Volume 8 | August 2019
Media Survey -
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension Piscataquis County Office wants to make it easy and convenient for people to get the information they want quickly and through the preferred method by surveying users and potential users. You can help by completing the survey online  at http://bit.ly/UMaineSurvey
Your monthly news & updates
What's New?
  • Low Stress Cattle Handling Workshop and Pasture Walk - Great turnout on a very hot day.
  • Swine 101- Introduction to Producing Pasture Pork - Aug 9 to Aug 24 various locations
  • Educate-2-Cultivate Veteran Farmers Symposium
  • 2019-2020 New England Vegetable Management Guide
  • New Local Food Procurement Listening Session
  • Climate Impacts on Maine Wild Blueberry Farms: Interview with David Yarborough, PhD
  • High Tunnels for Specialty Crops:Hope or Hinderance
  • Garlic on broccoli: Smelly way to repel major pests
  • Results of the Statewide Farmer Needs and Priorities Assessment
  • Items of Interest
  • Featured Resources
  • Upcoming Events
  • Newsletter Subscription Information
  • Mission and Quick Links
  • Local Weather Anytime - Need Pesticide Credits?
Low Stress Cattle Handling Workshop and Pasture Walk
We had a great turnout for the Low Stress Cattle Handling and Pasture Walk at Ben and Fred Cookson's farm, Shaw Road Farm last Saturday. Colt Knight, Extension Livestock Specialist and the Cookson's talked about how to reduce stress on cattle using Temple Grandin's principles.
Also, the Cookson's utilize mob grazing and move their cattle into different paddocks each day to maintain productivity of the pasture. The heat didn't keep people away. The Cookson's prepared a wonderful beef brisket and hamburg lunch that was delicious.
Thank you all for coming. And a Big Thank You to the Cookson's for hosting!
Swine 101 – Introduction to Producing Pastured Pork

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension is excited to announce a FREE series entitled Swine 101 – Raising Pastured Pork.

This seminar will be held in multiple locations across the state, and a meal will be provided.

Join Dr. Colt W. Knight, University of Maine Cooperative Extension State Livestock Specialist, for a 2 hour primer on raising pastured pork.

Topics include: Breed Selection, basic reproductive information, swine nutrition, fencing, housing, meat yield, and more.

Meal – Smoked pork chops.
UMaine Berkshire pigs in pasture

Swine 101 – Introduction to producing pastured pork Dates / Locations / contact to register:

Friday, August 9, 2019. 11:00AM-1:00PM, Androscoggin and Sagadahoc Extension Office, 24 Main St. Lisbon Falls, ME 04252 Contact – Tori Jackson 353-5550

Monday, August 12, 2019. 11:00AM-1:00PM, Knox-Lincoln Extension Office, 377 Manktown Rd.  Waldoboro, ME 04572 Contact – Mark Hutchinson 832-0343

Tent. Wednesday, August 14, 2019. 11:00AM-1:00PM, Hancock County Extension Office, 63 Boggy Brook Rd, Ellsworth, ME 04605 Contact – Marjorie Peronto 667-8212

Saturday, August 24, 2019. Noon-2:00PM, Aroostook County Extension Office in Presque Isle, 57 Houlton Rd. Presque Isle, ME 04769, Contact – Linda Trickey 532-6548
Educate-2-Cultivate Veteran Farmers Symposium
Saturday, 26 October at the Augusta Armory

Please pass the word to veterans interested in farming/gardening. Every veteran will have a dedicated one-on-one session with a business mentor in the morning, plus a financial management workshop, a locally-sourced lunch, an afternoon filled with assistive technology and mind/body workshops, and throughout the day there will be a veteran-specific resource fair. Lots of great opportunities to network with other veteran farmers and learn about how to make your farming efforts more successful.

Please feel free to forward this email to interested parties - veteran participants and interested resource fair participants. Space is limited, so sign up early!

Contact Anne Devin if you have any questions.
Anne Devin
Farmer Veteran Maine AgrAbility Coordinator
cell 207-991-2651
office 207-342-5971 ext.1015
toll free in Maine 800-287-1426

2019-2020 New England Vegetable Management Guide  

The guide is designed for commercial growers, and contains the latest information on management control options for the major small fruit pests as well as scouting information.
Cost is $15.00. To order the guide, send check made payable to  UMaine Cooperative Extension to: Highmoor Farm, P.O. Box 179, Monmouth, ME 04259, atten. Pam St. Peter. For more information, contact Pam St. Peter at 207.933.2100 or  pamela.stpeter@maine.edu .
Members of the Maine Vegetable & Small Fruit Growers Association (MVSFGA) or the New England Vegetable & Berry Growers Association receive free copies of the guides.
New Local Food Procurement Law LD 1584 Listening Sessions
The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry is launching a new program to help institutions source more food locally. As a first step in that process, the Department is holding a series of listening sessions across the state to learn from institutional buyers, food service staff, distributors, farmers, food producers and others.

Although this new law applies exclusively to state-funded institutions, the Department expects that the resources that develop from it will help farmers and distributors of local food increase their sales to private institutions, schools, and other large buyers.

The next listening session will be held at the Augusta Civic Center on Wednesday, August 7th from 10:30-12:30 then August 21st at USM. Food producers, farmers, buyers, wholesalers, distributors, or food service professionals who would like to attend should contact Sylvie Boisvert at  sylvie.boisvert@maine.gov  for more information.
Climate Impacts on Maine Wild Blueberry Farms: Interview with David Yarborough, PhD
Sonja Birthisel & Erin Roche
To better understand the impacts of climate change on blueberry farms, we asked UMaine Cooperative Extension’s David Yarborough* to reflect on his 40 years of experience advising Maine growers.
David has noticed changes in weather patterns during his career, including “both an earlier spring and a later fall” leading to a longer growing season, “more erratic frosts and freezes,” and the drought-inducing combination of “higher summer temperatures and less summer precipitation.” David suggests that emerging management issues related to these changes include the need for irrigation in crop fields, and new diseases and insect pests that can impact blueberry yields. Additionally, in relation to human health he notes that “ticks have also spread into wild blueberry fields and diseases they vector such as Lyme can cause serious diseases.” You can read David’s full interview at: https://umaine.edu/climate-ag/projects/specialist-interview-with-david-yarborough/
This is part two in a series of Specialist Interviews the Maine Climate and Agriculture Network (MECAN) is collecting in order to share perspectives on climate change from different agricultural sectors in Maine. You can find out more about MECAN on our website,  https://umaine.edu/climate-ag/.
*David retired from Cooperative Extension in the Spring of 2019. 

A study out of Indiana and Purdue Universities sought to gain a better understanding, from the perspective of farmers, of the challenges and advantageous opportunities associated with using high tunnels for specialty crops in Indiana.

High tunnels are an increasingly popular part of the infrastructure among small and diversified farms that market their products directly to consumers. In addition to extending the growing season, research has strongly indicated that high tunnels can increase yield, enhance shelf life, and improve the quality of crops grown.

Initial observations into the use of high tunnels revealed that the additional labor and time requirements of high tunnel production, the increased complexity of transforming farming habits to high tunnel usage, soil fertility and management considerations, disease management, and limited winter markets all comprise the greatest challenges facing farmers adopting this technique.

One of the more commonly mentioned challenges described by participating farmers was the added difficulty with keeping up with the time and labor required to manage their high tunnels. The researchers determined that one reason why high tunnel crops are more labor-intensive for farmers is because high tunnel planting and harvesting schedules are substantially different from what farmers are familiar with and require schedules that are separate from those of their vegetable crops growing in the uncovered portions of their fields.
A headless broccoli plant that has been impacted by swede midge. In areas where the midge has become well established, the midge can cause 100 percent crop losses.Insect Agroegology and Evolution Lab / University of Vermont

New UVM study offers a novel framework to test strategies for managing invasive pests

Agricultural insect pests seek out familiar scents to find their plant hosts. However, they can also be repelled by odors from other plant species.

A new study from the University of Vermont published in  Scientific Reports  offers a novel framework for exploiting plant odors to repel insect pests. The study is the first to show how the similarity of plant odors and phylogenetic relatedness can predict insect repellency.

Researchers hypothesized that oils from plants that are more distantly related to brassicas would have more diverse odors and be more repellent. Comparing the chemical structures of the odors might hold clues for predicting repellency, they thought.

To test the theory, the researchers observed how female midges behaved when presented with broccoli plants that had been sprayed with each of the essential oils. In general, oils from plants that were more distantly related from brassicas on the plant family tree were more likely to repel the midge.

They also found that odors that were more chemically different were also more likely to be repellent. However, the oil that was most repellent – spearmint – actually had odors more similar to the brassica crop.

Photo: Insect Agroegology and Evolution Lab / University of Vermont
... a report developed by consultant Ellen Skakalski. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas, and for your patience while the report was being prepared.

Please feel free to email maineagneeds@gmail.com if you have suggestions for opportunities to share these findings.

The data contained in this report are the direct feedback of participants engaged in a statewide outreach process carried out between August 2018 and January 2019 that was designed to gather input on the needs and priorities of Maine farmers. The framework of those discussions and this report was organized in accordance with the 2013 Strategic Plan of the Agricultural Council of Maine (AGCOM).

Information in the report is strictly data with minimal interpretation. The next step in this initiative is for industry representatives to review the report, to identify themes that are representative of and broadly applicable to Maine’s diverse farming community, and to prioritize action items relevant to economic sustainability. Once identified, these unifying themes can serve as the basis for further program and policy development work that benefits Maine farms and businesses.

Thank you for your time and participation!

-The Farmer Engagement Planning Cohort

Items of Interest
  • Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets is celebrating the fourth annual Maine Farmers’ Market Snapshot Week, August 4-10, to coincide with National Farmers’ Market Week. Markets around the state participate in this week-long celebration by hosting special events, highlighting the unique character of their markets, and giving away special gifts to shoppers. This year, there will be a statewide photo contest for market shoppers (details are available online: http://www.mainefarmersmarkets.org/snapshot-week-photo-competition/). 
  • National Sheep Industry Improvement Grants The NSIIC is accepting proposals for grants to improve the U.S. sheep industry. Projects must accomplish one or more of the following objectives: increase numbers in production, integrate performance and production data, provide leadership training and education, improve infrastructure of the U.S. sheep industry, promote lamb marketing, and/or seek mutual understanding and marketing within the international industry community. Proposals will be accepted through September 15, 2019.
  • Landowners encouraged to apply for new NRCS-Maine pollinator initiative. Maine is home to 278 different species of native bees, and the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is encouraging landowners to help conserve these important species! Now is the time to act to conserve these important species! NRCS State Conservationist Juan Hernandez has set aside $80,000 of NRCS financial assistance funds to support pollinator conservation in 2020. Applications are accepted on a continuous basis, however to apply for funding consideration in FY 2020, visit your local NRCS Field Office and submit an application by Aug. 16, 2019!
  • Health Insurance: Western Maine Community Action, Healthcare Navigators aim is to help people learn about health insurance options & apply for coverage through the Affordable Care Act marketplace. Often, there are tax credits available to help people access plans with lower premiums and other out-of-pocket costs, and our services are free of charge. We often work with self-employed people, like farmers, and those who are employed by small businesses (including farms.) Phone: (207)344-3317 ext. 7718
  • Facebook enforcing commerce policy for buy/ sell groups. "Selling animals isn't allowed on Marketplace or buy and sell groups. This includes posting about animals for adoption. Keep in mind that it's okay to create a News Feed post or an ad about selling an animal." Source: Facebook.
  • MeWe is a new social media platform that some members of the Maine livestock buy/sell Facebook groups have joined since livestock sales are acceptable.
  • USDA Terminal Market Reports for specialty crops.
  • MOFGA Price Reports
  • 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
Cultivator Adjustments - Organic Weed Control: The row crop cultivator’s basic job is to cut or uproot the weeds between rows, and throw soil to cover up the in-row weeds that can’t be cut or uprooted. But, depending on plant, weed, soil and weather conditions, that job can get pretty tricky. In this video, hear from several PFI (Practical Farmers of Iowa) farmers on how they adjust their cultivators to get the job done.
How Trees Secretly Talk to Each Other by National Geographic. A look at how mycorrhizal fungi interact with roots in the soil.
How to Start a Farm on Limited Acres . This Webinar gives basic information on setting up a homestead to raise milk and meat. There are multiple ideas and comparisons for fences, shelters and other equipment as well as ideas for growth. There’s insight on variations of care and equipment. American Sheep Industry Association.

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

Upcoming Events
  • August 7, 2019 New Food Procurement Law LD 1584 listening session, Augusta Civic Center on from 10:30-12:30. Food producers, farmers, buyers, wholesalers, distributors, or food service professionals who would like to attend should contact Sylvie Boisvert at sylvie.boisvert@maine.gov for more information.
  • August 21-22: Maine Farm Days, Misty Meadows Farm, Clinton, ME. 4-hours of pesticide recertification credits each day. Free admission.
  • August 23, 2019 Livestock Clinic, 8:30 am to 4 PM, Northern Maine Fairgrounds. Colt Knight, Gary Anderson, and Linda Trickey, from UMaine Extension, Seth Jones, NRCS. $25 includes lunch (some scholarships available). Sponsored by Central Aroostook Soil and Water Conservation District. To register call Randy Martin 760-4602 or 551-3687.
  • August 28, 2019 Land Tenure, 5 p.m. at Dickey Hill Farm, Monroe, Sponsored by MOFGA Farmer in Training. Finding a place to farm can be a huge challenge. Whether you’re working as a farm hand, manager or apprentice it is never too soon to consider your options. Join Noami and James of Dickey Hill Farm and Abby Sadauckas, Field Agent for Land For Good to get a better idea of how to start thinking about your future farm, the land base you’ll need and the variety of ways to achieve your farm dream.
  • September 4, 2019 Next Steps: Apprentice to Journeyperson, 5 p.m. at Apple Creek Farm, Bowdoinham. Sponsored by MOFGA Farmer in Training. Join Abby and Jake of Apple Creek Farm as they share their insights and enthusiasm about how they market their livestock products year-round and utilize a mix of owned and leased acreage to support their growing farm business. Potluck to follow.
  • September 12, 2019 Northeast Mechanical Weed Control Expo, 9 am to 4 pm, Rogers Farm, Supported by grants from USDA-NIFA Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREO) and the Northeastern IPM Center.
  • October 4, 2019 Maine Farm to School Conference, Kennebec Valley Community College, Alfond Campus in Hinkley.
  • December 10-12: New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference, Manchester, NH.
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