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  You are here:  PublicationsBulletin Board ArchiveMOFGA Bulletin Board - 2017January 19 2017   



Bulletin Board

JANUARY 19, 2017

Will Bonsall harvesting ground cherries. Photo by Lisa Quatrale

Organic Gardening Tip:
Easier Ground Cherry Harvesting
Do you have a special way to grow ground cherries (Physalis peruviana) so that the fruits are easy to harvest - that is, they're not hidden under the sprawling foliage of these vigorous plants? Will Bonsall harvests ground cherries from under a V-shaped trellis, which allows the fruits to drop to the ground while the trellis supports the foliage. Read about the structure and about this delicious specialty crop in Bonsall's article, "Ground Cherries - A New World Treat."  
Fair- - - -

Common Ground Country Fair Presenter Applications Available Online 

The presentations, talks and workshops are a cornerstone of the Common Ground Country Fair. Interested in sharing your skills and knowledge with the community? Please submit your proposal via our online presenter application. The application deadline for presenters is April 1. If you need assistance or have questions, please contact Eleanor at 568-4142 or commonground@mofga.org.  
Mission- - - -

MOFGA's New Mission Statement       

At our annual meeting on January 10, the MOFGA membership voted to change the association's mission statement. The previous mission statement was, "The purpose of the Association is to help farmers and gardeners: grow organic food, fiber and other crops; protect the environment; recycle natural resources; increase local food production; support rural communities; and illuminate for consumers the connection between healthful food and environmentally sound farming practices."

The new mission statement reads,
"The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association is a broad-based community that educates about and advocates for organic agriculture, illuminating its interdependence with a healthy environment, local food production, and thriving communities."
Also at that meeting, the membership thanked board members who were stepping down: Ben Campo, Heather Albert-Knopp, Barbara Damrosch, Sam Hazelhurst and Kim Krejsa. The membership welcomed new board members Stacy Brenner, Ellis Percy, Richard Silliboy, Ben Tettlebaum and Jeremy Blaiklock. David Shipman is our new president.   
Rules- - - -

Final Rules for Organic Livestock Published in Federal Register       

In early January the White House signed off on final rules on treatment of animals whose meat will be sold as "certified organic." The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) said the rule strengthens the integrity of the organic label by clarifying production requirements for organic livestock and poultry. Major provisions of the rule include clarifying how producers and handlers must treat livestock and poultry to ensure their health and well-being throughout life, including transport and slaughter; specifying which physical alterations are allowed and prohibited in organic livestock and poultry production; and establishing minimum indoor and outdoor space requirements for poultry. The final rule was published in the Jan. 19, 2017, Federal Register, and can be viewed via https://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/organic-livestock-and-poultry-practices. The rules will be phased in over one to five years. MOFGA and MOFGA Certification Services LLC will be alerting our community to these changes.  
Grower- - - -

Grower Meetings Coming Up!
Organic Certification for Farmers and Processors
1 to 4 pm at all locations 
If you market and sell products as ORGANIC, chances are good you need to need to be certified by a USDA-accredited certifier to comply with USDA regulations. MOFGA Agricultural Services and Certification Staff will provide an overview of organic production practices, including vegetables and herbs, livestock and value added products. Information on how to become certified organic and resources available for first time or transitioning operations will be provided. You do not need to be a certified organic grower to attend. All are welcome!
* February 2 - Rising Tide, 323 Main Street, Damariscotta, Maine; (207) 563-1161 
* February 7 - Bangor Extension Office, 307 Maine Avenue, Bangor, Maine; (207) 942-7396 
* February 9 - Fareshare Coop, 443 Main Street, Norway, Maine; (207) 743-9044 
Beekeepng- - - -

Beginning Beekeeping Class
Saturday, February 11, 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. 
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.
MCS- - - -

Work for MOFGA! 
Certification Services Inspector and Material Reviewer 

MOFGA Certification Services is currently seeking a qualified candidate to fill our full time Inspector and Material Reviewer position. Interested applicants can apply via email to certification@mofga.org. Please provide a cover letter and resume. Read the full job description on MOFGA.org.   
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. 
Census- - - -

2017 Census of Agriculture   

The USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is preparing to conduct the 2017 Census of Agriculture - the leading source of facts and figures about American agriculture. Conducted every five years, the census provides a detailed picture of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. It is the only source of uniform, comprehensive agricultural data for every U.S. state and county. If you have never received a Census of Agriculture or a survey questionnaire from NASS, please give NASS your contact information at https://www.agcounts.usda.gov/cgi-bin/counts/. Note that an operation that sold or normally would have sold $1,000 or more of agricultural products in a year is considered a farm by the Census of Agriculture definition.
EventsEvents in Maine and Beyond - Mark Your Calendar!

January 20-22 - NOFA New York Winter Conference, Saratoga Springs, New York. Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) of New York's 35th Annual Winter Conference will feature 17 tracks, a seed conference, a seed swap and more. This event will also host the Northeast Organic Seed Conference: Owning Our Seed. Keynote by CR Lawn on the objectives of creating an ethical, sustainable seed system and strategies for overcoming obstacles. Information.
January 25-28 - Ecological Farming Association 37th EcoFarm Conference, Pacific Grove, California. www.eco-farm.org/conference

January 28 - NOFA-NH Winter Conference, featuring keynote speaker Joel Salatin, Concord, N.H. http://www.nofanh.org/

January 29 - 9th annual Maine Farmers' Market Convention, Alfond Campus, Kennebec Valley Community College. Register by January 26 (cost $65-75). Scholarships available to participants from Washington and Aroostook counties. FMI or to register: 207-487-7114, assistant@mffm.org or www.mainefarmersmarkets.org

January 31 - Landscape Heroes; Carbon, Water and Biodiversity. UMASS, Amherst. Information

February - eOrganic has several webinars planned for February and beyond, including Management of Spotted Wing Drosophila Using Organic Strategies, Providing Habitat for Wild Bees on Organic Farms, Use of High Glucosinolate Mustard as an Organic Biofumigant in Vegetable Crops, and others. FMI: https://learn.extension.org/events/upcoming

February 2 - Informational meeting on Organic Certification - Damariscotta. Rising Tide, 323 Main Street, Damariscotta, Maine; (207) 563-1161. Join MOFGA staff for an overview of requirements and resources for producing and marketing crops and livestock under MOFGA's Organic Certification.

February 7 - Informational meeting on Organic Certification - Bangor. Bangor Extension Office, 307 Maine Avenue, Bangor, Maine; (207) 942-7396. Join MOFGA staff for an overview of requirements and resources for producing and marketing crops and livestock under MOFGA's Organic Certification.

February 9 - Informational meeting on Organic Certification - Norway. Fareshare Coop, 443 Main Street, Norway, Maine; (207) 743-9044. Join MOFGA staff for an overview of requirements and resources for producing and marketing crops and livestock under MOFGA's Organic Certification.

February 10 - Rural Maine's Next Economy. Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Cross Insurance Center, 515 Main St., Bangor. A day of celebrating rural Maine and exploring its future. Share your experiences and ideas with over 50 presenters who are working every day to build a new economy in rural Maine. Hosted by Envision Maine; co-sponsored by MOFGA. Agenda and registration.

February 11 - 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 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.


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