Volume 9 | January 2020
Your Monthly News & Updates
What's New?
  • Maine Agricultural Trades Show Jan. 14 - 16
  • "Locally Grown" Broccoli Looks, Tastes Better to Consumers
  • 2020 Beginning Farmers Workshops at the Ag Trades Show Jan 15 - 16
  • Wild Blueberry Conference Feb. 22
  • USDA Agriculture Marketing Grant - Farmers' Market Grant Recipient
  • USDA Agriculture Marketing Grants - Local Food Promotion Program Grant Recipients
  • Value Added Producer Grant Recipients
  • 2020 Master Gardener Volunteer Training
  • Items of Interest - Featured Resources - Upcoming Events
  • Newsletter Subscription Information
  • Mission and Quick Links - Local Weather Anytime - Need Pesticide Credits?
January 14 - 16, 2020
Augusta Civic Center

The State of Maine Agricultural Trades Show takes place every January and serves as a source for agricultural resources and products. Producers and consumers alike visit this three day show to take stock of current programs, new technologies and to gather information on the agriculture industry. The event is sponsored by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. The Ag Trade Show provides promotional opportunities for businesses and organizations on the trade show floor, but also houses various lectures, certification courses and annual meetings throughout its duration. The event has activities geared towards promoting industry collaboration and progress.  
The whole program is available on the  Maine Agricultural Trades Show website.  

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

  • Food Safety for Produce Farms
  • WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program
  • Pesticide Recertification Training
  • Initial Pesticide Training and Exam - must pre-register
  • Beginning Farmer Resource Network
  • Maine Milk Commission
  • Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners
  • Maine Sustainable Ag Society
  • Nutrient Management Program
  • Maine Christmas Tree Assoc.
  • Maine Vegetable and Small Fruit Growers

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

  • Baskets to Pallets
  • Maine Senior Farm Program
  • WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program
  • New England Emu Assoc.
  • Pesticide Recertification Training
  • Beginning Farmer Resource Network
  • Maine State Florists' Growers' Assoc.
  • Maine Sheep Breeders Assoc.
  • United Farmer Veternas of Maine
  • Maine GRass Farmers Network
  • Maine Beef Producers Assoc.
  • Maine Highland Cattle Assoc.
  • Maine Connection: Local Grower and Producer
  • Maine Food and Grocers Producers' Assoc.
  • Nutrient Management Program
  • Maine Maple Producers Assoc.
  • Maine Vegetable and Small Fruit Growers
  • Maine State Pomological Society
  • Maine Woodland Owners Annual Meeting

Thursday, January 16, 2020

  • Groundwater Basics
  • Solar Panels on Farmland
  • Agritourism Opportunities
  • Maine Farm to School Network
  • Pesticide Recertification Training - wild blueberries
  • Beginning Farmer Resource Network
  • Maine Nutrition Council: Berry Health Benefits
  • DACF QAR Licensing Basics
  • Maine Pork Producers
  • Maine Rabbit Breeders Assoc.
  • Maine Federation of Farmers' Markets
  • Maine Made Wholesale 101
  • Maine Senior Farm Share Program
  • WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program
  • Hemp Farming Seminar
  • Baskets to Pallets
  • Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training

In blind tests conducted by Cornell researchers, consumers rated a California broccoli tastier and better-looking than a pair of varieties grown in New York.
But the New York broccoli fared much better in a subsequent series of tests. It earned the highest marks for flavor and consumers were willing to pay more for it – on par with the California variety.

What changed?
The second group was told the New York broccoli was “locally grown” in New York state, where the tests were conducted. That information improved consumers’ perceptions of the broccoli and its value compared with the California alternative.

The experiments asked ordinary consumers in upstate New York to inspect and sample three varieties of parboiled broccoli side by side, then submit bids by computer for how much they would pay per pound of each.

Source: Gomez, M. 'Locally grown' broccoli looks, tastes better to consumers , Cornell Chronicle, Dec. 2019.
2020 Beginning Farmer Workshops at the Ag Trades Show

Two January 15, 2020 workshops will focus on multiple aspects of farm labor. Four January 16, 2020 workshops will examine cybersecurity of electronic sales, farming in a changing climate, working with municipalities on local farm policy, and collaborating with national partners. All workshops feature current farmers and service providers.

Registration is not necessary. For more information, visit the  UMaine Extension BFRN website , or contact Tori Jackson, 207.353.5500,  tori.jackson@maine.edu .

Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Increasing your Scale and Efficiency with Mechanization
Employment Law for the Farm
Agricultural labor laws can be confusing. Do you have questions about fair labor standards act, overtime, exempt work, workers compensation, and payroll tax?
Thursday, January 16, 2020, 9:00-10:00am
Point of Sale (POS) Options and Opportunities in the Digital Age
Farming Right: Municipal Ordinances, Zoning, and Other Considerations
Implementing Conservation on Your Farm: Working with NRCS & FSA
A Beginning Farmer Focus Group on Climate Adaptation Resources
Wild Blueberry Conference
February 22, 2020 (Snow date Feb 29)

Location: Hollywood Casino Hotel, Lancaster Room, Bangor
Registration  is required. $0.00-$50.00 (Contribute what you can)!
8:30 am to 4:00 pm

Research and Extension Update, Lily Calderwood
Insect Pest Management, Phillip Fanning
Wild Blueberry Disease Research Update, Seanna Annis
Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine Updates, David Yarborough
Grower Panel: On-Farm Efficiency
Fresh-pack Handling, Lily Calderwood and Brogan Tooley
Cooking with Wild Blueberries; Chef Demo, Rob Dumas
Wine Production, Bluet Winery
Sod Production, Shannon Lions
Speaker Panel: Marketing + Questions
Tips for Aging Farmers & Their Families, Dick Brzozwski
Warming Impacts on Wild Blueberry Plants, YongJiang Zhang
Bee Better Certified, Eric Venturini
Speaker Panel
buying at farmers market

Maine Federation of Farmers Markets Award Amount: $160,111.00
The Workplace To Market Project Workplace to Market is a collaborative, multi-faceted project that aims to cause consumer behavior change through targeted incentives to working-age adults at their workplace. Project partners will trial and monitor the impact of shopping incentive models that drive new customers to farmers’ markets. The findings will be shared through online and print resources, serving as a new marketing strategy for farmers’ markets across the country to use.
A toolkit, based on the piloted models and the findings of various partnerships across Maine, will be developed and distributed as a resource for farmers to develop their own partnerships with employers in their communities. 
ag marketing service logo

1. Gulf of Maine Research Institute Award Amount: $487,791.00. A Regional Effort to Improve Quality and Market Opportunities for New England Finfish. A series of workshops to increase awareness and understanding of a range of quality, food safety, and waste reduction issues in order to collaborate on regionwide standards will bring together fishermen, processors, and buyers to compete with high quality imported seafood.

2. The Sustainability Lab Award Amount: $99,997.82 Home to 45 enterprises, Fork Food Lab, Maine’s premier commercial kitchen incubator, is nearing full capacity. A Fork Food Lab 2.0 Plan will be developed, to 1) enable exploration of new food sectors, such as meat, fish, dairy, fermented products, and craft beer, wine and spirits; 2) help manufacturers access specialized equipment necessary to scale production; and 3) provide scaling businesses with dedicated space for manufacturing.

VAPG provided Working Cows Dairy, Slocomb, AL, the only certified organic dairy operation in the entire region and the de Jong family with a $245,000 Working Capital grant to expand their product lineup, develop product labels, conduct food safety training, hire additional staff, and broaden their distribution routes to reach more customers. The financial cushion from VAPG allowed them to implement fundamental projects that they otherwise would not have been able to fund.  

Thompson Farms, Dixie, GA has received two VAPG Working Capital grants since beginning their operation. In 2010, the family received a $300,000 VAPG grant, which they used to open their on-farm processing facility and control the product quality from start to finish. The funds also cushioned the costs of processing, hiring staff, and purchasing feed.
In 2015, Thompson Farms was awarded another VAPG grant for $250,000, which they used to expand the operation. The funds helped them to hire additional employees from the community, add more variety to their products, develop new product labels and packaging, and launch their on-farm store.  

2020 Master Gardener Volunteer Training

Many farmers have attended the Master Gardener training to improve their skills on crop production techniques. University of Maine Cooperative Extension is accepting applications for the 2020 Master Gardener Volunteers training in Penobscot and Somerset counties. Classes will meet weekly Feb. 25 through May 21, 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m., primarily at the UMaine Extension Penobscot office, 307 Maine Avenue, Bangor. Classes resume for four weeks in September.
Live video conference sites will also be available in East Millinocket and Skowhegan with travel to the Orono area required for three sessions.
Extension horticulture staff will collaborate with experts from around the state on gardening topics including soils, composting, landscape design, vegetables, tree fruits, and small fruits. Participants are expected to contribute 40 hours of volunteer time in educational projects within a year of taking the training. Trainees will be connected with service projects that are best suited for their interests, skill set, schedule and location.
The program fee is $220; limited financial assistance is available. Apply online by Jan. 31 . For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact 207.942.7396  katherine.garland@maine.edu .
Items of Interest
  • The Old Farmer's Almanac is maintaining a listing of free garden seed catalogs and online plant sources.
  • U. S. Hemp Growers Association - is a national non-profit organization that educates hemp growers on the best agricultural practices for planting this crop, provides an information-sharing network, and receives research from academia and other experts.
  • Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) RFP. Deadline March 5th. VAPG program helps agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and marketing of new products. The goals of this program are to generate new products, create and expand marketing opportunities and increase producer income.
  • Maine's Bicentennial is in 2020 and the Bicentennial Commission invites you to become involved in the celebration to honor Maine's 200th year of statehood.
  • Maine Hay Directory - is available to help farmers with hay to sell and farmers looking for hay to buy. Be cautious of hay scams. 
  • Maine Farm Labor Link Network - MDACF to link potential employers with job seekers.
  • Jobs at UMaine Extension:  a number positions throughout the state.
Featured Resources
Maple Business Modules - by UVM - Yield forecasts, price & sales forecasts, multi-year production yields, annual budget and costs, and business plan.

Ag Engineering Pod Cas t audio segments on tools, tips, and techniques to improve the sustainability of your farm by UVM - Episode 1 - Love 'em or Hate 'em - Caterpillar Tunnels experience of Footprint Farm.

Mid-Atlantic Women in Wednesday Webinars - Offered the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. Topics cover all areas of risk management. To see the full listing and to register visit:    http://extension.umd.edu/womeninag/webinars

Weed IPM Webinar Series - January 24 to February 21st, noon to 1 pm - Topics include: why weed IPM counts, introduction to herbicides, non-chemical weed management, tarping & solarization, and biological control of weeds. Sponsor UNH.

Curious or concerned about GMOs? Michigan State University’s GMO website is a regularly updated source for science-based information on GMOs and the genetics, physiology and other aspects related to modern agriculture. Even though genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and genetic engineering (GE) techniques have been around since the 1980s, they are still a source of confusion to many. Oftentimes this confusion is not the result of a lack of understanding of GMOs themselves, but of modern agricultural practices, genetics or physiological processes. 

Online Tools :
The purpose of the Penn State Extension Food Safety Plans for Small-Scale Cheesemakers is to assist small-scale and raw milk cheesemakers in conducting hazard analyses of their processes to ensure they are producing the safest product possible and to meet the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
Lamb Marketing Tools from American Lamb Association. videos on the history and current lamb production, recipes, source of lamb.


Visit UMaine Extension online Publications Catalog for agricultural publications such as:
Upcoming Events
  • January 3, 2010 Community Conversations: Bridging the Climate Change Divide, 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm, The Commons at Central Hall, 152 East Main St., Dover-Foxcroft. Pot Luck, Free. FMI lauriesproul65@gmail.com or pastorsteve@myfairpoint.net.
  • January 7, 2020 Greenhouse Tri-state IPM Variety Show, Longfellow's Greenhouse, Manchester, ME $66 with lunch, $60 without lunch. If you have additional questions about the workshop, please contact Cheryl Frank Sullivan at UVM.
  • January 12, 2020 Advanced Business Planning with Richard Wiswell, 9 am to 4 pm, $100/ $90. MOFGA Education Center, Unity.
  • January 14-16, 2020: State of Maine Agricultural Trades Show, Augusta, ME.
  • January 15, 2020 Maine State Florists and Growers Association Program at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show, There is a fee to attend, contact Katey Campbell 207-756-5553 or campbellsfloraldesign@gmail.com.
  • January 15, 2020 NRCS Local Working Group, 9 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.Dover-Foxcroft Congregational Church, 824 West Main St. Dover-Foxcroft, ME, FMI Lynn Lubas 564-2321
  • January 15-16, 2020 Northeast Pasture Consortium, Lake Morey Resort, Fairlee, VT $75 - $250.
  • January 18, 2020 Downeast Agriculture Conference, (snow date Jan. 25th) 8:30 am to 4:15 pm, Lee/Pellon Center, Machias, Register Online or call 207.581.3175 or 1.800.287.0274 (in Maine).
  • If you would like to have a table at this event and/or contribute a donation contact Lily at lily.calderwood@maine.edu.
  • January 29 & 30 , 2020 In-Service Training for Ag Service Providers, Holiday Inn, Portsmouth, NH FMI Jemison@maine.edu or call 207-581-3241. $170 - $270 registration. CCA and Pesticide Credits available.
  • February 22, 2020 Heart of Maine Dairy Goat Association Winter Education Day, (Snow Date: Feb. 29th) 9 am to noon - Fudge Making Fundraiser and Club meeting. Noon to 2 pm Caterina Ruksznis, DVM Meningeal Worm Talk, $5 members, $10 non-members, lunch included. Sheep, llama and alpaca breeders and other interested folks welcome to attend. Contact Kassi to register: lovemoon@gmail.com or 399-8219 (call or text)
  • February 22, 2020 UMaine Blueberry Conference, 8:30 am to 4:15 pm Hollywood Slots Casino Motel, Bangor, Register Online or call 207.581.3175 or 1.800.287.0274 (in Maine). If you would like to have a table at this event and/or contribute a donation contact Lily at lily.calderwood@maine.edu.
  • March 6, 2020 Growing Hemp in Maine, 8:30 am to 4:45 pm, Jeff's Catering, Brewer (plus two satellite sites). $50/$75 registration fee includes lunch. Registration required. Sponsored by UMaine Extension. FMI Phone:207.581.3878 or 1.800.287.0279 (in Maine) Email: theresa.eldridge@maine.edu
  • March 19, 2020 Selling More Maine Foods Conference, USM Campus Portland. Sponsored by Maine Food Strategy.
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