November 2016
Your Monthly News & Updates
broilerCosts of Pastured Broiler Operations Based on Data from Small Scale Farms

Kentucky State University staff just published an article that provides information on the costs of boiler operations based on data from farms in Kentucky. Getting accurate information on the actual costs of production on many "hobby scale" technologies has not been investigated.
This study found that when small-scale farmers utilized the management recommendations of poultry experts (Jacob, et. al. 2011) their costs were about $10 per bird. Sales of processed chickens at farmers markets were more profitable based on per pound cost of $2.60 and sales price that averaged $4.32/pound in Kentucky.
It should be noted that one farm chose not to follow recommended feeding rates and experience much lower rate of gain with birds finishing the 8 week feeding period at half the weight of birds fed the recommended level of feed.
The authors recommended that pasture broiler enterprises be managed at a high level, maintain weekly production and feed data to more accurately calculate costs, and investigate if processing birds and sales at Farmers' Markets or CSAs would be profitable for their operation.
Source: Dasgupta, S. and R. Bryant, Costs of Pastured Broiler Operations Based on Data from Small Scale Farms, Journal of Extension, Vol. 54, No. 5, Oct. 2016.
vapgUSDA Value Added Producer Grants Awarded to Maine Farms and Agri-businesses  
 Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is providing more than $45 million to help farmers, ranchers, small businesses and entrepreneurs nationwide develop new product lines. USDA is investing in 325 projects through the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program.
Ten Maine Farms and Agri-businesses will be receiving a total of $1.36 million in this round of funding. These include: American Unagi, LLC (products from farm-raised American eels), Avena Botanicals (organic, herbal products), Noami Brutigam (organic winter greens), Jessica Laiin Gownling (artisan cheeses from goat and sheep milk), Margaret Mitchell (marinara sauce & salsa).
Penobscot McCrum, LLC (processed potato wedges), Ricker Hill Orchards (apple cider, vinegar, hard cider, fruit wine and carbonated cider), Thirty Acre Farm, LLC (sauerkraut and other fermented products from organic vegetables), Whitney Brook, LLC (organic seed potatoes and table stock potatoes), Dogpatch Farm, LLC (pork from Mulefoot Hogs).
Source: USDA Newsrelease 0232.16

Liberty Steel Fabrication of Fyffe, AL has come up with a tractor for small scale farms that applies Open Source Manufacturing (OSM) design that uses off the shelf components for their agricultural equipment to be cost-effective, simple, rugged and maintainable in the field or local shop. They start with a Universal Power Platform (UPP) which is the base structure that powers the engine, hydraulic pumps and hydraulic motors and hubs. There are a number of implement attachments that can be used with the basic tractor model.
Originally designed to be produced in the US and shipped to CUBA, the manufacturers realized there are a lot of small scale farmers in the US that might be interested in their tractor which is priced at $10,000. Click on the image for a YouTube video of the OGGUN in action.
 Are you an experienced Maine farmer who wants to make more money wholesaling your products? Register for Maine Farmland Trust's Farming for Wholesale program! There are two "tracks" depending on your experience and goals. Both combine workshops with ongoing technical assistance tailored to your farm. Both have grants available for those who complete the sessions.

Applications to the 201 program are due December 1, 2016. Register for the 101 track by January 6, 2017. Details and registration can be found online here.
Questions? Contact Alex at or (207) 338-6575.

interestItems of Interest
  • Maine Farms for the Future is a competitive grant program of the Maine Department of Agriculture that provides selected farms with business planning assistance and investment support.  Interested farms can get more details via the public notice and an application. Proposals must be submitted by December 1.
  • AgriLife Research (Texas A & M) looks at practicality of drone use in ranching. Includes a short video of drone used with a sheep flock to check fences, waterers, location of animals and some herding capabilities. Looking towards RFID tag that can transmit for a mile or more so herd or flocks can be found more easily. 
  • Compass Group announced a formal partnership with the animal welfare certification program Global Animal Partnership (GAP), based in Austin, Texas. Through the partnership, Compass will be able to source only slower-growing strains of chicken for its operations by 2024, under GAP's 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating program.
  • 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.   
  • Handouts from the program "Selling to the UMaine System - The Maine Course by Sodexo" are available by contacting
  • 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.
  • Maine Hay Directory - You can list hay that you have for sale or you can look for hay to buy. Listings are free.
  • Maine Seed Garlic Directory  To place a NEW listing, email
resourcesFeatured Resources

Understanding and meeting your market: Conducting a local customer survey
 for those interested in niche poultry markets ( November 3, 2016; 3 PM Eastern) - Andy Larson, U of Illinois
Visit the UMaine Cooperative Extension online Publications Catalog
 for agriculture information, such as: 
  • Growing Elderberries: A Production Manual and Enterprise Viability Guide for Vermont and the Northeast #2069 was developed, in part, with research by UMaine Extension educators David Handley, Tori Jackson and Marjorie Peronto, and crop insurance education program manager Erin Roche. This guide is for people with an interest in growing elderberry for profit, and is intended to help them determine if elderberry is the right commercial crop for them. Covers elderberry basics, cultivars, site preparation and establishment, maintenance, harvesting, post-harvest handling and processing, marketing and making value-added products. 97 pages. 2016. University of Vermont Extension.  Download it for free (pdf from University of Vermont) or buy a color copy for $15.
  •  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 by University of Maine Cooperative Extension.  Download it for free or buy a color copy $0.75.
  • Making Balsam Fir 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 a color copy $0.75. 

eventsUpcoming Events

  • November 15, 2016 Business Basics for Beginning Farmers Webinar by Farm Credit 11 am.
  • November 15, 2016 Livestock Diseases and Prevention Webinar by eXtension 1 pm
  • November 18, 2016 Forum on the Effect of the Trans Pacific Trade Pack on Agriculture 3 pm to 5 pm at the Sea Dog restaurant in Bangor. Sponsors include Food and Medicine, Food For Maine's Future, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, and the New England Farmers Union.
  • November 19 - 20 Harvest Festival, Cross Center, Bangor
  • November 19th and 20th Maine Farm Bureau Annual Meeting starting at 8 am at the Black Bear Inn in Orono.  The Saturday event is open to the public and we are having really great speakers covering topics like solar for the community, estate planning, vegetable production, and a lots more! We will also be doing farm visits, hearing from Gary Keough from New England Ag. Statistics-USDA and having a nice dinner before listening to the acapella group Mainely Voices. FMI
  • November 29 - Deadline to apply for the USDA Northeast SARE 2017 Farmer grant program. These grants fund projects by commercial producers who want to test innovative ideas in field trials, on-farm demonstrations or market initiatives. A technical advisor must be involved.
  • December 2, 2016 2nd Annual Maine Food Network, 8:30 am to 5:30 pm Wells Commons, UMaine Orono. This event will bring together people working in food-related industries and those working on food-related issues to identify where we can work together to strengthen the food system.  The event will also include information on topics such as public policy and careers in food systems. Tickets are $30 with a limited number of scholarships available. 
  • December 5, 2016 Farmland Access Conference, Civic Center, Augusta, 8:30 am to 5 pm For more or information contact Erica Buswell at or (207) 338-6575. The Farmland Access Conference is co-sponsored by American Farmland Trust, Cooperative Development Institute, Farm Credit East, Land for Good, Legal Food Hub, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry, and MOFGA.
  • December 6, 2016 Kitchen Licensing Workshop, Penboscot County Extension Office, 307 Maine Ave. (by the airport), Bangor. Brought to you by Cheryl Wixson's Kitchen, Maine Dept of Ag, Conservation and Forestry and UMaine Extension. $50 fee.
  • December 7, 2016 The 2016 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 9:00AM, registration will begin at 8:30 AM.  Topics at this year's conference will include  potato storage management, resistance management, soil borne diseases, aphids, Dickeya, an update from the Pesticides Control Board, as well as a research update from the University of Maine Agricultural Experiment Station. FMI contact Jim Dwyer -
  • December 12, Poultry medications Webinar by eXtension 11 am- rule changes affecting small and backyard poultry flocks.
  • December 13 Setting culling standards for small and backyard flocks. by eXtension  3 pm.
  • January 10-12, 2017 Maine Agricultural Trades Show, Augusta Civic Center.
  • March 14, 2017 Dairy Seminar
  • March 18, 2017 Maine Grazing Conference, Waterville. Speakers include: Fred Provenza, Hue Karreman and Matt LaRouse.
  • May 19 - 21, 2017 Northeast Livestock Expo, Windsor Fair Grounds. Kids Day is Friday.
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.
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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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