Volume 8 | May 2019
Your monthly news & updates
What's New?
  • 2nd Annual Keeping Small Ruminants Healthy Clinic a Success
  • 2017 Census of Agriculture
  • Pasture Pork and Beginners Guide to Keeping Pigs - May 10th
  • GPS Cows
  • Connected Technologies in Specialty Crops
  • Eggs - Wash, refrigerate or not?
  • Maine Migrant Education Program
  • FSA Storage Facility Loan Program
  • Items of Interest
  • Featured Resources
  • Upcoming Events
  • Newsletter Subscription Information
  • Mission and Quick Links
  • Local Weather Anytime - Need Pesticide Credits?
2 nd Annual Keeping Small Ruminants Healthy Clinic a Success!!
A huge thanks go out to Foxcroft Large Animal Veterinary Associates for hosting the 2nd Annual Keeping Small Ruminants Healthy Clinic. You can like them on their  Facebook page  or call them at 564-2144. Thank you to Cat Ruksznis, Beth McEvoy, Brian Blanchard, Karen Murphy and Colt Knight for their talks and/or assistance with the hands-on activities. A special thanks to Wendy Russell and Dieter Bayerdorffer from  Widdershins  for providing the animals for our demonstrations.   Also, a special thanks to the chair and table rustlers George McEvoy, Bruce Tibbetts, Anette Moulton and Trisha Smith.
The 2017 Census of Agriculture has just been released. This is the compilation of information farmers provided for 2017. The Census of Agriculture is done every five years to measure the changes that have occurred in the farm community.
Some of the information included in the Census of Ag includes:

The value of production in 2017, U.S. farms and ranches produced $388.5 billion in agricultural products, down from $394.6 billion in 2012. Crop and livestock commodities each account for half of the total. In 2012, only the second time in census history, the value of crop sales exceeded livestock sales; 2017 is a return to longer-term trends.

The total number of farms declined between 2012 and 2017, from 2.11 to 2.04 million. All categories of mid-sized farms declined. The largest farms (sales of $5 million or more) accounted for fewer than 1 percent of all farms but 35 percent of all sales. Small farms (sales of $50,000 or less) accounted for 76 percent of the farms and 3 percent of the sales. 
Some counties in Maine had an increase in Value of Ag Products Sold (Lincoln, Oxford, Penobscot, and York.) Some counties in Maine had an increase in Number of Farms (Androscoggin, Hancock, and Kennebec.) 
Most counties had an increase in the value of food sold directly to consumers with Sagadahoc having a 264% increase in direct sales and Cumberland County topped direct sales at $5,636,000 for the state of Maine. 
While the number of farms selling organic products dropped slightly, the value of organic sales jumped 62%, with Kennebec County having an 115% increase and Somerset County topping organic sales at $15,128,000 for the state of Maine.
Maple Syrup had an 8% increase in farms and an increase of 62% in gallons of syrup produced. Somerset continued to lead the state in Maple Syrup production with 654,498 gallons produced. Oxford County had a 30% increase in number of farms producing syrup and they increased production in that county by 679%.
Check out all the facts and figures collected in the 2017 Census of Agriculture here. Select States by table to get Maine information.
Pasture Pork and Beginners Guide to Keeping Pigs
May 10th
11 am to 2 pm
Penobscot County Extension Office, Bangor

Dr. Colt Knight will present this program for folks who are planning to get a couple pigs this spring to raise through the summer and harvest in the fall as well as folks who are planning to get a sow to raise their own piglets.

  • When should you get your pigs
  • Who should you buy them from
  • Where will you keep them
  • How will you house them
  • What will you feed them
  • What health care is needed
  • When will you harvest them
  • Also, if you are thinking about keeping a sow to raise baby pigs

Also, for folks considering using pasture as a portion of their pig’s diet, Dr. Knight will go over some management information. 
A light lunch will be included. 
Course fee: $10
For more information and to register go to  sign up page.
Last year Colt Knight worked with Central Queensland University in Australia to develop a new youth STEM education program called GPS Cows.The GPS Cows program was designed to increase digital literacy and understanding of precision agriculture to rural students. Students participating in this program learn about: 

  • Precision Livestock Management
  • How GPS works
  • How GPS is used in modern livestock management and research
  • Scientific Method
  • How to use geospatial software, spreadsheet software, and
  • How to make a scientific poster

Students are then invited to the University of Maine campus for a tour, and a chance to make a GPS tracking collar. They are encouraged to design an experiment using their cattle (or borrowed cattle if they do not have access) and the GPS collar to test a hypothesis. 

In the end, participants make a Poster and compete for prizes in a poster competition. They are judged on their poster presentation, content, and delivery. Last year, prizes included a silver trophy buckle, gift certificates, and more.

Up to 20 Jr. High and High School age students participated in this years GPS Cows program/science fair. If you work with youth, or know of 4-H groups that would like to participate, please contact Colt.Knight@umaine.edu or Debra.Kantor@maine.edu
Connected Technologies in Speciality Crops

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue unveiled a groundbreaking report,  A Case for Rural Broadband: Insights on Rural Broadband Infrastructure and Next Generation Precision Agriculture Technologies( PDF, 2.5 MB). The report finds that deployment of both broadband e-Connectivity and Next Generation Precision Agriculture Technology on farms and ranches throughout the U.S. could result in at least $47 billion in national economic benefits every year.

Speciality crop use of connected technologies:
  1. Weather Modeling
  2. Machine Learning for weed ID
  3. Pest Prevention and Monitoring
  4. Crop Input Use and Management
  5. Smart Irrigation
  6. Frost Detection
  7. Robotic Harvesting
  8. Food Waste Management
  9. Direct-to-Consumer Sales
  10. Storage Monitoring
Speciality Crop Growers

After implementing precision agriculture technologies enabled by internet connectivity, speciality crop farmers can enjoy benefits to their business management and quality of life.

  • Remote work facilitating recruitment of top-tier talent
  • Resource sustainability as a result of reducing raw inputs like water
  • Decreased reliance on labor through automation, addressing shortages and premiums on labor
  • Improved food safety and compliance with federal requirements
  • Experimentation to test new tech and customize based on farm-specific needs.

Benefits of the Next Generation Precision Agriculture (pdf) USDA 2019 also includes information on how connected technologies will be used in Row Crops and Livestock & Dairy.
Eggs - Wash, refrigerate or not?
The results of a recent research project showed that refrigerated eggs, regardless of whether they were washed or oiled, were still Grade A quality after 15 weeks, and that the quality of eggs stored at room temperature degraded from Grade AA to Grade B in just a week, and they also lost 15 percent of their weight over that time. Under refrigeration unwashed eggs lost the same amount as washed eggs.
Some producers claim that the chicken egg is coated with a thin, protective "cuticle," or membrane, that prevents bacteria from penetrating the shell. In reality, the cuticle dries and comes off, and is only present to control respiration during incubation. It does nothing to prevent bacteria from entering the egg.
Best practices include spray-washing eggs in warm water, use a sanitizing rinse and air-dry, then maintain at 45 degrees F.
Source: How We Store Our Eggs - and Why , USDA Tellus, 4/23/2019.

Maine Migrant Education Program (MEP)
MEP provides free educational assistance to families who move to work in agriculture or fishing. Children in these families often struggle to succeed academically because of frequent moves, poverty, and other barriers. The MEP provides services to help migratory children and youth (ages 0-20) succeed in school by maintaining their grade level and meeting high academic standards.

The Maine Migrant Education Program is administered by Mano en Mano / Hand in Hand, a nonprofit with offices Downeast and in Portland.
To qualify for Migrant Education services, a family must have moved from one school district to another within the past three years to do seasonal or temporary work in agriculture or fishing. If you are interested in receiving free educational support, you may contact:

Sean Douglas, Enrollment and Outreach Coordinator
(207) 598-8925
FSA Storage Facility Loan Program
Farm Storage Facility Loans (FSFLs) provide low-interest financing for producers to store, handle and/or transport eligible commodities they produce. This includes the following:
• Acquire, construct or upgrade new or used, portable or permanently affixed, on-farm storage and handling facilities;
• Acquire new or used storage and handling trucks; and
• Acquire portable or permanently affixed storage and handling equipment.

The eligible commodities are quite diverse. In addition to grain crops, hay, honey, fruits & vegetables, hops, maple sap, milk, cheese, butter, eggs, meat/poultry (unprocessed)

The types of facilities and equipment that are eligible include: bins or cribs, oxygen-limiting structures, electrical & handling equipment, bulk tanks, cold storage buildings, storage & handling trucks (including refrigerated trucks.)

The program is administered by the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA).

Items of Interest
  • Shared-Use Farm Equipment (SUFE) Program MOFGA has a number of pieces of equipment they will allow farmers to borrow. They include: seedbed cultivator, 2-shank subsoiler, plastic mulch layer, custom ridge tiller, custom strip tiller and 3D printer.
  • USDA Launches New Farmers.gov Features Two new features on the USDA's farmers.gov will help customers manage their farm loans and navigate the application process for H-2A visas. The website's authenticated portal allows customers to apply for programs, process transactions and manage accounts.
  • Emerald Ash Borer is in Maine! The Maine Forest Service recommends getting firewood from pithing 50 miles of where it was harvested to prevent the spread of EAB. FYI all of York County and the northeastern corner of Aroostook is included in the EAB quarantine area.
  • Usurp the Burp: Ongoing research led by agricultural scientists at UC Davis has found that adding just a small amount of Asparagopsis seaweed (red algae) to cattle feed can dramatically reduce methane emissions from dairy cows by more than 50 percent. These preliminary results are promising, but still very little is known about whether it’s possible to grow enough seaweed to meet the potential demands of the livestock industry.
  • USDA Terminal Market Reports for specialty crops.
  • MOFGA Price Reports
  • Raise Your Hand - Maine 4-H can win! But we need the help of our UMaine alumni and friends to be in the running for $20,000 from National 4-H Council. You do not need to be a 4-H alum to support Maine kids. Everyone counts, and everyone can enter with just their email.
  • Looking for a farmers' market to join? This Facebook page is offered as a clearing house for you. A project of the Maine Federation of Farmers' Markets http://mffm.org and http://www.facebook.com/mainefarmersmarkets.
  • New Plant Disease Submission Form for the UMaine Extension Diagnostic Lab. What to send and how to send it.
  • Maine Hay Directory - is available to help farmers with hay to sell and farmers looking for hay to buy. Be cautious of hay scams. 
  • Agrichemical and Fertilizer Suppliers in Maine - compiled by David E. Yarborough, Extension Blueberry Specialist.  
  • Maine Farm Labor Link Network - MDACF to link potential employers with job seekers.
  • Job openings at MOFGA.
  • Jobs at UMaine Extension:  a number positions throughout the state.
Featured Resources
Backpack Sprayer Modification: Don't Overlook Backpack Sprayers, from Rutgers Cooperative Extension. Series of videos on modifying backpack sprayers to improve their accuracy.
Managing Internal Parasites in Small Ruminants: In this three part webinar sponsored by the Food Animal Concerns Trust, NCAT livestock specialist Linda Coffey talks about the basic life cycle of internal parasites; the impact of of parasites on animals; symptoms of internal parasite infection; and survival mechanisms.
Robots & Machines - The agriculture industry from Interesting Engineering. These robots and machines are revolutionizing the agriculture industry.
Our Farms, Our Future podcast series from SARE: The latest episode is Aquaponics by JP Knobloch & Tim Hydar. Aquaponics can be defined as a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics.
Agriculture Labor Management , University of Vermont Extension. Includes job description generator, employee cost estimator, personnel policy generator, are you ready to hire self assessment and other resources.
Visit UMaine Extension online Publications Catalog for agricultural publications such as:

Upcoming Events
  • May 8, 2019 Legacy Planning for Farmers, 6 pm to 8 pm SCORE & Mass Mutual, Cumberland County Extension Office, Falmouth.
  • May 9, 2019 Cooking for Crowds, 5 pm at the Penobscot County Extension Office, 307 Maine Ave. Bangor. Participants will receive "Cooking for Crowds," a manual specifically designed for volunteer cooks, as well as a certificate of attendance, posters and a meat thermometer. Cost is $15 per person for the class, which meets the Good Shepherd Food Bank safety training requirements. Register online For more information or to request a disability accommodation call 207.942.7396 or within Maine 1.800.287.1485.
  • May 10, 2019 Pasture Pork and Beginners Guide to Keeping Pigs, 11 am to 2 pm, Penobscot County Extension Office, Bangor. Course fee $10 includes lunch.
  • May 10, 2019 Organic Farming: Principles and Practices - Crop Production. 10 am to 3 pm. MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center, Unity, with MOFGA's Caleb Goossen and Alex Ethier. Please register for this workshop.
  • May 11, 2019 5th Annual Mushroom Cultivation Workshop at Marr Pond Farm, 10 am to 4 pm. Basics of Shiitake mushroom on hardwood logs for beginners and experienced growers. Potluck lunch. Workshop cost $35. For more information and to register click here.
  • May 16-19, 2019 Northeast Livestock Expo, Windsor Fairgrounds
  • May 17 - 18, 2019 MBPA Pen Sale at the Northeast Livestock Expo - Windsor Fairgrounds
  • May 18, 2019 MBPA Feeder Calf Sale, 11 am at the Northeast Livestock Expo- Windsor Fairgrounds. Note: they have 75 animals; steer and heifers, weaned and preconditioned weighing between 600-900 pounds. FMI Pete Dusoe, pbdusoe@roadrunner.com 415-5441.
  • June 22, 2019 Farm & Homestead Day 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center, Unity. Information
  • July 11, 2019 Women Caring for the Land, Piscataquis County.
  • July 14-15, 2019. In the Thick of It is a farm tour event sponsored by the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. More info and registration
  • July 28, 2019 Open Farm Day. Registration is open until May 1st.
  • July 30, 2019 Tractor Safety Tips, 1 - 3 pm Law Farm, Dover Foxcroft - brief overview of tractor safety.
  • October 4, 2019 Maine Farm to School Conference, Kennebec Valley Community College, Alfond Campus in Hinkley.
Newsletter Subscription Information

The Central Maine Farming Newsletter (CMFN), now received by over 900 readers, has been offered as an educational resource by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension for over 15 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 at this website 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 or Penobscot 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.
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

Need Pesticide credits?  Check out the  Maine Board of Pesticide credit calendar.   Many approved pesticide applicator re-certification programs are listed. 

Edited by 
Donna Coffin, 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.
Penobscot County Office
Piscataquis County Office
Penobscot County 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 County 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