the sustainability of a production system by improving soil fertility, water quality and can lead to the suppression of weeds, soil erosion and pests. This publication provides information on how to use short duration cover crops to aid production, especially during a fallow period between two vegetable crops. Choosing the correct cover crop will impact its effectiveness, as will the grower's method of seeding and termination. The publication provides tips for picking the right crop and showing how it should be used to maximize its effectiveness. Free download available. 

NCAT - ATTRA Organic Tipsheets:
eventsUpcoming Events
  • March 2, 2016 Invasive Species Network Meeting, Hallowell - UMaine Extension.
  • March 5, 2016 Aroostook Sheep Day - Presque Isle Extension Office, Rte. 1, Presque Isle. 8:30 am to 3 pm. Seminar and lunch are free. To register contact Cindy Green at 207-231-1912 or Sponsored by MDACF and UMaine Extension.
  • March 5, 2016 Trees in Transition: Succession Planning for Your Woodlands, 10 am to 3:30 pm at the Parkman Town Office, $40 (includes lunch) Pre-registration required by contacting or 207.564.2321 ext.3.
  • March 4, 2016 Basic Septic System Installation workshop, Friday, from 8am-4pm at the Dover-Foxcroft Congregational Church, 824 West Main St., Dover-Foxcroft. Sponsored by Piscataquis County SWCD. Click here for registration information or call 207.564.2323 ext. 3.
  • March 4, 2016 Deadline to sign up for your Maine Maple Sunday (March 27) listing in website.
  • March 5, 2016 (Snow date March 6), MOFGA's Spring Growth Conference: Soils 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center, Unity. Registration (includes lunch): $75 individual, $100 couples, $50 students and apprentices. FMI and to register, please visit
  • March 5, 2016 Beginner Level Sheep Shearing School, Freeport.
  • March 7, 2016 Programs for Maine Foods Businesses - Sanitation - Orono, UMaine Extension
  • March 9, 2016, Robotic Dairy Systems - Where and How Do They Fit into Maine's Dairy Industry 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM in Waterville Lunch is included with $10 fee. FMI and to per-registration click here. 
  • March 12, 2016 Alpaca School, 8:45 am to 3:30 pm, Androscoggin-Sagadahoc Extension Office in Lisbon Falls - UMaine Extension.
  • March 15 & 16, 2016 Programs for Maine Food Businesses - Meat and Poultry HACCP, Orono, UMaine Extension.
  • March 16, 2016 2016 Best Greenhouse Practices Workshop, 8:00 - 4:15 , McKay Farm and Research Station, 54 Thorndike Lane, Thorndike ME. Cost: $15 per person (includes lunch) 2 pesticide credits available  Click here for registration. 
  • March 15, 2016 Backyard Poultry, 6 pm to 8:30 pm at Northern Penobscot Tech Region III, Lincoln. To register call 207-794-3004.
  • March 15 (Portland), March 16 (Bangor) Vegetable and Fruit School. UMaine Extension
  • March 17th, SOIL Study Group sponsored by the Slow Money Maine first meeting at noon before their gathering in Gardiner. The discussion will grow from a book, Soil and Civilization, by Edward Hyams. This particular book was written in 1952, however it is so very relevant to the current world situation pertaining to Soil, the environment and the social condition humanity finds itself in right now. Samuel Kaymen will lead this group and requests that prior to March 17th, people have read Part One: Definitions, The Preface, Chapters I, II, II & IV (42 pages in total). Email: for more information. 
  • March 19, 2016 MID-MAINE GREENHOUSE GROWERS ANNUAL SPRING MEETING 10 a.m. until done at Hutchings' Greenhouse, Beth Hutchings & Joanie Hutchings Ingram, your hosts, 445 Riverside Drive, Eddington, Please RSVP here.
  • March 19, 2016 Grazing Conference - Alfond Campus, Kennebec Valley Community College, US Rout 201,  Hinkley - NOTE NEW LOCATION! 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. Keynote: Sara Flack, "The Art and Science of Grazing."
  • March 23, 2016 Apple Tree Pruning, 10 am to 2:30 pm, Tudor Farm, Dover Foxcroft. $30 Pre-registration required. Contact Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District to pre-register. or 207.564.2321 ext. 3.
  • March 23, 2016 Maine Grain Conference Northern Maine Community College, Presque Isle, click here to register. 2 hours credit available.
  • March 23, 2016 Maine Department of Education Farm to School Meeting, 8:00-12:30,
    Augusta Armory $20.00. All proceeds from registration will support the Maine Local Produce Fund. School nutrition professional participants will earn 4 hours of professional standards. FMI: Stephanie Stambach,
  • March 24, 2016 Penobscot and Hancock County SWOAM Meeting, Holden Town Hall, Holden FMI 207.989.6158 or 2 hours credit available in Forestry Right of Way
  • March 26, 2016 Annual Equine Continuing Education, 8 am to noon with "Unbranded" movie to follow. Center Theatre, 20 Main St., Dover-Foxcroft. Sponsored by Foxcroft Veterinary Services.
  • April 2, 2016 Livestock 101 at the University of Maine Witter Center, Orono.
  • April 2, 2016 22nd Annual Rural Living Day, Mt View School in Thorndike, Maine (Route 220)
  • April 6,14,21,28,and May 5, 2016 Recipe to Market 5:30 pm - 9 pm Demo Kitchen Room in the Averill Building at KVCC (Alfond/Hinckley Campus) Topics will include: licensing, regs, food safety & food processing, UMaine resources, business plans, pricing product, marketing, business resource panel (banker, lawyer, insurance agent, food business owner). Watch for more details.
  • April 9, 2016 Cultivating Our Community, 10 am to 3 pm Mixer at 3:30 pm at East Sangerville Grange. Theme will be food access with Good Shepard Food Bank, Maine Farmland Trust - Food For All, Marketing Tips for Farm Business Success by Dr. Jim McConnon, UMaine Extension Business & Economic Specialist, REAP Grant program and more. Watch for more information.
  • April 12, 2016 Backyard Poultry, 6 pm to 8:30 pm RSU25, Bucksport Adult Ed. To register for this class click here.
  • April 15-16, 2016 34th National Pesticide Forum, University of Southern Maine, Portland. An opportunity for grassroots advocates, scientists, and policy makers to share efforts and build local, state, and national strategies for strength and growth. FEE: $20-$170
    Registration & FMI: here
  • May 20 - 22, 2016 Northeast Livestock Expo, Windsor
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 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

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)