Volume 8 | June 2019
Hemp Growers Survey - Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry are developing a plan to allow indoor growing (greenhouse or building) of industrial hemp, but would like to establish how much grower interest exists first.
Shared Use Equipment Survey - MOFGA Do you have equipment you constantly search for on craigslist but haven’t committed to buying? Do you rent equipment? When you were starting your farm do you wish there were affordable options for tool and equipment rental?
Your monthly news & updates
What's New?
  • Shaw Road Farm
  • Low Stress Cattle Handling Workshop and Pasture Walk - July 20
  • New Services Available Through the UMaine Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab
  • Maine Farms for the Future Program Grants
  • Christmas Tree Checkoff for Promotion and Research to Continue
  • Service Animals on U-Pick Farms
  • Women Caring for the Land - 2019 Summer Soil Health Meetings
  • Tractor Safety and Operations 101 Workshop
  • GPS Cows
  • Items of Interest
  • Featured Resources
  • Upcoming Events
  • Newsletter Subscription Information
  • Mission and Quick Links
  • Local Weather Anytime - Need Pesticide Credits?
Shaw Road Farm

“There is a fundamental difference between cows and screwdrivers. Cows feel pain and screwdrivers do not”. “Animals are not things”. These words from Temple Grandin resonated with me, and really guided my focus as I started taking over my father’s cattle farm. 
The question I have to ask myself is, if I am going to commit to raising these animals, how can I change our farming practices in a way to reduce the stress and overall “pain” of the animals under my care. Every animal has a basic fundamental right to life in an environment which is as comfortable as possible, and if my charge is to care for a herd, then it is my duty to provide such an environment. 
I must provide high quality feed, abundant access to water, adequate space, and a low or no stress living space. Understandably someone could identify flaws in my thinking because I am ultimately raising these
animals to kill them, but it is how I tend to them while they are alive that is the focus of the Low Stress Cattle Handling workshop on July 20th.
    We also have a duty to our customers. We are providing sustenance to people and my integrity is at stake if I do not provide the highest quality food I possibly can. Reduction of stress is a key component to superior quality beef. 
Increased stress triggers adrenaline and an increase in the pH or acidity of the meat. The adrenaline prepares the muscles of the animal for quick action which changes the tenderness and flavor of the meat. 
There are two types of stress which must be managed. The long term stress of the animal’s living conditions, and the short term stress of the moving, separating, and loading of the cattle. Both can be effectively managed to provide the herd with superior environments, and the customers with superior food.

Ben Cookson, Shaw Road Farm
Low Stress Cattle Handling Workshop and Pasture Walk
Saturday, July 20th
Noon to 3 pm
Shaw Road
Free lunch included.

Attendees will hear a presentation on reducing stress in cattle by Colt Knight, UMaine Extension Livestock Specialist with a live demonstration of Shaw Road Farm’s practices of separating three beef animals from a herd of approximately 50. 
Also, the Cookson's will discuss they have changed their practices to more effectively reduce long term and immediate stress on the herd.
Also, attendees will have an opportunity to see Shaw Road Farm’s mob grazing pasture management system and water delivery system with a pasture walk.
If interested in attending contact Colt.Knight@maine.edu.
plant disease
New Services Available from the UMaine Plant Disease Diagnostics Lab

All general plant samples have no charge associated with them but the below services are for a fee. Click here for forms and more information about submitting general plant samples for disease identification. If you have any questions regarding any of these services, please contact lab director Alicyn Smart alicyn.smart@maine.edu  or call (207) 581-3191.

Garlic Bloat nematode testing has transitioned from Steve Johnson’s lab to my lab. All the same testing being done just a different location and the cost has increased to $20 for in-state testing and $50 for out-of-state. The submission form for this testing has been merged with the general Plant Disease Submission Form. The reason for the cost increase is to be more in line with other state testing fees.
Plant Disease Identification Box – This product and service was designed to better aid those who cannot send plant material to the lab either due to limited plant material or due to federal law regulations. In this box are all the lab materials that are needed to culture plant tissue for disease identification. The client is required to speak with me before purchasing the box to make sure the symptoms are conducive with a disease, to determine the correct plant material to use (leaves, roots, etc.) and to ensure the correct media is being provided for suspected disease. After incubation of about five days, the client takes out all plant material from the agar plates and mails them to the lab for a diagnosis. The cost of the box is $125, which includes shipping cost. A link for more information on the box is here.
Coming soon!  PCR tests which include Phytoplasma (very excited about this one so if you think you see anything funky let me know!), bacteria, fire blight and a few other fungal pathogens will be available for testing in the next couple of months. This will cost $50 for PCR and $75 for PCR & sequencing. The general plant form will be updated again when these come online.
Maine Farms for the Future Program Grants

Phase 1 – Business Plan Development grants and
Phase 2 – Investment Support grant and low-interest rate for Agricultural Marketing Loan Fund (AMLF)

The State of Maine, Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Bureau of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources, is required to offer grants for business plan development (Phase 1) and investment support (Phase 2) as authorized in the Maine Farms for the Future Program (Title7, MRS Chapter 10-B).

For the current 2019 application, and beyond, the RFP, current applications, and Question; Answer Summary and all revisions / amendments related to this RFP can be obtained here.

Applications must be submitted to the State of Maine Division of Procurement Services, via e- mail, to the following email address:  Proposals@maine.gov .

Application submissions must be received no later than 4:00 pm, local time, on  Monday, June 24th, 2019, when they will be opened. Future applications may be submitted per the semi-annual submission deadlines.

Also see:
Christmas trees growing in a field

The Christmas Tree R&P Program operates as the Christmas Tree Promotion Board. The purpose of the program is to expand the market and uses of fresh-cut Christmas trees. An assessment on producers and importers of fresh cut Christmas trees finances the program, which is administered by the Christmas Tree Promotion Board, under AMS oversight. The initial assessment rate is $0.15 per Christmas tree cut and sold domestically or imported into the United States. Entities that produce or import fewer than 500 Christmas trees annually are exempt, as well as organic producers.

The Produce Safety Rule (PSR) under the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act contains regulations for growers on the management of wildlife, working animals, and domesticated animals on farms that grow fresh produce. The PSR requires that if domesticated animals are allowed on the farm, their feces must be controlled to prevent the contamination of produce (FDA, 2015). For this reason, many growers exclude domesticated animals from their farms. However, when portions of the farm are open to the public, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects the rights of individuals with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal. This protection extends to individuals participating in activities or obtaining goods at U-pick operations, roadside food stands, and on-site restaurants.

The ADA further stresses that the animal must meet several requirements, including: 
a) the individual accompanied by the animal must have the disability for which the animal is trained to assist, and 
b) the animal must be under complete control of the individual at all times, either by leash or tether, or in the event that such methods interfere with the
animal’s ability to serve its purpose, must be under
voice, signal, or other means of control.

July 9 College of the Atlantic - Bar Harbor
July 10 Viles Arboretum - Augusta
July 11 Hall's Christmas Tree Farm - Sangerville
8:30 am to 3 pm

(Free lunch and field tour included)

Are you a female landowner who wants to learn about the best natural resources management of your farmland? Join us for a free women landowners meeting this summer, meet with female conservationists, and discuss how your local professionals from USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service can assist you with soil health and conservation planning.

Sponsored by NRCS, SWCD, UMaine Extension and Women Food & Ag Network.

Any female landowner is welcome's to attend.
For more information and registration  Women Food & Ag Network
Tractor Safety & Operations 101 Workshop

On Tuesday July 30th, 2019 from 5:30-8:30pm Rick Kersbergen from University of Maine Cooperative Extension will be teaming up with Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District (PCSWCD) to offer a Tractor Safety & Operations 101 Workshop. We wanted to offer the opportunity for local farmers in Piscataquis County and all adults (18+) who wish to learn the basics or have a refresher on how to safely operate farm equipment in this introduction course.
Rick will be joining PCSWCD at the Law Farm located on Lee Cemetery Rd. in Dover-Foxcroft where we will go over the basics of learning how to handle tractors and equipment safely, how to identify hazards, and how to minimize the chances of accidents. There will be no driving time but a chance to ask questions and learn the tips and safety tricks of safely operating or learning more about a tractor. Registration is required and spots are limited for this event with reservations at $20 per person. 
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

Items of Interest
Featured Resources

  • Hosting a coop tour, eXtension.org. June 13th at 3pm. With many areas with increased interest in backyard flocks, some groups have been organizing a 'Tour de coops' to let people know what is involved in having a backyard flock. It is not as easy as it sounds. There are a lot of things to consider. Dr. Mickey Hall from Clemson University will be discussing some of the things to consider when hosting a coop tour.
  • Helping Customers Find You - One out of five internet searches is related to location. An accurate internet listing is one of the easiest ways to keep your business visible online. This session will focus on resources and tips to help your customer find you. It will include internet searches, web registries and other online/social marketing outlets.

Visit UMaine Extension online Publications Catalog for agricultural publications such as:

Upcoming Events
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