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MOFGA’s Farmer to Farmer Conference

Save the date!

November 4-6, 2016


About The ConferenceSession DetailsRegistrationAccommodationsScholarships

MOFGA’s Farmer to Farmer Conference …

  • Is known for its intimacy, in-depth treatment of topics, and amazing discussions.
  • Is based on the idea that farmers learn best from their peers and other practitioners.
  • Features prominent and accessible university faculty, extension educators, and other agricultural professionals.
  • Features a unique 3-hour workshop session format, in which one half is dedicated to talks by both agricultural service professionals and farmers, and the other to a round table discussion intended to solicit and capitalize on the accumulated knowledge of all the farmers in attendance.
  • Serves delicious meals featuring local, organic food.
  • Is a rare and wonderful opportunity to get off the farm and catch up with fellow farmers.

Learn a lot, eat well, share your expertise,
make new friends and reconnect with old ones at the
2016 MOFGA Farmer to Farmer Conference!

2016 Keynote Address:
Vern Grubinger on
The Legacy of Organic Agriculture




First Conference Night Dinner (on your own)

Suggested Locations



Alexia's Pizza $$
93 Main Street - 338-9676

Belfast Co-op Deli & Cafe $$
123 High Street - 338-2532

Darby's $$
155 High Street - 338-2339

Delvino's Pasta House $$
53 Main Street - 338-4565

Front Street Grill $$
37 Front Street - 338-8900

La Vida $
132 High Street - 338-2211

Ming's $$
185 Searsport Avenue - 338-2216

Rollie's Bar and Grill $
37 Main Street - 338-4502

Scallions Food For Life $$
1 Belmont Ave - 338-1414

The Gothic $$
108 Main Street - 338-GOTH

The Weathervane $
3 Main Street - 338-1774

Three Tides $$$
2 Pinchey Lane - 338-1707

Young's Lobster Pound $$
4 Mitchell Avenue - 338-1160



Cappy's Chowder House $$
1 Main Street - 236-2254

Francine Bistro $$
55 Chestnut Street - 230-0083‎

Fresh $$
1 Bay View Street - 236-7005 

Hartstone Inn $$$
41 Elm Street - 236-4259‎

Long Grain $$
31 Elm Street - 236-9001

Peter Ott's $$
16 Bay View Street - 236-4032‎

Waterfront $$
40 Bay View Street # 11 - 236-3747


The Beach Store $
2520 Atlantic Highway (Rte. 1) - 789-5199

The Lobster Pound $$
2521 Atlantic Highway (Rte. 1) - 789-5550

The Whale's Tooth Pub $$
2531 Atlantic Highway (Rte. 1) - 789-5200


Shepherd's Pie $$$
18 Central Street - 236-8500


The Legacy of Organic Agriculture

Check our 2015 schedule below to see the range of topics offered at the conference!

Session Descriptions: Saturday Morning | Saturday Afternoon | Sunday Morning | Sunday Afternoon

2016 Keynote Address
Vern Grubinger speaking on
The Legacy of Organic Agriculture

Vern's career has spanned the blossoming of organic farming. Over the past 30 years he has seen how organic practices and principles have had a positive effect on economic, environmental and social aspects of our food system. Until about a generation ago, the organic movement was on the fringe, seemingly populated by hippies, health enthusiasts, and a few forward thinking academics. The 1980s and '90s saw the mainstreaming (some would say co-opting) of organic in the marketplace. Since that time organic farming, from the local to the global scale, has shown remarkable economic growth, which continues to this day. The environmental influence of organic agriculture has also been profound, nurturing awareness and enthusiasm for soil health, grass-fed livestock, cultural pest control methods, pollinator protection etc. The social tradition of organic farming has provided models that are equally important: farmers exploring new ideas and learning from one another, local certification groups hashing out difficult decisions, and producers espousing a passion for their businesses as well as stewardship. To Vern, the legacy of organic farming is an enduring aspiration: to make a living while caring as best we can for the land, our crops and animals, and our communities – while recognizing we don't know all the answers. To succeed we must be respectful manipulators of nature, economies, and culture. Creative, observant, and patient while joyful for the opportunity to produce healthy food. What an excellent legacy to strive to fulfill.

2016 Keynote Address:
Vern Grubinger




Our 2015 Schedule

SATURDAY MORNING – 9:15 am-12:15 pm

Nut Trees
Will Bonsall, Khadighar Farm
Eric Evans, Maine Chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation

America chestnuts were an important food source for people and wildlife throughout Appalachia from southern Maine to Georgia, until the chestnut forests were wiped out by a fungus pathogen accidentally imported with Asian chestnut trees in the late 1800s. Eric Evans of the Maine Chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation will have lots of chestnuts for folks to taste, freshly harvested from some of Maine’s few remaining native American chestnut trees, and from some of the breeding orchards of the foundation. He will discuss the breeding program, which is on track to begin producing potentially disease-resistant American chestnuts for restoration plantings in Maine in the 2020s. Growing American hazelnuts in Maine is easy enough, although beating the squirrels and bluejays to them is a bit of a challenge. Processing them (hushing and cracking and separating them) is another. Marketing them as a high-end gourmet nut butter is probably the best strategy. Will Bonsall of Khadighar Farm will discuss all of these. Tools for planning out a nut orchard (items to consider based on goals/objectives) will also be covered as well as some information on the Northern Nut Growers Association (and why everyone should join).

Structural Design for Harvest Efficiencies
Sandy and Paul Arnold, Pleasant Valley Farm
Jason Kafka, Checkerberry Farm

Come to this session to learn how two farms maximize their efficiencies for harvest techniques and post-harvest handling to increase farm profits. Sandy and Paul Arnold, from Pleasant Valley Farm in New York, will talk about how they keep their labor expense under control and grow quality crops by utilizing efficient systems and equipment, as well as team employee procedures. Production techniques of many of their diverse crops, their new wash and pack area, and the specialized storage facilities will be highlighted. Jason Kafka, from Checkerberry Farm in Maine, will provide a season long perspective and overview of Checkerberry Farm systems and efficiencies from planting to harvest. He will focus on the idea of “mise en place” on the farm, or the set-up, arrangement and organization of the “ingredients” necessary to run an efficient and effective farm business.

Relational Skills
Polly Shyka and Prentice Grassi, Villageside Farm
Relationships are all around us. Farmers Polly Shyka and Prentice Grassi believe resilient farms must have at their center resilient and responsive human systems. While financial fluency and production know-how are certainly vital to operating and sustaining a successful farm business, an often overlooked skillset of relationship skills is the topic of this F2F session. Polly and Prentice will talk about how paying attention to and building skills in communication and leadership have paid off for their farm business – and more importantly, their relationship, family and community. This session will be lively, participatory and proactive.

Integrating Livestock, Crops and Perennials
Anna Shapley-Quinn, Seth Yentes, Tyler Yentes and Elsie Gawler, North Branch Farm
Jody Bolluyt, Roxbury Farm

Come learn about North Branch and Roxbury Farm’s experiences with integrating livestock into veggie production. North Branch has integrated dairy cows, beef cows , and pork to their veggie operation and Roxbury has pigs, sheep, and beef cattle that are a part of their farm. Come learn about the systems these farms are using including what synergies and limitations they have experienced.

The Roots of Soil Husbandry
Will Brinton, Woods End Laboratories
Eric Sideman, MOFGA’s organic crop specialist

Will Brinton of Woods End Laboratory will focus on soil-health and ways to augment it. Microbial activity and the organic matter that supports it is at the root of management of soil. Dr. Brinton will talk about the biology of the microbes, the way they cycle nutrients and carbon, and how farmer practices such as fertilizing, green manuring and tillage impact the system. Eric Sideman, MOFGA’s crop specialist, will focus on the farms that he has seen in the 25+ years he has worked for MOFGA, and note the farmer practices that build better soil by serving the microbes in the system. Dr. Sideman will describe a bunch of his favorite farms and what is behind them.

Labor I: Hiring, Training and Managing Your Crew
Jim Crawford, New Morning Farm
Laura Fisher, Farm Commons
Daniel Mays, Frith Farm

In our New Morning Farm’s 43 years of direct-market vegetable farming they’ve found that the most critical factors in profitability are the quality of the crew, and the management of labor. Jim will describe several of the techniques we have developed for recruiting the best people and then helping them to form a team that is professional, efficient, motivated, and happy to work together. He can also share a few ideas on day-to-day management of crew time, with the goal of accomplishing multiple tasks with minimum stress. Laura Fisher from Farm Commons will discuss how to merge your legal obligations with best management practices for working with employees, interns, and informal workers in this workshop. Daniel Mays from Frith Farm will share his methods for attracting, training and managing a happy and hard-working crew.

Overwintered Onions
Nate Drummond, Six River Farm
Becky Sideman, UNH vegetable specialist

Fall planted onions offer growers in Maine the opportunity to harvest a fresh onion crop in the late spring, when market demand is high and insect and disease pressure is low. The trick is... getting them to survive the winter. Becky Sideman will discuss her research at UNH on different production systems, varieties and corresponding yields for overwintered onions. Nate Drummond will speak about growing overwintered onions and scallions at Six River Farm in Bowdoinham. He will discuss planting dates, varieties, and strategies for winter protection, both in tunnels and in the field.

Direct Sales Avenues Are Not All the Same: How to Choose Those that Best Fit You
Christa Bahner, Bahner Farm
Jack McAdam, McDougal Orchards
Hanne Tierney, Cornerstone Farm

Explore the advantages and challenges of different approaches to direct sales, and learn how to play to your farm’s strengths to maximize efficiency and rewards.

Mechanical Weed Control Throughout the Season
Jim Gerritsen, Wood Prairie Farm
Keena Tracy, Little Ridge Farm

Mechanical weed control – or weeding by machine – can dramatically cut down the time needed to control weeds by hand. With the right tools and the right timing, witness the streamlining of your weeding program and see a big improvement in the profitability of your organic production.


SATURDAY AFTERNOON – 2:30 pm-5:30 pm

How and Why to Use Green Manures and Cover Crops
Sandy and Paul Arnold, Pleasant Valley Farm
Dave Colson, New Leaf Farm/MOFGA
Paul Schultz, King Hill Farm

Green manures and cover crops are widely recognized to provide advantages in a crop rotation. Biomass, mulch supply, weed seed reduction, disease reduction and soil erosion control are some of the possible benefits. How do you balance these benefits with the need for crop production income, especially if you’re limited in your land base? Join Paul Schultz of King Hill Farm, Paul and Sandy Arnold of Pleasant Valley Farm and Dave Colson of New Leaf Farm for a panel discussion of their green manure and cover cropping strategies. Each presenter will share what they use for green manures and cover crops and why as well as how they make decisions about cover crops and crop rotation on the farm.

Permaculture and Perennials as Farm Design Tools
Bill and Lauren Errickson, Singing Nettle Farm
Aaron Parker, Edgewood Nursery

Using Singing Nettle Farm as a case study, permaculture designers and farmers Lauren and Bill Errickson will share how they have created a viable farm system that integrates annual and perennial vegetable, herb, flower, and fruit production using permaculture principles, which they apply to their landscape as well as to their business model and lifestyle. Aaron Parker will discuss perennial crops for marginal spaces and time. Every farm has many spaces not well suited to annual crop production. Whether it be slopes, rocky soil or shade these spaces can often be utilized for growing perennial crops that can contribute to the farm system in many ways. Perennials also have a different schedule of harvest, often being ready first thing in the spring when field crops haven’t had a chance to get going yet. Every farm has many spaces not well suited to annual crop production. Whether it be slopes, rocky soil or shade these spaces can often be utilized for growing perennial crops that can contribute to the farm system in many ways. Perennials also have a different schedule of harvest, often being ready first thing in the spring when field crops haven’t had a chance to get going yet.

Labor II: Retaining Your Crew
Jim Crawford, New Morning Farm
Laura Fisher Farm Commons
Jack and Anne Lazor, Butterworks Farm

If crew quality and good labor management are crucial factors in the profitability of a vegetable farm, it follows that employee retention is a high priority. An experienced crew works more smoothly together, saves enormous time in training, and means a less stressful season for everyone. Jim Crawford, at New Morning Farm prioritizes retention over almost everything else and has many strategies that have worked well to keep people with the farm for multiple seasons. Retaining multi-year employees can be a bit tricky, legally speaking. Come learn from Rachel Armstrong of Farm Commons about how to arrange a program that preserves your flexibility and your employee retention. Jack and Ann Lazor of Butterworks Farm will discuss their present business structure, the transition from one generation to the next, federal labor laws and how they cope in general. The size and complexity of the business has taken them to a place that they never imagined they would be. Keeping everyone who works for their business productive, happy and creative is a major undertaking. This workshop will describe how to make this happen.

Pigs and Piglets
Jeff Mattocks, Fertrell
Brendan Holmes, Misty Brook Farm
Pasture-based swine operations are continually growing in the US, particularly amongst small farms. This workshop will help to prepare anyone interested in raising pigs for both pleasure and profit by discussing the nutritional needs of swine, feed do’s and don’ts, and what you should be looking for from a swine diet. Participants will leave the workshop having gained knowledge in swine nutrition and production stages, feeds and additives, and what to look for from their feed.

Heating Options for Greenhouses
Stacy Brenner and John Bliss, Broadturn Farm
Jay and Polly Armour, Four Winds Farm
Jeff and Marianne Marstaller, Cozy Acres Farm

Jay and Polly Armour of Four Winds Farm built their new polycarbonate greenhouse in 2000, and thought about different non-traditional ways to heat it. Polly went to a workshop and someone talked about heating a greenhouse with manure. They had lots of manure so they worked out a system that works for them. Jay and Polly use their greenhouse primarily for seedling production, so they don’t need to start heating the greenhouse until early March. Jay and Polly will talk about how to deal with ammonia build-up, how they bring in and remove the manure, and how they deal with excessive moisture build-up. Jeff and Marianne Marstaller of Cozy Acres Greenhouses in North Yarmouth have been growing in seven double poly greenhouses producing annuals, vegetable and herbs for wholesale sales to area garden centers and landscapers since the mid-90’s. From 2013 to 2015 they built a 30' x 96' polycarbonate and acrylic greenhouse that gets its electricity from the sun (through a 30 kW photovoltaic system) and its heat from the earth (through a 10 ton geothermal system) to create what might be the only greenhouse anywhere that is heated year-round with zero emissions. Jeff and Marianne will share their experience finding grant money from the USDA (REAP program), NRCS (EQIP program) and the Maine Department of Agriculture (Farms for the Future Program). The grants received, along with federal tax rebates and accelerated depreciation, have reduced the cost of the project by over 60%. Because the project was coordinated through the Farms for the Future Program, their note on the outstanding construction balance qualifies for 2% interest through FAME, the Finance Authority of Maine. John Bliss and Stacy Brenner have been using wood heat to keep their seedlings warm for 15 years. After many incarnations, and help from a Rural Energy For America grant and an FSA loan, they have settled on a wood boiler and a simple radiant hot water heating system for their seedling house.

Whole Farm Systems Planning
Jen Porter, Farm Consultant
Jody Bolluyt and Keri Latiolais, Roxbury Farm

Every farm is a unique with its own quirks and strengths and we are all trying to create an organized system of crop production on the land under our care. Keri Latiolais and Jody Bolluyt from Roxbury Farm in Kinderhook, N.Y., will discuss their approach to Whole Farm Planning that will include farm layout, field arrangements, and setting up systems for efficiency and ease of communication. Jen Porter designs and builds four-season farms in Maine. Her particular interest is in movable greenhouses and designing productive, efficient food-production systems that have a year-round relationship with restaurants or farm-to-table events. She has created farm-camps and educational programming for both children and adults, and is continually inspired by the vast farming potential in Maine. Her most recent project included a movable high-tunnel that doubles as a very unique event site for farm dinners.

Dumping the Bag: Creating Fertility Without Purchased Inputs
Tom Roberts, Snakeroot Farm
Mike Bahner, Bahner Farm

Through arrangements with town officials and local residents, plus cutting all the available hay from around his gardens, Tom is able to mulch two of his five acres using no plastic mulches and produce all of the compost needed. Tom will be discussing strategies for "Developing Your Community Nutrient Pool" and what to do with materials brought to your doorstep. Michael and Christa Bahner own and operate Bahner Farm in Belmont, Maine, where they cultivate 5 acres of certified organic produce for 3 farmer's markets, their summer and winter CSAs and a farmstand. Mike has been making all the compost for the farm for the last 3 years using free local waste and manure sources. He has a great perspective on the dos and don'ts of beginning your own compost operation.

Postharvest Storage
Lowell Matthews, Nature's Circle Farm
Chris Callahan, UVM Extension
Mark Hutton, UMaine Extension

Chris Callahan, UVM Extension Agricultural Engineer and Mark Hutton, University of Maine extension agent will each talk about fundamentals of fruit and vegetable storage. Chris will discuss crop physiology important to storage, quality characteristics impacted by storage, storage conditions (temperature and humidity), ethylene, cooler structure, refrigeration system options, controls and monitoring. Chris maintains a
crop storage resources website which growers may find useful. Lowell Matthews will present an overview of winter storage on a larger scale farm, and discuss the air flow and climate requirements for the produce grown at Nature's Circle Farm. His focus will be mainly on the storage of root crops; especially potatoes. He will also expand on their use of bulk storage versus divided storage in pallet boxes.


SUNDAY MORNING – Short Session – 10:00 am-11:30 am

Tunnel Vision: High Tunnel Tomato Production in Spain
Eric Sideman, MOFGA’s organic crop specialist
Becky Sideman, UNH vegetable specialist

Almeria is in the south east of Spain between the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. It does not sound like a bad place to visit, and Becky wanted to go there to see a very unique system of growing warm weather crops in the winter in tunnels. So we did. Come broaden your horizons. Eric and Becky will talk about tomato production in Spain, organic production in Provence, France, and see some really cool stuff in between too.

Add Value To Farm Products Without Adding Legal Issues
Laura Fisher, Farm Commons
Farm diversification through adding value can be a terrific way to boost the bottom line. But, it can change the farm’s legal obligations from zoning to permitting, employment law and taxes. If cider, salsa, jams, tea, cut veggies, applesauce or any other value-added products might play a role on your farm, attend this workshop to learn about your legal obligations.

Which Amendments Give the Best Bang for Your Buck?
Caragh Fitzgerald, UMaine Extension
Other speakers TBD

Disease Identification
Mark Hutton, UMaine Extension
Mark Hutton, PhD, University of Maine Cooperative Extension Vegetable Specialist, will teach a quick course on which diseases you may be finding in your field and how to identify it. This course will be a great refresher for some and excellent learning opportunity for others. This will be primarily a lecture format with some time at the end for questions.

Alternatives to Corn and Soy Feeds
Jeff Mattocks, Fertrell
One of the fastest growing trends in feed production is no-corn and no-soy formulations. In this workshop, participants will be guided through the alternatives that are regionally available for both corn and soy in a ration. Participants will gain a better understanding of what goes into a ration and the importance that each component plays to overall animal health and well-being.

Keeping CSA Members Signing up Every Year
Jill Agnew, Willow Pond Farm
Gene and Mary Margaret Ripley, Ripley Farm

Box-style CSA shares are a great way to market produce and develop a strong partnership between the farm and members of the community. Keeping those members coming back year to year is key to long-term viability on CSA farms. Jill and Charlie Agnew at Willow Pond Farm in Sabattus started the first CSA program in Maine back in 1989. They will share their wisdom from 27 years of CSA farming. From the get go, Gene and Mary Margaret Ripley focused on member retention when they started Ripley Farm’s CSA in 2011. Come learn from their successes and failures over the past five years as they’ve grown their CSA tenfold to become the most important part of their vegetable operation today. CSA farmers, bring your own tips for keeping members happy and let’s have a lively round table discussion!”

Deep Tillage: Where Does It Make Sense?
John Jemison, UMaine Extension
Given the growing size of farms, growers don’t always have the liberty to work fields and harvest under optimum soil conditions. Many have tried deep tillage to alleviate compaction and break up hard pans. Research has been conducted to look at the effect on yield, soil quality, and mineralization of carbon and carbon dioxide release. These and other issues will be discussed.

Pest Monitoring
David Handley, UMaine Extension
How can pests do so much damage so quickly? Mostly, they can’t; it’s simply that we don’t notice them until the problem has become severe. Monitoring for pests doesn’t require a room full of special equipment and teams of experts on your farm. Often, pest problems can be prevented by simply making the commitment to walk through your plantings regularly and often, and learning to identify a few key pests and their damage. This session will cover the basics of scouting for pests in your fields, simple trapping techniques for some common insect problems, and key resources for pest monitoring and identification.


SUNDAY AFTERNOON – 1:30 pm-4:30 pm

Northeast Grape Production
Elmer Savage, Savage Oakes
David Handley, UMaine Extension

Growing grapes on a commercial scale in Maine is a challenge. Our winters are too cold and our growing season is too short. But wait, there are some successful vineyards here. The changing climate, new hardy varieties, and a strong interest in locally produced fruit and wines are improving the potential of this crop. This workshop will cover the basics of grape growing in cold climates, including varieties, site selection and preparation, pruning, fertility and pest management. The folks from Savage Oakes Winery will discuss the realities of establishing a commercial vineyard and a successful business.

Cider, Sweet & Hard
Noah Fralich, Norumbega Cidery
Bob Sewall, Sewall Orchards

An age old tradition, cider making was once practiced on most farms. Noah Fralich will discuss the properties and intricate details of making hard cider while Bob Sewall will discuss the important details of making a delectable sweet cider. Both will discuss their orchards, varieties and important aspects of running their businesses successfully.

Commercial Seedling Production
Polly Shyka and Prentice Grassi, Villageside Farm
Amy LeBlanc, Whitehill Farm
Jay and Polly Armour, Four Winds Farm

In 1998, a friend of Jay and Polly Armour, Four Winds Farm, mentioned to them that nobody was selling Organic Heirloom Vegetable Seedlings in their area. Since they were already growing them for farm use, they thought they would grow some extras and have a seedling sale. The first sale was 1999. Each year it has steadily grown, to the point now where the Seedling Sale generates a fifth of the farm’s income. Jay and Polly will talk briefly about actual production and focus more on how they build their temporary benches and how they set up the physical sale. Amy LeBlanc of Whitehill Farm will outline the seedlings-grown-to-order small business that the farm has run for 25 years. She will also review the differences between customer orders and growing seedlings for her own operation. Polly Shyka and Prentice Grassi of Villageside Farm have recently added a second greenhouse for seedling production with innovative heating and ventilation systems to expand their thriving seedling business. They will discuss seedling production, their seedling sale, as well as the difference between commercial seedling production for sale and seedling production for their own use on the farm.

Value-Added Dairy
Jack and Anne Lazor, Butterworks Farm
Caitlin Frame and Andy Smith, The Milkhouse

Low milk prices can make on-farm processing an attractive option for some dairy producers. The Milkhouse, an organic Maine dairy, will discuss how and why they got into yogurt making as well as the advantages and disadvantages of on-farm processing. They will also share advice for those considering adding value to their milk on a small scale. Jack and Anne Lazor began processing milk on their kitchen stove and delivering it to neighbors in 1979. Thirty-six years later they milk 50 Jerseys and produce yogurt and other cultured dairy products for widespread distribution in Vermont and minimal distribution up and down the East Coast. Jack and Anne will share their successes and failures and provide a realistic view of the perils and pitfalls involved in growing and maintaining a farm based milk processing business.

Income Positive Poultry: Layers and Broilers
Jeff Mattocks, Fertrell
In this number-focused workshop, participants will be guided through the decision-making processes that are involved in raising broilers, layers, and turkeys. We will discuss everything from breeds to feed to management techniques that all affect your bottom dollar. Participants will leave the workshop with a better understanding of how to budget for their poultry operation and where to better focus their dollars.

Reducing Spring Tillage Using Forage Radish
Natalie Lounsbury
Joel and Annalisa Miller, Wild Miller Gardens

Forage radish has recently emerged as a promising option for farmers looking to minimize spring tillage. A winterkilled forage radish cover crop could replace spring tillage by creating a weed-free, dry, and nutrient rich seedbed for early spring vegetables. Natalie Lounsbury will share results of her research conducted in Maryland as well as the results of two years of trials here in Maine. Joel and Annalisa Wild Miller of Wild Miller Gardens have successfully incorporated tillage radish into their farm system and will share their experiences and methods.

Choosing the Right Business Entity for Your Farm
Andrew Kraus, Opticliff Law Firm
Ben Tettlebaum, Legal Services Food Hub, Conservation Law Foundation
Kevin Haley, Brann & Isaacson

The vast majority of farms in Maine operate as sole proprietorships. But you could be a partnership and not even know it. You've probably heard about the benefits of LLCs. Could it be the right fit for your farm? What other business entities might work for your operation? What are the pros and cons of becoming a formal business entity? There are tax advantages, liability protections, and more. How can intellectual property work for your farm? How can you steer clear of trademark infringement? Through discussion, Q&A, and interactive hypotheticals from expert lawyers, this session will guide you through critical legal issues that can make your farm a better business, including what business form might work best for your operation.

Organic Seed Saving and Breeding Techniques
Mike Bowman and Maria Reynolds, Groundswell Seed Farm
John Navazio, Johnny’s Selected Seeds

All living organisms gradually adapt and evolve in response to their environment. Likewise, all open-pollinated crop varieties adapt and change over time in response to the environment of the particular farm and region in which they are grown. These varieties also change at the hands of the farmers that grow them for seed as they always select, consciously or not, each time the crop is reproduced. If the selection is done purposefully and systematically, then the transformation of the inherent traits that are important to the grower and their customers can sometimes be improved in relatively few generations using several precepts of plant breeding that can be easily integrated and executed on a working farm. Integration of seed crops into the whole farm system at Groundswell Seed Farm will be discussed in depth. Beginning with the growth and evolution of Groundswell throughout the years, including different methods of scale they have employed, and exploring sustainable seed saving on the organic, diversified market farm. Growing heirloom and open-pollinated seed crops for wholesale and retail sales will be discussed as well as how seed saving has increased on the farm. Specific areas of discussion regarding growing crops for seed will include methods of selection, pollination, isolation, harvest, processing, and storage as well as several innovative and budget friendly seed saving tools have been created over the years. After John Navazio will discuss several fundamental breeding goals for organic systems and the basic steps of breeding techniques that are not time intensive and require little or no hand manipulation of flowers. Examples of the revolutionary results in several well documented cases of organic farmer breeders using these techniques will be elucidated. Suggestions of ways that breeding can be practiced by the on-the-go farmer will be described. A summary of on-farm breeding resources and their relative value will also be discussed.

Food Safety Solutions and Strategies for Farmers
Linda Titus, AgMatters
Lowell Matthews and Nick Fitzpatrick, Nature’s Circle Farm
Jed Beach and Emilia Carbone, 3 Bug Farm

Linda Titus, of AgMatters LLC, will cover general food safety themes from USDA’s GAP/GHP food safety certifications and FSMA’s proposed Produce Safety Rule. Meg York, of the certified organic Nature’s Circle Farm, and Jed and Emilia of 3 Bug Farm, will talk about the different “on-the-ground” practices they do on the farm to meet food safety requirements and sell organic produce to commodity markets.



Conference fees:

$50 per session; $150 for all four sessions
(the Sunday a.m. session includes the keynote).

$75 for all meals; $12 per breakfast; $18 per lunch; $25 for the dinner;
$10 for the bus tour.

$50 for childcare all sessions; $15 per session.
Child full meal plan $25, $5 per breakfast and lunch; $10 for the dinner.

Discounts for MOFGA members, certified growers, and apprentices and students.

All meals include gluten free and vegan options.

Walk-ins are welcome – Meal tickets will be for sale

If you would like to support this conference as a sponsor please contact Anna Mueller at events@mofga.org. We appreciate your generosity in helping us offer this educational event!

If you would like to be an exhibitor at our Trades Show, contact Anna Mueller at events@mofga.org.

Accommodations & Venue
Point Lookout
Northport, Maine

207-789-2000 or 800-515-3611

Check In begins at 6:30 pm
at the Welcome Center on opening day
(see map of the North Point grounds)

We’re excited to once again host the conference at a venue located in the heart of Mid-Coast Maine (MAP).

Point Lookout features tremendous views, hiking trails, bowling alley and pleasant guest accommodations.

Point Lookout Interior

Each of Point Lookout's spacious, all-pine cabins (one, two, or three bedroom) feature:

* kitchen with refrigerator and coffeemaker
* queen and king-size beds
* wireless internet access
* central heat and propane fireplaces
* stand-up shower in each of the one or two bathrooms

Cabin reservations will be handled directly through the conference center. We've arranged special room rates ($75 in shared 2 or 3 bedroom cabin to $150 for a one bedroom cabin) for conference participants.

Please call Point Lookout at 800-515-3611 to book your room.

• Be sure to call by October 16th and mention the MOFGA Farmer to Farmer Conference.

• If you would like to share a cabin and if you know the party you want to share with, please indicate this.

• If you want to share a cabin but have not found a cabinmate yet, check our Googledoc page to see who else is looking.


Priority will be given to recent participants in the MOFGA Apprenticeship Program, but other new and limited resource farmers are encouraged to apply.

Please note that scholarships do not cover the Friday bus tour or accommodations.
Please visit this link for details on booking a room at the venue and finding a roomate.

Scholarship application deadline is October 1st.

To apply:
Fill out the scholarship application and indicate level of support requested. Your request will be processed and you will receive an email notifying you of your award and the discount code to use to register. Please do not register online until you've received notification of your award.

We will contact you by October 10th to notify you of the award amount and registration fees owed.

Questions or concerns? please contact:
Anna, Educational Events Coordinator



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