October 2016
Your Monthly News & Updates
dought Drought Impact

Central Maine has received limited rainfall in the past week so we are still experiencing drought conditions. Public suppliers of water have asked customers to conserve their water use as much as possible.

Those experiencing dry wells or other drought-related problems should contact 2-1-1 Maine, a state-wide resource for helping Mainers with all types of health and human services issues. A representative will record your information in an effort to gauge how widespread the drought problem is in Maine.
There is no guarantee of assistance, but this reporting is necessary to understand the impacts the drought is having across Maine and may make more resources available.

Drought Impact on Farming
Until we get significant rainfall, farmers will also be conserving water. Here are some tips from Cornell University Drought Resources Website.

Crop Irrigation Tips:
  • Water in the early morning to minimize evaporation, if possible. Avoid overhead irrigation that gets water on foliage; many plant diseases flourish on wet leaves. Trickle irrigation will place water near the roots and not on the leaves. If you only have overhead irrigation water when there's no wind, as wind speeds evaporation.
  • It is estimated that three quarters of the rain falling on bare soil is lost to plants through evaporation and runoff. Both of these are reduced up to 90% by adequate mulch. Mulches help conserve moisture and keep the soil cooler. Use plastic, compost, wood chips, bark nuggets, shredded bark mulch, shredded leaves, or any other organic material to cover the surface of the soil. Apply organic mulch to a depth of two inches, beginning a few inches away from stems of plants or trunks of trees.
If main water source dries up on livestock farms:
  • Truck water to the animals. Fill poly tanks, barrels, old bulk tanks, whatever you might have and haul to pasture to fill stock tanks (use floats to fill automatically). You can get "fancy" with a water wagon using a large tank on a running gear.
  • Provide limited access to watercourse or pond if water quality is good. Pick a good site (hard approach & stream bed), using temporary wire to make access narrow (8' wide or less). Work with NRCS office for details. 
  • Be aware that animals that do not have enough to eat from pasture can resort to eating weeds that they would not ordinarily eat, some of which can be toxic. These can include buttercup and milkweed, among others. Often times, these are the only green plants growing in drought stressed pastures. If you see these species growing and animals are grazing, supplement these animals while on pasture.
  • Drill a well (expensive) or tap into an existing source (house/barn well) if possible. Make sure water source doesn't become overburdened.
  • Bottom line: Animals need to have water. Do whatever you need to provide it!

Friday, October 28, 2016 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm
at the Piscataquis County Extension Association Annual Meeting
at the Dover-Foxcroft Congregational Church, Main Street, Dover-Foxcroft.

Our speaker is Matt Scott who has been keeping bees for over 50 years.  He is co-founder of the Maine State Beekeepers Association (MSBA) and has served on the Eastern Apicultural Society of North America.  Matt continually provides advice and bee lectures to many of Maine's Chapter Associations of the MSBA, UMaine Extension offices and environmental groups. A retired Aquatic Biologist, Matt worked for the State of Maine for 38 years. He holds both Bachelors and Masters Degrees from the University of Maine.
This free program is hosted by the Piscataquis County Extension Association and UMaine Cooperative Extension. We will serve pie from Leaves & Blooms Greenhouse in Dover-Foxcroft topped with Maine made ice cream.
Seating is limited so please let us know you are planning to come and we will save a seat for you. Contact Amanda Miles at 207-564-3301 or amanda.miles@maine.edu.

sellumaineSelling to the University of Maine

The University of Maine in partnership with Sodexo will be holding two informational sessions in early November for farmers and food processors on how to sell their products to the University of Maine System. This event will provide a walk-through of the process of selling to Sodexo and understanding its supply chain, as well as networking opportunities.
More details coming soon.
Interested in Selling to Sodexo.  
goodGood Shepherd Food Bank $3 Million Grant for Food from Local Farms

The Finance Au
thority of Maine (FAME) has awarded Good Shepherd Food Bank $3 million to purchase vegetables, fruits, and seafood from Maine producers to be distributed to hunger relief programs across the state. Good Shepherd Food Bank, which submitted a successful proposal to FAME in response to a recent RFP, will utilize the funds for its Mainers Feeding Mainers program. Through this program, the Food Bank purchases food from Maine farms and fisheries and distributes the items to more than 400 partner agencies across the state, including food pantries, meal sites, and schools.
Good Shepherd Food Bank, which currently contracts with 50 farms across the state, plans to increase to 80 farm partnerships in the coming years. In 2015, the Food Bank purchased 840,000 pounds from Maine farms and fisheries. The organization plans to increase purchasing steadily throughout the 3-year contract term, bringing that number to approximately 1.3 million pounds purchased from local sources in 2018.
The Good Shepherd Food Bank is seeking at least 10 more Maine farmers with whom to contract to grow fruits or vegetables for the 2017 growing season in the following counties:  Piscataquis, Penobscot, Kennebec, Hancock, Franklin, Oxford, Somerset, and Cumberland.  If you are interested in applying to be such a farmer, please go to www.gsfb.org and click on the Mainers Feeding Mainers page where you will find an application and criteria for becoming a Mainers Feeding Mainers partner.  You can also contact Nancy Perry at nperry@gsfb.org or call (207) 782-3554 ext. 1109 or Connie Woodward at cwoodward@gsfb.org or call (207) 782-3554 ext. 1167.
The Food Bank distributed a total of 24 million pounds of food to Mainers in need in the past year through its network of 400 local partner agencies across the state.
Farmers who want to sell to Good Shepherd click here.  In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables they are looking for high protein foods such as cheese, fish and meat.

manageManaging Weeds with Tarps
Uncontrolled weeds compete with crop plants for nutrients, water and sunlight. Farmers rely on a variety of methods to manage the weeds, but many farmers use plowing and cultivating to suppress weeds. Tillage results in reduced soil quality.

UNH (University of New Hampshire) has done research on the use of black tarps and cover crops to suppress weeds in organic no-till vegetable gardens. In an update on the research using either clear or black plastic over cover crops a report noted that the black tarp provided great weed suppression compared to clear traps that seemed to stimulated crab grass seed to germinate.

Farmers in southern Maine use "used" bill board tarps (25' X 50') for weed control on relatively large plots. The tarps are rugged enough to reuse in the fields several times. Besides use in the field, these tarps can cover equipment, hay or other supplies.  One source is https://billboardtarps.com/


successionNew England Farm Succession School
For senior farmers and farm couples looking toward retirement and farm transition.
Farm Succession School comes to New England. 
Planning for farm succession can be challenging. The Farm Succession School is for senior farmers and farm couples looking for a bit of structure and motivation to tackle succession planning. Farmers will move from thinking about the future to doing active planning! 
Program includes presentations, group discussions and individual exercises, with "assignments" between sessions. Topics include goal setting, estate planning, retirement planning, family communications, taxes, legal structure, Medicaid, and bringing on a successor. Participants will come away with a concrete "game plan" for their farm business, land, and retirement.
Three locations this year! 
It is a three-session program. Each session will be from 10:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. and includes lunch and refreshments. Open to farmers in all New England states.          
Augusta, MaineNovember 1, 2016December 6, 2016; and
January 24, 2017.
The fee is $300 per farmer or farm couple. This includes lunch, refreshments and materials. Participants will receive a $200 credit toward hiring succession-related technical assistance. 
Sponsored by Land For Good. For more information or to register, call (603)357-1600 or go online to  landforgood.org/rsvp. Registration deadline extended to October 21, 2016. 
Photo: Remberg
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.
  • UNH has done research on the use of tarps and cover crops to suppress weeds in no-till vegetable gardens. In an update on the research black plastic over cover crops provided great weed suppression compared to clear traps that seemed to stimulated crab grass seed to germinate.
  • The Christmas Tree Promotion Board (CTPB) is a national promotion and research organization funded by $0.15 per tree assessments on the sale of cut Christmas trees from North American Christmas tree growers who cut or import more than 500 trees. This year's promotion kit "It's Christmas Keep It Real" will be available to growers soon.
  • NIFA Industrial Hemp Guidance - On Aug. 12, a Federal Register notice provided information on how federal law applies to activities associated with industrial hemp that is grown and cultivated in accordance with the 2014 Farm Bill. NIFA (National Institute of Food and Agriculture) recently published guidance on the same topic at www.nifa.usda.gov/industrial-hemp.
  • A New Generation on the Land - USDA New Farmer Website resource.
  • Brown Tailed Moths found in Piscataquis and Penobscot Counties. While feeding damage may cause some concern, the primary concern is the impact on humans from the browntail moth is the result of contact with poisonous hairs found on the caterpillars.  Contact of these hairs with human skin causes a rash similar to poison ivy that can be severe on some individuals. Caterpillars are preparing to overwinter.
  • Looking for compost facilities at farms, communities or commercial facilities for school groups to visit during Maine Compost Week 2017. Here is a pdf of the request. 
  • Spotted Wing Drosophila update and management information available. This pest affects strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. Their numbers are on the rise!
  • Farm Hack A community for farm innovation. The goal of Farm Hack is to rejuvenate the historically rich culture of on-farm innovation, sharing and collaborative design and move it forward in support of a more resilient agricultural system. Farm Hack facilitates collaboration between advanced designers and old-timer fabricator neighbors, educating beginning farm-shop users, and connecting everyone involved in the goal of the project.
  • 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 tiffany.wing@maine.edu.
resourcesFeatured Resources

  Beginner's Guide to Local Meat Processing  Want to learn more about meat processing but aren't sure where to start? Processing is an essential link in local meat supply chains, but it's a complicated business. If you're a livestock producer - or work with producers - and have questions or concerns about processing, you'll benefit from NMPAN's (Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network by eXtension.org) "Beginner's Guide to Local Meat Processing" on the basics. And if you're a processor already, you can use the short fact sheets below to educate others about your business. 
An update on the Plant, Animal and Insect Laboratory that is being created for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.  Funding was secured by an $8 million bond that was passed by the citizens in Maine in 2014.    
Visit the UMaine Cooperative Extension online Publications Catalog
 for agriculture information, such as:
  • An Introduction to Using Site Specific Farming to Manage Field Variability #1080 Site-specific farming has the potential to increase farm income and resolve environmental issues, thus easing farm management decisions. Whether you are farming conventionally or organically, sustainability can be achieved through precision agriculture, with its site-specific approach. This fact sheet will lead you through what you need to know to adopt the site-specific approach. 4 pages. © 2016 by University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Download it for free or buy a color copy $0.50.
  • Body Condition Scoring Your Horse #1010 This fact sheet explains how to evaluate your horse's body fat in relationship to body musculature, and assess whether the horse's body condition can meet the demands of winter weather, reproduction, or other stresses. 4 pages. © 2002 by University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Download it for free or buy a color copy $0.75.
eventsUpcoming Events
  • October 16 Maine Cheese Festival  11am - 5pm  At Savage Oakes Vineyard &Winery 
    l ocated at 174 Barrett Hill Road, Union. FMI Arlene Brokaw, Maine Cheese Guild events@mainecheeseguild.org. Tickets $10. Meet over 20 of Maine's Artisan  cheesemakers and discover, sample, and buy their cheeses.
  • October 16-18, 2016  Women in Meat Northeast, Petersham, MA Workshops & Seminars include: Master Class in Butchery: Show Me The Beef! Master Class in Butchery: Let's Talk Pork! Developing Products: Charcuterie & Bone Broth. HACCP Planning, FSMA, and Labeling:   What do you need to know. Financing your Project: Making it Happen
  • October 16, 2016 Great Maine Apple Day, noon to 4 pm, MOFGA Fairgrounds, Unity. $2 for members, $4 for non-members, kids are free. FMI www.mofga.org
  • October 16-19, 2016 Maine Leavening Workshop, Somerset Grist Mill, Skowhegan. $250 and all meals are included. Sponsor is the Maine Grain Alliance. Due to the handson nature of the workshop registration is limited.
  • October 19, 2016 Maine Food Means Business 2016 Summit, 9:30 am to 6:00 pm Hilton Garden Inn, Freeport. $25 - $100. Providing key education, camaraderie, and professional development to membersThe Maine Food Means Business Summit brings together Maine's food producers, grocers, service providers and food industry experts.
  • October 20, 2016 2016 Between Optimism and Pessimism: Our Unending Pursuit to Feed Civilization, Ruth DeFries, Columbia University, Mitchell Lecture on Sustainability, Wells Conference Center, University of Maine, Orono, Maine. Sign up for free tickets here.
  • October 21, 2016. deadline to sign up for New England Farm Succession School.  
  • October 22, 2016 - Sheep and Goat Parasitology Seminar (doc) as well as updates on Scrapie and other contagious diseases. 9 am to 3 pm   Kennebec Valley Community College: Carter Hall, Fairfield, ME. Sponsored by UMaine Extension.This seminar will include the "how-to" aspects of parasite management and disease prevention. No charge; please RSVP to Melissa Libby (Melissa.libby1@maine.edu) or (207) 581-2788. Bring your own lunch. 
  • October 28 Piscataquis Extension Annual Meeting 6 pm to 8:30 pm, Dover Foxcroft Congregational Church in Dover-Foxcroft. Matt Scott will talk about "Wild Pollinators and Honey Bees: Their Importance to Garden and Farm Crops." Pie by Leaves and Blooms Greenhouse topped with Maine ice cream. Seating is limited so please contact amanda.miles@maine.edu at the Piscataquis County Extension Office to save a seat.
  • November 3 Scaling Up - A Walk Through Sodexo's Maine Course Initiative...Selling to Sodexo 101 Understanding Our Supply Chain and Networking Opportunities, Wells Commons, UMaine Campus, Orono. More details later.
  • November 4 - 5, 2016 Farmer to Farmer Conference, Point Lookout, Northport. FMI www.mofga.org
  • November 5 Preconditioned Feeder Calf Sale at 11 am sponsored by the Maine Beef Producers Association at Dick Brown's facility in Richmond.
  • November 9 Buying Meat from Local Farmers 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm Bucksport High School. Sign up through RSU 25 Adult Ed. 
  • November 11-13, 2016 Maine Food System Challenge, Bowdoin College, Brunswick.
  • November 19 - 20 Harvest Festival, Cross Center, Bangor
  • 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 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.
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  http://bit.ly/PPfarming 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.
quickQuick Links
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  http://www.weather.gov/car/.
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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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)