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Farmer Programs Newsletter for April 17, 2020

April 17, 2020

Here is MOFGA’s Farmer Programs Newsletter for the week ending April 17, 2020. During the current coronavirus pandemic, we aim to send this newsletter weekly, as so much is going on and changing. We will likely go down to twice a month when things settle down. Please send inquiries, suggestions, corrections or advice regarding this newsletter to [email protected].


MOFGA's Primary COVID-19 Resource Document for Farmers

The MOFGA Farmer Programs staff has compiled this clearinghouse of almost every topic and issue related to farming during the COVID-19 crisis, with links and information and resources about insurance, employees, farmers' markets, online marketing, loans and grants, etc. We update it several times daily – newest updates are highlighted in bold type.

Financial Relief

 

  • Maine Farm Food Access Program reimburses farms and farmers’ markets for purchase of SNAP/EBT equipment. Created by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) and Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets (MFFM), with funding from USDA. Can be used to reimburse the purchase price of EBT equipment as well as related costs. Available now through September 2021.
Resources

 

  • Managing Seedling Sales on the Farm and at Garden Centers to keep farm workers, customers and families safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. A new University of Maine  Cooperative Extension fact sheet, with practical advice and best practices for communications with the public, retail space layout, crowd control and payment collection.
  • Managing Seedling Sales at Farmers’ Markets to keep farm workers, customers and families safe during the COVID-18 outbreak. Same as above but focused on farmers’ market layout, crowd control, payment collection and communications with the public.
  • Farmers’ Guide to Direct Sales Software Platforms put out this week by the National Young Farmers Coalition. A handy eight-page flyer with several charts and comparisons of options for farmers navigating the choices of launching an online selling platform for the first time.
  • A Social Media Guide for Farmers, put together by the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project. A nice six-page flyer on what, why and how to create a social media presence for your farm and farm products.
  • Social Media for Small Farms. An article from the food4all website exploring how and why social media can help the viability of your small farm. Includes specific best practices on how social media can be a low-cost marketing tool for farmers.
  • Email Marketing for Small Farms. An article from the food4all website exploring how and why email marketing can help promote and grow your farm business. According to the article, email marketing is the #1 proven online marketing tool for small and big businesses, and one of the least expensive.
  • Portable field handwashing station video.This three-minute video shows an easily set up, portable system for farm, market and/or public use and briefly discusses harvest bins.  Produced by University of Maine Cooperative Extension.
  • The University of Maine  labs are still doing their work but with some variations in procedures. The buildings are closed to the public and therefore require either mail-in or digital images for analysis. Find updates on how to contact or submit samples to the Analytical Lab and Maine Soil Testing Service, to the Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab, to the Insect Lab and/or the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab.
  • MOFGA Certification Services’ (MCS) updated list of approved disinfectants for use in organic production lists products on the EPA List N (EPA-approved for use against the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19). Producers should contact MCS before switching to any new product on their farm or operation.

 

Get on the Map!

 

 

Surveys

 

  • Maine DACF questionnaire for farms, food and forestry businesses on how the COVID-19 outbreak is impacting your business and how the department can assist you.
  • The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) and Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) released two national organic surveys on February 18, 2020 – one for certified organic producers and the other for producers transitioning to organic certification. This collaborative effort is part of a USDA-funded project seeking to learn more about the challenges and research priorities of organic farmers and ranchers, and those transitioning land to certified organic production.

The survey deadline has been extended from April 1, 2020, to June 1, 2020, to give producers a final opportunity to share their experiences and challenges. During these uncertain times, it is more important than ever that farmers and ranchers make their voices heard.

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