May 2017
Your Monthly News & Updates
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.
New Farmers' Market - Howland
The Howland Farmers' and Artisans' Market is looking for farmers and artisans to participate in their new market this summer. They are looking at the park downtown as the site and looking at a Sunday market day. If you are interested in learning more contact Jaime Boyington Rogers at 
Largest Class at UMaine! 
Last year the University of Maine welcomed the largest class in UMaine's history: 2,230 freshmen. We have shattered last year's record and will be brining in the largest class in the history of the University of Maine in the fall of 2017. 
openfarmOpen Farm Day Participants - Registration Closes May 19th

Don't miss your chance to participate in the 28th Anniversary of Open Farm Day scheduled on Sunday, July 23rd, 2017! We are looking forward to this opportunity to promote Maine's diverse agricultural community.
Open Farm Day is the perfect way to connect with neighbors, your town, interested visitors and tourists and teach them about how their food and fiber is produced. Many who attend bring children to learn and connect with local farms. If you would like to participate, please sign up online at this link and complete the online form. Please mail or email a copy of your Certificate of Insurance, to:
Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, ATTN: Open Farm Day, 28 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0028 Or Fax:  (207) 287-7548. 
The completed form and certificate of insurance must be received NO LATER than  FridayMay 19th. If we do not receive your materials by this date, your farm will not be listed in the promotional materials used to showcase this event. Farms that do not provide a Certificate of Insurance are not eligible to participate.
All new participants who meet the requirements and deadline for promotions will receive an official Open Farm Day Participant flag, while supplies last, to help promote your involvement in this annual event. Other promotions for this year's event will include press releases, website promotions, posters and inclusion in a supplemental newsletter listing all the participating farms. The supplement will be distributed to all tourism information centers throughout the State of Maine and will be inserted in daily newspapers throughout the state prior to this event.
Again, please put  Sunday, July 23rd on your calendar and plan to join us for the 28th Anniversary of Open Farm Day! We look forward to working with you on this exciting and worthwhile event. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry at  (207) 287-7620 or

boar goats
goatMeat and Dairy Goat Seminar

Dr. Fred Homeyer from Antelope Creek Ranch in Robert Lee, Texas will be in Maine during the Northeast Livestock Expo.  On Saturday, May 20th at 10:00am he will give an informative lecture on goats.  He has judged and held seminars on Boer Goats worldwide.  He is returning this year as his seminar several years ago had the best attendance ever.  Any goat person, dairy or meat, would benefit from his experience and expertise.  Please pass this information on to your club and any dairy club that you know of.
Dr. Homeyer's seminar will be on feed ratios, proportions and proper structure in goats. He will cover evaluation and selection of goats for production. He plans are to use live goats to emphasis these points. He will also be willing to discuss any other topic the people have questions on. 
This seminar is being held free of charge due to grant assistance from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.
Click here for more information on the NELE.
PYOAnnual Pre-Harvest Checklist for Pick-Your-Own
It's that time again! As harvest approaches, its time to make sure that your farm is ready to provide your customers with the best possible picking experience. Take our annual review below to evaluate your customer readiness.
  • Your phone message and web/Facebook pages with picking conditions and opening and closing times are regularly updated.
  • Signs to the farm are neat and easy to read.
  • There is easy access to the fields and plenty of parking.
  • Someone is ready to greet customers and offer parking instructions and directions to the field.
  • Access to the field is free of hazards.
  • Transportation is provided for the elderly and disabled.
  • The rules regarding picking are clearly posted.
  • Someone is in the field to show customers where to pick and to answer questions.
  • There are plenty of picking containers available.
  • Clean restroom and hand washing facilities are available.
  • Someone is available to help customers carry fruit out of the field.
  • The checkouts are fast and efficient.
  • Beverages are available.
  • Shade and seats are available for customers wanting to rest.
  • The help are friendly and knowledgeable.
A friendly, clean, and organized atmosphere will leave a lasting impression on your customers, encouraging them to come back and to recommend your farm to their friends.
Source: Strawberry IPM Newsletter #5, June 17, 2016

Photo: NC State 
lowcostLow-Cost Cold Storage Room for Market Growers

Fresh fruits and vegetables start to deteriorate as soon as they are harvested.  They lose weight, texture, flavor, nutritive value, and appeal. Cooling significantly slows the rate of deterioration and will increase the storage life of the produce. 
Market gardeners typically sell their fruits and vegetables within a day or two of picking. They can get premium prices for it's "localness" and freshness. Long term storage at very low temperatures is not needed, but fresh produce can deteriorate a lot within a day or two if it is not cooled at all from ambient temperatures, especially during hot summer months.  Produce losses can be significantly reduced by cooling produce as soon after harvest as possible.
A standard window-mount room air conditioner can produce a low-cost cooling source, but if a producer tries to use it to cool below 65o F, the cooling coils will freeze up.  This can be overcome by outfitting the air conditioner with strip heaters, a thermostat, and a timer to create a defrost cycle that alternates power between the strip heaters and the compressor.  At least one manufacturer now offers an off-the-shelf control unit that does the same thing.  The control unit is called a 
CoolBot (TM.)
A cool room (55o to 60o F) can take the field heat off a wide range of fruits and vegetables and significantly improve the produce quality compared to storage in ambient conditions.  Many produce items do best at very cold temperatures, just above freezing, but other produce may get damaged at this low temperature.  Be sure you know how low a temperature  your produce can go. 
A cool room is generally an insulated room constructed from building materials from the hardware store and cooled by a room air conditioner and the CoolBot (TM) control unit from Store It Cold.  The University of Kentucky has a very helpful fact sheet called   "Low-Cost Cold Storage Room for Market Gardeners" AEN - 96 (pdf).

interestItems of Interest
  • SARE Cover Crop Survey Seeks Farmer Participation - Cover crops can improve soil health, conserve resources and improve farm profitability. Now, your experience with what works and doesn't work can help shape the future of cover crop initiatives nationwide. Farmers who plant cover crops, used to plant cover crops, or have never tried cover crops are all encouraged to take this short survey, now in its fifth year.
  • Conservation Compliance. All farmers must have the Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation Compliance Form AD-1026 filed for their current entity by June 1, 2017. Please click here to see the announcement.
  • Form AD-1026 can be downloaded here or obtained from your county FSA office. 
  • The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry's  Farm Labor Link resource includes more information on finding employees for your farm, training those employees, and ensuring that you are complying with state and federal labor laws.
  • Maine State Veterinary officials would like to remind horse owners that now is the time vaccinate horses to ensure protection from Rabies and mosquito-borne diseases such as Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEE) and West Nile Virus (WNV). Vaccinating horses annually against rabies, EEE and WNV is the best way to protect them from these dangerous diseases, which can cause neurologic symptoms and commonly lead to death in unvaccinated animals.
  • Specialty Crop Block Grant Requests due May 9th - A copy of the RFP can be obtained by contacting the Department's RFP Coordinator for this project: Ashley Sears, Marketing Specialist/Special Projects at or mailing address: 28 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333.
  • Maine Tractor Safety Courses around the state - open to adults and youth, priority given to youth 14 - 16. Required for your 14 - 15 planning to operate equipment for hire on farms other than their own. 
  • 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.
  • Agrichemical and Fertilizer Suppliers in Maine - compiled by David E. Yarborough, Extension Blueberry Specialist, University of Maine.
  • Open Positions:
    • UMaine Extension -Ornamental Hort Spec., 4H STEM Spec., 4H Youth Hancock & Oxford Cty, Temp. Field Teacher Oxford Cty, Home Hort Oxford Cty, Research Assist, Admin. Spec.
    •  Maine Farmland Trust Veggies For All Field Crew two member positions 
    • MOFGA has two positions open: Organic Dairy & Livestock Specialist and Organic Crop & Conservation Specialist. 
resourcesFeatured Resources

Text Messages:
Personal Delivery of Late Blight Information
University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering a new delivery method for Late Blight Information. A text message with the latest blight information from the hotline will be delivered directly to your cell phone. This is a one year subscription from June 2016 to June 2017.  Available in the US only.


BFRDP Clearinghouse will be hosting a webinar on May 11th, 2017 at 2pm Eastern time. Topic is the Farmer Veteran Coalition who has many programs for veterans who are involved with agriculture.  You can attend the webinar by clicking on the this link.

Video Series: 
Practical Farmers of Iowa has posted "Small Grains: A Revival," the first episode in its new video series, Rotationally Raised. In the video, farmers talk about growing small grains, from seed selection and planting to harvest and marketing. The weekly series explains how raising corn, soybeans, small grains, and hay rotationally-and feeding those crops to livestock-helps farmers reduce inputs and improve stewardship and can be viewed on YouTube. 
Cut Flowers: Ultra-Nitch Crop:  Ultra-Niche means exceptionally high-value crops that can be grown on ten acres or less.This  Project sponsored by the USDA-NIFA Beginner Farmer and Rancher Development Program and conducted by Rutgers University has a  goal to teach new and beginning farmers about the cultivation, marketing, and business management of 10 "ultra-niche" crops. In addition to cut flowers, sessions have been developed on strawberries, specialty peppers, and high tunnel winter lettuce.  

Growing Produce for Profit: for fruit and vegetable producers had a nice article on updating your farmstand to better meet changing customer demands. 

Visit the UMaine Extension online Publications Catalog   for agriculture information, such as: 
  • Cover Cropping for Success #1170 Cover cropping is an important practice for improving economic and environmental sustainability on many Maine farms. Cover crops are used to improve soil health and fertility, provide beneficial insect habit and reduce weed pressure. Covers species selection, seeding rates and how best to manage the crop for success. © 2017 by University of Maine Cooperative Extension.  Download it for free or buy a color copy $1.25.

eventsUpcoming Events

  • 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 11, 2017  Kitchen Licensing Workshop10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Common Ground Education Center, Unity. Designed for farmers and others interested in home-food processing for resale. Information.
  • May 13, 2017 (MSBA) Beginner Sheep Shearing (pdf) May 6th registration deadline, Rummler Run Farm, Buxton, ME.
  • May 17 - 18, 2017 Organic Farming Principles and Practices, Common Ground Education Center, Unity.
  • May 19 - 21, 2017 Northeast Livestock Expo, Windsor Fair Grounds. Kids Day is Friday.
  • May 22 - 24, 2017 3rd National Farm Viability Conference, Albany Capital Center, Albany, NY. Click here for more details.
  • May 24, 2017 Forgotten Farms, a documentary about dairy farms in New England at 7:15.Maine Farmland Trust is sponsoring a viewing at Railroad Square Cinema, 17 Railroad Square, Waterville.
  • 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 1 & 2, 2017 Entrepreneur to Table Summit: Growing Your Conscious Food and Ag Business, Brattleboro, VT  by Slow Living Summit & Windham Grows. 
  • June 3,4 2017  17th Annual Maine Fiber Frolic, Windsor, ME
  • June 10, 2017 4-H Horse Clinic A 4-H Horse Clinic at the University of Maine Witter Farm in Old Town (very close to UMaine campus) from 10:00 to 2:00. Topics at the clinic will be horse dentistry, prevention and management of colic, and the dos and don'ts of trailering a horse. For more information or to register for the event, contact Sheila Norman at or call 942-7396.
  • June 11, 2017 Farm and Homestead Day - MOFGA, Unity
  • June 15th, 2017 Maine B2B Trade Show, at The Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston: The Maine B2B celebrates business, entrepreneurship, and creativity. Visit Rural Development staff to learn more about the Business and Cooperative Program loans, grants, and guarantees. Rural Development can assist with nearly every aspect of business development, from marketing to land acquisition, to refinancing.
  • June 19 -23, 2017 Maine Start Up & Create Week - Portland. We welcome both "startups" (innovative and high-growth teams, regardless of the size or age of the company) and "creators" (anybody in the business of making things, from physical to digital), and provide an intimate week of cutting-edge content, opportunities for applied learning, and plenty of connections of the most exciting kind.
  • June 27th, 2017 Weed Management (Collaboration with MOFGA)  Goranson Farm, 250 River Rd, Dresden, ME.Weed control is a primary challenge in organic farming systems. This workshop will offer ecological and cultural approaches to weed management with UMaine Extension Professional Jason Lilley, University of Maine Professor Eric Gallandt, and farmer expertise from Carl Goranson. Potluck to follow.  Fee: FREE, RSVP: Email (RSVP required to attend) 
  • July 6, 2017 Sustainable Agriculture Field Day at Rogers Farm.
  • July 6, 2017 Poultry Processing Class- MOFGA, Unity
  • July 27 & 28, 2017 Kneading Conference
  • November 9, 2017 The Potato Disease Summit, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., at the Cross Insurance Center, 515 Main St., Bangor, Maine, sponsored by the UMaine Extension is designed for scientists, consultants, regulatory officials, and potato seed growers and buyers. It will focus on such topics as current advances in detection and diagnosis of Dickeya; an overview of Pectobacterium in the U.S.; and management of Enterobacteriaceae spread and risk.

May 13th (Falmouth), May 20th (Orono) or June 10th (Jonesboro) How to Inspect Hives for Pests and Disease Join the Maine   Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry's Apiculturist, Jennifer Lund at one of three open hive training sessions geared towards veterinarians and beekeepers interested in learning more about honey bees and hive inspections. Participants will get a close-up look at the inside of a hive and learn how to inspect hives for pests and diseases. Hive trainings run from  10am-1pm  and are free.  For more information contact
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)