Volume 8 | December 2019
Northeast Swine Survey
Penn State Extension  and Extension partners at Universities of New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Rhode Island invite you to complete a  survey  about swine production in the north east.
The purpose of this survey is to understand the practices of the swine producers and to identify challenges faced by farmers that can be addressed through education and training. Results of the survey will be used to offer targeted educational outreach and training on topics related to swine production. Click here to take the survey:
Your monthly news & updates
What's New?
  • Eliminate Browntail Moth Caterpillars from Now Until April
  • Using Sheep to Manage Disease in Hops
  • Pesticide Applicator Training - Outdoor Ornamentals
  • Nxlevel Farm Business Training
  • Produce Safety Course - Dec. 6 in Belfast
  • Hemp Meeting and Round Table Event
  • Farming for Wholesale 101
  • 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?

Entomologists from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry are reminding everyone that now is the best time to remove browntail caterpillars from trees. Browntail caterpillars cause a poison ivy-like rash and they are impacting a broad swath of Maine. Contact with this caterpillar's hairs can cause severe reactions for some individuals.
Browntail caterpillars spend the winter webbed in silken wrapped leaves on the tips of hardwood branches, especially oak and fruit trees. Now through mid-April is when to look for the bright white silk tying a few leaves to the tips of oak and fruit tree branches.
If you see a web, clip it out and destroy it by dropping it in a bucket of soapy water and soaking it overnight; do not leave it on the ground. The caterpillars become active as soon as warmer weather arrives, so do this task as soon as possible. It is also important to clip webs before mid-April because of the increased risk of toxic hair exposure.

Survey a public space in your town: If you think you have found webs, but are not sure, contact the Maine Forest Service for help. 
For More Information: Call 211 (or 1-866-811-5695) or text your zip code to 898-211.
Using Sheep to Manage Disease in Hops

As hops production makes a comeback to the Northeast, growers are looking for new ways to manage pests, especially downy mildew (DM), a major hops disease in our temperate climate. With a Northeast SARE Farmer Grant, Krista Delahunty of Aroostock Hops in Westfield, ME assessed three treatments sheep-browsed hopyard, organic herbicide plus fungicide applications, and fungicides only—for their  effectiveness to reduce DM levels in Cascade and Mount Hood hop varieties. Results were mixed; for example, while DM was higher in the sheep-browsed treatment versus fungicide only and the control in Cascade hops, the opposite was true for Mount Hood hops. For their farm, Delahunty concluded that using sheep in the hopyard was an effective management strategy, not only for potential DM control but also for other benefits like weed management, nutrient addition, stripping lower bines, and increased yield potential. 

Source: SARE Final Report from Farmer Grant Program.

December 10, 2019 at Jeff’s Catering & Event Center in Brewer, from 12:00 pm to 4:45 pm, or
December 11, 2019 at Seasons Event and Conference Center in Portland, from 7:30 am to 12:15 pm.
Each offers four recertification credits.
Seating is limited, please register by November 27th. The registration fee on or before Nov. 27th is $40. The nonrefundable registration fee after Nov. 27th is $50. Only cash or check can be accepted at the door.
Light refreshments will be served.

Topics include:
  • Browntail Moth Management
  • Invasive Ornamentals: Management and Alternatives,  
  • BPC Update,  
  • The Risks of Pesticides in the Landscape,  
  • UAVs: Potential for Landscape Pest Management, 
Nxlevel Farm Business Training
Where? At the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Deering Building, located at 90 Blossom Lane off Route 9 in Augusta.
When? 9:00 AM -3:30 PM on December 18, January 8 & 29, February 12 & 26, and March 11. Lunch provided.
Remote participation available. While all six sessions will take place live in Augusta, you can participate in one or all of them remotely via any internet-linked computer. Recordings of each class will also be available to all participants.
Cost is $275 per farm. Up to 2 people from each farm can attend each class.
A la carte registration available too.  Don't want to sign up for all six sessions? You can sign up for just the ones you want to attend as well at cost of $50 per session.

Photo: Erin Roche

Rob Machado and Jason Bolton have been traveling all over Maine offering the one-day Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Act (PSA) training. Over the last two years, they have offered 11 trainings.

They know some farmers and farm staff might still need the training but have not participated.  Most farmers in Maine are not covered by the PSA rule or are at least Qualified Exempt. Nonetheless, UMaine and the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) are making an effort to educate everyone that wants to be trained.

They received funding to highly subsidized the cost of the training. The cost is $25 per participant for this last training. Depending upon demand, they will likely only offer the training once a year, at a cost of around $200 per participant to cover books, certificates, food, and other expenses next year.

The last training is on Dec. 6 (snow date Dec. 13) in Belfast ( Registration link )

Photo: Remsberg
Everything you wanted to know about hemp but were afraid to ask!
The Board of Pesticides Control will be hosting a Hemp Meeting & Round-Table Event on December 13 from 8am-12:30pm at the Deering building in Augusta. This program is approved for four pesticide recertification credits. There is no fee to attend but pre-registration is required.

Gary Fish, State Horticulturist, Rule Changes & How to Get Licensed in Maine
Dr. John Jemison, UMaine Cooperative Extension, Hemp Agronomy
Dr. Kathy Murray, State of Maine Entomologist, Hemp IPM
Mary Tomlinson, Registrar, Pesticide Products Registered for Hemp in Maine
Dr. Pam Bryer, Toxicologist, Review of Hemp-Registered Products in Maine
John Pietroski, Maine Board of Pesticides Control – BPC Update
Round-table Discussion – Gary Fish, John Jemison, Kathy Murray, Mary Tomlinson, Pam Bryer, John Pietroski, and Mary Yurlina

For questions about the event please contact
The Maine Board of Pesticides Control at 287-2731.
Photo: Jemison
Farming for Wholesale 101

Is a program of Maine Farmland Trust (MFT), helps farmers participate in, or scale up for, wholesale markets. The program combines ongoing farm business planning assistance with day-long workshops and grant opportunities. This is the 5th year the program has operated. Farmers can choose from two “tracks”, depending on experience level and farm business goals.
The 101 track is for experienced farmers who currently sell wholesale and want to expand, and for farmers who want to start selling to wholesale markets. Drawing on a panel of business experts from around the state, as well as other growers, participants will uncover the story their financial records are telling them, and develop their ability to talk with potential wholesale buyers about their products. During the program, farmers will participate in 3 day-long workshops, receive up to 20 hours of business planning assistance and receive a $1,000 seed grant upon completion of the program. This year, there are two versions of this workshop series: the Portland cohort, for all producers, and the Creamery cohort, focused on added-value dairy production, in Orono. Register by December 23 rd .

For more information, and to register or apply for these workshops, please visit:  https://www.mainefarmlandtrust.org/workshops/
Questions about the workshops can be directed towards Catherine,  catherine@mainefarmlandtrust.org  or call the MFT office: (207) 338-6575.
Photo: Remsburg
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 U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will mail letters with survey codes this December to more than 22,000 U.S. producers involved in certified or transitioning to certified organic farming for the 2019 Organic Survey. Farmers and ranchers are asked to complete their surveys online via NASS’ secure website.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will also be mailing letters with survey codes to producers involved in horticulture. This census of Horticultural Specialties is the only source of detailed production and sales data for U.S. floriculture, nursery, and specialty crop industries, including greenhouse food crops. Producers are asked to complete their surveys online via NASS’ secure website.
  • With its signature purple skin, yellow flesh, and small size, the Huckleberry Gold potato, co-developed by USDA-ARS, is gaining popularity with consumers and niche markets alike. 
  • Yonder is a new travel booking site dedicated to supporting those in agritourism & ecotourism communities. Yonder features experiences that immerse guests in the ecosystems of the natural world—like farms, ranches, vineyards and other escapes.
  • 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
Whole Farm Management: From Start Up to Sustainability - Operating a farm business requires managing dreams, crops, people, markets, money, and reality. Whole Farm Management: From Start Up to Sustainability (published by Storey) provides guidance for starting, nurturing, and maintaining a farm business. Drawing on the experience and insights of 12 contributing authors and 16 farmers from across North America, the book offers a holistic approach to farm management for small and medium size farms that use sustainable and organic methods, and sell their products through local and regional markets. Authors and farmers are associated with the Center for Small Farms & Community Food Systems at Oregon State University, Oregon Tilth, Inc., and small organic farms. Available wherever you buy books.

Why is Maine’s reuse economy so vibrant? - The Maine Question from UMaine, Orono.

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

Website :
I nternal Parasites of Chickens,(pdf) from UNH. Includes parasite treatment, prevention and control with table of suggested medications.
The Healthy Farms Healthy Agriculture website is supported by the  Animal Disease Biosecurity Coordinated Agricultural Project (ADBCAP) Use this website as a guide and source of current information on how to make biosecurity a routine on the farm, in the backyard, and anywhere farm animals are raised.

Savannah Institute and NCSARE published a number of Key Perennial Crops (pdf) including: Cider Apples, Aronia, Black Current, Black Walnut, Chinese Chestnuts, Hazelnuts, Saskatoon, Service Berry, June Berry, Asian Pear, Elderberry, Honeyberry, Haskap, Northern Pecan, Pawpaw.

Visit UMaine Extension online Publications Catalog for agricultural publications such as:
Upcoming Events
  • December 5, 2019 Kitchen Licensing Workshop, 10 am to 4 pm, Common Ground Education Center, MOFGA, Unity. $35/$50 includes lunch. With Dr. Beth Calder, UMaine Extension.
  • December 6, 2019 Pre-conference Cattle Handling Facilities, and BBQ in the Garland Area . afternoon and evening.
  • December 7, 2019 Cattlemen's College, Penobscot County Extension Office, 307 Maine Ave. (by the airport) Bangor ME. 8 am to 3 pm. How to build a cheap scale for small scale beef farms. More information later.
  • December 10, 2019 Pesticide Applicator Training - Outdoor Ornamentals (category 3A) at Jeff’s Catering & Event Center in Brewer, from 12:00 pm to 4:45 pm, $40 before November 27th.
  • December 10-12, 2019: New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference, Manchester, NH.
  • December 11, 2019 NRCS Local Working Group, 10 a.m.USDA Service Center, 1423 Broadway Bangor, ME FMI Amy Polyot 947-6622.
  • December 13, 2019 MBP Hemp Meeting and Round Table, 8 am to 12:30 pm, Deering Building, Augusta, 4 pesticide credits. Program is free, but you must register. Click here for more information and to register.
  • December 16, 2020 Farm Labor Roundtable, 5 to 8 pm, Merrymeeting Meeting Hall 33 Main St., Bowdoinham. Free event, registration required. Merrymeeting Food Council
  • December 18, 2019 Nxlevel Business Planning Training for Farmers, Maine Dept of Ag, Conservation and Forestry, Augusta.
  • December 18, 2019 Dairy Forage Conference, 9:30 am to 3:30 pm, focused on growing corn silage in a changing climate. Governor's Restaurant, Waterville. Sponsored by UMaine Extension. Cost $25 and includes lunch.
  • December 23, 2019 Deadline for Farming for Wholesale 101, Maine Farmland Trust.
  • 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 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 18, 2020 Downeast Agriculture Conference, 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.
  • 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 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