Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association

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Farmer Programs Newsletter for May 26, 2020

Welcome to the Farmer Programs Newsletter for the week of May 26 (delayed a day due to Memorial Day). We are still sending these out weekly, so give it a quick look to keep updated with info and resources for your organic farm. Back issues of this newsletter are archived on the MOFGA website here. 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 yellow. Resources that may be of particular interest to farmworkers are highlighted in green.




  • Free 1-on-1 Assistance for Farmers and Farmland Owners from Land for Good. If you are a farmer or farmland owner in New England who has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, you can receive free, in-depth technical assistance to access farmland, draft leases and other tenure agreements, improve landowner relations, or plan for your farm succession or transfer. Land for Good can offer these consulting and advising services at no cost during the current pandemic.
  • Free cloth face masks are available to farms. The masks are made available by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) in partnership with the Maine Department of Corrections. If your farm needs reusable cloth face masks, submit a request; they are currently working on distribution logistics but have several thousand made and more being made. Limit two per person. Send or request a form via [email protected] at Maine DACF.
  • Small Bites. These short, informational articles offer practical ideas about stress reduction, improved communication and family well-being written by coaches from UMaine Cooperative Extension's farm coaching team. Farm coaches are available at no cost to work remotely with farmers and farm families. The third Small Bites is titled "Self-Reflection."


Financial Support


  • Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). This new USDA program helps farmers through direct payments due to market loss associated with COVID-19. Sign-up begins Tuesday, May 26. Here are more details:
    • A video outlining how to complete the CFAP application
    • FAQ's about CFAP from the USDA
    • Program details are specific to agricultural commodities: livestock, specialty crops (many veggies and fruits), non-specialty crops (grains), dairy, and wool.
    • Please connect with your FSA agent now to help with this process. If you don't have an established relationship, find FSA agents here.
  • Farmers' Market Grants. Farm Credit East is now accepting applications from markets in Maine and most of New England. Grants of up to $1,000 can be used to support participating farmers, market enhancements, marketing efforts and/or programs to help disadvantaged communities or improve access to fresh, local food. Application deadline is Monday, June 8.
  • MOFGA Certification Services (MCS) is waiving late fees for certification renewal through the end of May. Farmers and processors who have March and April renewal due dates and have not yet filed their updates for certification renewal in 2020 can do so now through the end of May without paying the associated late fees, as MCS is not imposing those fees in a gesture of support and forgiveness during these difficult times. Remember: If you cannot pay your entire fees with the update renewal, please contact the MCS office or your specialist to work out a payment plan. Please don't delay getting your update to MCS!


Get on the Map!



Upcoming Webinars


  • Weekly Zoom meetings for farmers hosted by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, every Friday, 10 a.m. Farmers and others share what is happening on their farms and what is and isn't working well. This is a chance to chat with others throughout the state to stay connected in these difficult times. Often a guest presents and/or a topic is given. Past meeting notes are archived on its site. This Friday, May 29, the guest will be Amanda Beal, commissioner of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. Please preregister for this free event.




  • Farmhand Automation seeks farmer input on robotics R&D. In seeking funding, this company (which has also been giving free tech assistance to farmers to develop online sales platforms during the COVID-19 crisis) wants to conduct half-hour interviews with farmers interested in helping it assess the needs and uses for its technology. Participating farmers should be involved primarily in vegetable production on 1 to 100 acres and have at least four employees. Use the above link to visit its website or sign up for a phone interview here.


Good News Department


  • Amid Pandemic, Maine Farmers Markets Are Busier Than Ever. This May 20 article in MaineBiz describes many successful efforts and trends with markets across the state, including online ordering, expanded booth layouts and new outdoor venues, one-way pedestrian traffic, prebagged options, and more -- and how these efforts have led to more customers and sales than ever before for many farmers. Written by Laurie Schreiber.


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