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"The diligent farmer plants trees, of which he himself will never see the fruit."
- Cicero
  You are here:  PublicationsBulletin Board ArchiveMOFGA Bulletin Board - 2017February 16 2017   
  

 

MAINE ORGANIC FARMERS AND GARDENERS ASSOCIATION

Bulletin Board

FEBRUARY 16, 2017


Organic Gardening Tip:
Eliminate Browntail Caterpillars Now
 
Entomologists from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry say now is the time to eradicate browntail caterpillars in trees that are accessible. Browntail caterpillars cause a rash like poison ivy, and they are spreading across more and more of Maine. Contact with caterpillar hairs can cause severe reactions for some individuals.

The caterpillars spend the winter webbed in silken-wrapped leaves on the tips of branches of oak and apple trees. Now is the time to look for the bright white silk tying a few leaves to the tips of apple, crabapple, plum and oak tree branches. If you see a web, clip it out and destroy the web by dropping it in a bucket of soapy water; do not just leave it on the ground.

These caterpillar webs can be found regularly from the New Hampshire border to Waldoboro, and inland to Turner and Waterville. They are worst along the coast from Falmouth to Bristol. The moths have been seen all the way to Kingfield, Millinocket and Topsfield on the New Brunswick border.

For a video showing how to clip the webs and a list of arborists who could prune webs, see
http://www.maine.gov/dacf/mfs/forest_health/invasive_threats/browntail_moth_info.htm
For more information, contact the Maine Forest Service, 207-287-2431, or your local University of Maine Cooperative Extension Office. 
 
Moth- - - -

Browntail Moth Management Guidance 
 
The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension are providing four free presentations on browntail moth management and exposure prevention this month. In 2016, hundreds of people in the central coastal area of Maine were impacted by this invasive insect. The caterpillars release tiny hairs that cause itchy, poison ivy-like rashes and sometimes respiratory distress. FMI and to register: http://www.maine.gov/dacf/php/gotpests/lawns/index.html. Here is the schedule for the presentations:
February 17, 2 p.m., Lithgow Library, Augusta 
February 22, 6 p.m., Patten Free Library, Bath 
February 27, 6 p.m., The Morris Farm, Wiscasset 
February 28, 6 p.m., Kennebunkport Conservation Trust, Kennebunkport 
Maine Board of Pesticides Control to Meet This Friday  
 
BPC- - - -

Maine BPC to Meet on Friday, February 17
 
The Maine Board of Pesticides Control will meet on Friday, February 17, at 9 a.m. in Room 118 Marquardt, AMHI Campus, Augusta. The board will discuss Dow AgroSciences' request for 24(c) registration for GoalTenderTM Herbicide; the Gowan Company, Inc., request for FIFRA Section 24(c) Registration for Malathion 8 Flowable insecticide on cane berries; the potential use of an unmanned aircraft (drone) to conduct aerial pesticide applications to control browntail moths; rulemaking around Chapter 29, Section 5 regarding browntail moth; the BPC budget; and consideration of a consent agreement with Alfred Fugazzi of Stone Wall Farms in Lincoln, Maine. It will also discuss the definition of "biological pesticide" as it relates to Chapter 29 Section 5; a policy on allowable pesticides for control of browntail moth within 250 feet of marine waters; a pesticide variance for control of invasive plants on the Maine Audubon East Point Sanctuary property in Biddeford Pool; LD 174 An Act To Limit the Use of Pesticides on School Grounds; LD 418 An Act To Educate the Public on the Proper Use of Pesticides and To Promote Integrated Pest Management Using Existing Resources; and communications from the public. FMI: http://www.maine.gov/dacf/php/pesticides/meetings.shtml#nextmtg  
 
Beekeepng- - - -

Beginning Beekeeping Class
New Date - Saturday, February 18, 2017 
10 a.m. to 4 p.m
MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center, Unity
Fee: $50 for MOFGA members; $75 for non-members
Please bring your own lunch. Register here.  
 
Our beekeeping short course will cover the essentials to get you going in the world of beekeeping, such as where to locate your apiary, characteristics of different races of bees, where to purchase bees and equipment, how to assemble that equipment, and how to establish your first hive and get it through the first season. Instructor David Smith is an experienced beekeeper who has maintained over 200 honey bee colonies for 35-plus years. He has served as assistant state apiary inspector, and he owns and operates Sparky's Apiaries in Hope, Maine. 
 
Data- - - -

USDA Gathering New Data on Organic Agriculture Production
 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is conducting the 2016 Certified Organic Survey to gather new data on certified organic crops and livestock commodities in the United States. This effort is critical to help determine the economic impact of certified organic agriculture production in the United States. NASS is mailing the survey to all known certified organic farms and ranches within the 50 states. The form asks producers to provide information on acreage, production, and sales, as well as production and marketing practices. The agency asks all participants to respond by February 19. Producers can return their forms by mail or complete the survey online at www.agcounts.usda.gov.   
 
Business- - - -

Advanced Business Planning
Workshop with Richard Wiswall 
February 26-27, 2017 
Sunday, 9:30-4:00; Monday, 9:30-12:00 
MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center 
$100 per person; $135 for two people coming from the same farm. Lunch is included on Sunday. Register here. 
 
This one-and-a-half day workshop will help established and beginning farmers and is best suited for those with at least one year of farm production data or similar experience. The aims of the workshop are to plan for profit, examine YOUR farm enterprises, better understand financial statements and to learn about creating production and recordkeeping efficiencies. Instructor Richard Wiswall is the owner/operator of Cate Farm in Vermont and author of "The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook." More information on our website. 
 
MEHO- - - -

MOFGA's Maine Heritage Orchard News
 
This winter the Maine Heritage Orchard crew is focused on pruning old trees and collecting scionwood from those trees to graft and grow for the orchard and distribute to our tree stewards. Interested in having a heritage apple tree of your own? Check out the Heritage Orchard's page on the MOFGA website for more information. The deadline for ordering this year is March 3.    
 
Nursery- - - -

Northern New England Nursery Conference
March 3, 2017, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The Derryfield, 625 Mammoth Road, Manchester, N.H.
Register at https://www.events.unh.edu/RegistrationForm.pm?event_id=23257. $30 per person until February 24, $35 after February 24; lunch is not guaranteed for late registrations. Sessions include information on financial planning, business risk, pest management, industry trends and more. FMI: Cathy Neal, UNH Extension Specialist, 603-862-3208.    
 
Soil- - - -

2017 Spring Growth Conference: Soil Microbiology
Saturday, March 4
MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center, Unity
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Registration: $75 for individuals, $100 for couples
$25 for students and apprentices; free for MOFGA Journeypersons
Lunch is included. Register here.
 
Appreciation- - - -

MOFGA Farming Appreciation Dinner at Solo Italiano

On Sunday, March 5, from 6 to 9 p.m., Solo Italiano invites the public to its MOFGA/farmer appreciation dinner. This will be a five-course affair with optional wine pairing and exclusively organic produce (and an Island Lamb) coming from Dandelion Spring Farm and Stonecipher Farm. Representatives from both farms and from MOFGA will be present to talk about their "labor of love." Twenty percent of all proceeds will go to MOFGA. Solo Italiano is located at 100 Commercial St. in Portland. Tickets ($85) are available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/thank-the-harvesters-with-mofga-tickets-31779603650 and cover dinner, tax, gratuity and the benefit to MOFGA. Wine pairing is additional.     
 
RLAS- - - -
Russell Libby in 2012

Former MOFGA Executive Director Russell Libby in 2012

Apply now for one of three Russell Libby Agricultural Scholar Awards 
 
Three $1,500 scholarships will be awarded in the following categories:
* MOFGA Journeyperson Program participant 
* Maine High School Senior planning to study sustainable or organic farming at a college in Maine 
* Kennebec Valley Community College student studying sustainable agriculture
 
The scholarship application deadline is MARCH 5, 2017

Russell Libby Agricultural Scholarship Application
(If the link above does not work, copy and paste the URL into your browser:
https://pressherald.wufoo.com/forms/m11pldlm1bo69i9/

The awards are granted to honor the late Russell Libby, who led the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association for 17 years and dedicated his life to growing the organic food movement. The scholarships offer support to students seeking to deepen their knowledge of organic and sustainable farm systems. More information on MOFGA.org. 
 
Saffron- - - -

Saffron Workshop

The University of Vermont (UVM) has been studying the potential of growing saffron in northern New England. This high-value crop has a retail price of $5,000/pound. As a result of widespread interest, UVM established the North American Center for Saffron Research and Development at the UVM Entomology Research Laboratory. The center will hold a workshop on saffron on March 9, 2017. Register (limited to 80 attendees) at www.regonline.com/saffron2017. FMI: http://www.uvm.edu/~entlab/Other%20Research/Saffron/Saffron.html. A free listserv called "Saffronnet" is dedicated to discussing saffron-related topics. Email Margaret Skinner, mskinner@uvm.edu, to be added to the list. 
 
Pruning- - - -

Organic Orcharding Workshop: Pruning 
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sat., March 11 - Two locations: Cumberland and Mount Desert
Sat., March 25 - MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center, Unity
Fee: $50. $35 for MOFGA members
Please bring your own bag lunch
Register here.

Designed for beginner to intermediate orchardists managing backyard plantings to larger orchards. Learn to prune fruit trees to encourage vigorous growth, heavy fruit set, and quality fruit yield. Scionwood collection and storage will also be covered. Confirmation and directions will be sent a week prior to the start of the workshop. Please keep in mind that pre-registration and payment are required and this course fills up quickly!  
 
Grain- - - -

2017 Maine Grain Conference in Littleton, Maine     
  
This year's Maine Grain Conference will take place on Monday, March 13, at the Little School and Agriculture Museum in Littleton (just north of Houlton). It will focus on alternative crops and precision cultivation systems. Guest speakers include Willie Hughes of Janesville, Wisconsin, discussing his family's split conventional/organic, 5000-acre operation; Jeremiah Evans of Merced, Manitoba, who has used Robocrop, a video-guided hoe, to cultivate between crop rows; and Peter Scott, crop development specialist, New Brunswick Department of Agriculture, who will review results from his cereal and oilseed research program. FMI: https://extension.umaine.edu/agriculture/blog/2017/02/01/farm-scoop-february-2017/ 
 
School- - - -

Maine Vegetable & Fruit School in Two Locations      
  
The 2017 Maine Vegetable & Fruit School will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 14, at Seasons Event & Conference Center in Portland and on Wednesday, March 15, at the Bangor Motor Inn Conference Center. Topics include a legislative update; managing spotted wing drosophila in berries with exclusion netting; long-term fertility with compost; and more. FMI: https://extension.umaine.edu/highmoor/blog/2017/01/25/maine-vegetable-and-fruit-school-2017/. Please register by March 3. The $45 cost includes lunch. Participants may receive 3 pesticide applicator recertification credits, and certified crop advisors may earn 5.5 recertification credits. 
 
Insurance- - - -

2017 Maine Crop Insurance Policies Deadline       
  
The next sales closing deadline for risk management policies in Maine is March 15, 2017, for corn, forage seeding, fresh market sweet corn, green peas, oats, potatoes, spring barley, spring oats, spring wheat, and whole-farm revenue protection. To find your local crop insurance agent, visit http://www.rma.usda.gov/tools/agent.html. FMI: Maine Risk Management and Crop Insurance Education Program, https://extension.umaine.edu/agriculture/maine-risk-management-and-crop-insurance-education-program/ 
 
Check-Off- - - -

Organic Check-Off Proposed        
  
The "Organic Research, Promotion, and Information Order," better known as the Organic Checkoff, has been released as a proposal. MOFGA will be looking for comments on the proposal, which are due by March 20, 2017. At this time MOFGA has not taken a position on the proposal and is seeking farmer and processor input to this new Checkoff. To view the full proposal and for instructions on how to submit comments electronically or in writing, go to https://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/research-promotion/proposals/organic. For the pro-checkoff view, go to the Organic Trade Association's "GroOrganic" website at http://groorganic.net/. For the opposing checkoff view, go to the No Organic Checkoff website at http://noorganiccheckoff.com/.
 
Greenhouse- - - -

10th Annual Maine Greenhouses "Best Practices" Workshop         
March 23, 2017, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Snell Family Farm, 1000 River Road (ME 112), Buxton, Maine
Register ($25, includes lunch) by March 17

Learn how the Snell family has grown its flower and vegetable farm into a thriving, diversified business. Snell Family Farm has eight greenhouses and additional hoop houses. It grows perennials, bedding plants, fruits, vegetables and herbs, and retails via its year-round farm store, the Portland Farmers Market, pick-your-own, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares and Senior Farmshare. The Snells use biocontrol to manage pests in their seasonal greenhouses. Learn what you can do to produce quality plants while minimizing reliance on pesticides. Check in on your plant nutrition and pest management practices. Learn the latest developments in greenhouse management. The workshop is approved for 2 pesticide credits. FMI: https://extension.umaine.edu/agriculture/programs/greenhouse-best-practices-workshop/ and Kathy Murray, 207-287-7616
 
OFLF- - - -

MOFGA's Organic Farmer Loan Fund    
  
Loans are intended to help organic farmers and processors working on establishing a credit history for their businesses. The loan fund will provide loans to small and medium-sized businesses seeking to expand or enhance their farm or processing operations through business planning, marketing, aggregation, or other business enhancement. Funds in this program may also be used for working capital or equipment purchases. Loans from the Organic Farmer Loan Fund are in the range of $2,000 to $20,000. Applications must be postmarked by Friday, March 31, 2017. If you would like help completing a loan application, please contact the MOFGA office at (207) 568-4142, or email loanfund@mofga.org. Read more on MOFGA.org. 
 
Drought- - - -

Resources to Navigate Drought Successfully          

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension lists resources to help farmers, gardeners and landowners plan for and successfully navigate the impacts caused by drought. Resources identify where to turn when a well runs dry, what to do when the farm runs out of water, and where to go for buying and selling hay. It also provides information on crop insurance and other federal farm programs. https://extension.umaine.edu/agriculture/programs/drought/
 
 
EventsEvents in Maine and Beyond - Mark Your Calendar!

 

February 15 - Slow Money Maine Gathering, Christ Church, 1 Dresden Ave., Gardiner. All are welcome!
 From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. is a Pre-Meeting Focus Group: Considering a Value-added Producer Grant. From 1 to 4 p.m. are the main presenters and updates. Information.

February 17 - Maine Board of Pesticides Control Meeting. 9 a.m., Room 118 Marquardt, AMHI Campus, Augusta. FMI: http://www.maine.gov/dacf/php/pesticides/meetings.shtml#nextmtg

February 17 (snow date February 24) - Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District Rural Energy Workshop for landowners, homeowners, farmers and small businesses in partnership with UMaine Cooperative Extension Piscataquis County office and the Dover-Dexter Area Towns in Transition. Information.

February 18 - Beginning Beekeeping Workshop. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center in Unity. $50 for MOFGA members; $75 for non-members.  Register here.

February 18-20 - NOFA-Vermont's 35th Annual Winter Conference: "Beyond Borders: Our Role in the Global Food Movement."
Saturday through Monday, Davis Center, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vt. 100+ workshops, speakers, and celebrations for farmers, gardeners, and foodies. Early registration discount until Feb. 13; additional discounts for NOFA Vermont members and volunteers. More information and online registration.

February 26-27 - Advanced Business Planning Workshop with Richard Wiswall. Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Monday, 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon; MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center. $100 per person; $135 for two people coming from the same farm. Lunch is included on Sunday. Register here.

March 3 - MOFGA's Common Ground Radio Show, an hour on local food and agriculture. 10 a.m. on 89.9 and 99.9 FM and weru.org

March 4 - MOFGA's Spring Growth Conference. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Common Ground Education Center, Unity. Keynote speaker Will Brinton and a panel of farmers focus on soil microbiology. Register here.

March 5 - MOFGA Farming Appreciation Dinner at Solo Italiano. 6 to 9 p.m., 100 Commercial St., Portland. Twenty percent of proceeds will go to MOFGA. Tickets ($85) available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/thank-the-harvesters-with-mofga-tickets-31779603650 and cover dinner, tax, gratuity and the benefit to MOFGA. Wine pairing is additional.

March 5 - Deadline to apply for Russell Libby Agricultural Scholarships. APPLY HERE.
Click here for information.

March 11 - MOFGA Organic Orcharding Workshop: Pruning. Two locations: Cumberland, Maine, and Mt. Desert, Maine. Learn to prune fruit trees to encourage vigorous growth, heavy fruit set, and quality fruit yield. Workshop is geared towards beginners and experienced growers. Pre-register here (required).

March 11 - Waldo County Grower's Winter Potluck, 4-7 p.m., the Varney Center, Brooks. Sponsored by UMaine Waldo County Cooperative Extension. If you or your family grow, process or sell commercial crops in Waldo County, join us to socialize and share good food. A family event; infants and children welcome. Alcohol free. Please bring a dish or two to share, along with eating utensils. Snow date March 12, 4-7 p.m. For inclement weather announcements call 207-342-5971. FMI: richard.kersbergen@maine.edu

March 13 - Maine Grain Conference. Monday, Little School and Agriculture Museum in Littleton (just north of Houlton). FMI: https://extension.umaine.edu/agriculture/blog/2017/02/01/farm-scoop-february-2017/

March 14 and 15 - Maine Vegetable & Fruit School. Tuesday at Seasons Event & Conference Center in Portland; Wednesday at Bangor Motor Inn Conference Center. FMI: https://extension.umaine.edu/highmoor/blog/2017/01/25/maine-vegetable-and-fruit-school-2017/. Please register by March 3. The $45 cost includes lunch.

March 18 - Maine Grass Farmers Network Conference. Keynote speaker Fred Provenza on grazing animal behavior and its link to soil health. FMI: http://extension.usu.edu/behave/ or https://extension.umaine.edu/livestock/mgfn/ or dianes@mofga.org

March 18 - Organic Orcharding Workshop: Renovating Old Trees. Freedom, Maine. Do you have any old trees on your land that you would like to bring back into production? Attend this workshop and learn to renovate and upkeep your heritage trees. Register here.

March 23 - 10th Annual Maine Greenhouses "Best Practices" Workshop. 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Snell Family Farm, 1000 River Road (ME 112), Buxton, Maine. Register ($25, includes lunch) by March 17. FMI: https://extension.umaine.edu/agriculture/programs/greenhouse-best-practices-workshop/ and Kathy Murray, 207-287-7616

March 25 - Organic Orcharding Workshop: Pruning. MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center, Unity. Learn to prune fruit trees to encourage vigorous growth, heavy fruit set, and quality fruit yield. Workshop is geared towards beginners and experienced growers. Pre-register here (required).

March 25 - Organic Orcharding Workshop: Renovating Old Trees. Two locations: Mt. Desert, Maine, and Newcastle (Cunningham Island), Maine. Do you have any old trees on your land that you would like to bring back into production? Attend this workshop and learn to renovate and upkeep your heritage trees. Register here.

March 26 - Seed Swap & Scion Exchange. Special All-Day Event! MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center, Unity. Gardeners and Orchardists are invited to bring their seeds, scionwood and cuttings to share and participate in educational workshops. Free!

March 26 - Maine Maple Sunday. Participating Maine Maple producers (including some organic producers) offer demonstrations, sugarbush tours, activities and samplings of maple products. Information.

April 28-29 - New England Meat Conference, Manchester, N.H. http://www.newenglandmeatconference.com/
 
 
 

 

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