Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Resources for Farmers

Resources for Farmers

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.


Maine Local Market Reports

Market reports compiled by MOFGA and Maine Farmland Trust for the purpose of supporting farmer and buyer communication and creating clarity in a rapidly changing market.


 

Farmer Programs Newsletter for May 11, 2020

Hi folks,

Each week we have new material in the Farmer Programs Newsletter, so give it at least a quick look! We try not to repeat too much of the info, as the back issues from this spring are archived and readily available on the MOFGA website here. For the time being we are producing new issues of the newsletter weekly because so much is going on and changing rapidly. 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.

Resources

 

  • Free cloth face masks available to farms, made available by the Maine Dept. of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) in partnership with the Maine Dept. 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.

  • PPE and Other Farm Supplies for COVID-19 spreadsheet, curated by Nicolas Lindholm of MOFGA. Regularly updated list of sources for important items including hand sanitizer, nitrile gloves, face masks, hand washing station supplies, and sanitizable produce boxes/totes for harvesting, CSA pickup, etc.

  • Vendor Practices at Market During COVID-19 recorded webinar. Hosted by the Maine Federation of Farmers' Markets (MFFM). This webinar is an orientation for Maine farmers' market vendors to learn what best practices they must follow. Topics covered include pre-ordering, booth setup, payment processing, product handling, and how best practices pertain to every aspect of your booth's operations. 1 hour 36 mins. Slides and notes available separately.

  • Developers Helping Producers is a Maine-based tech provider offering free services to help set up an online sales platform during the pandemic. It offers advice and site building for any Maine food producer or business, including farms, seafood producers, artisan food producers, distilleries and breweries.

  • Best Management Practices for U-Pick Farms During the COVID-19 Pandemic bulletin, published by Cornell University. With the coronavirus outbreak, new management practices will be needed to protect your farm team and your customers. This document provides recommended practices and communication strategies for U-Pick operations for the 2020 season.

  • Sourcing Piglets from Out of State bulletin, published by Univ. of Maine Cooperative Extension. Information and regulations for buying and bringing in piglets from outside of Maine during the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • Farm Coaching: Supporting Relationships for Farm Success is a support network and program to assist farmers who are challenged by stress and who need to create or recreate healthy relationships with partners, family, employees, etc. Farm coaching is a time to talk with coaches who can guide you through activities and conversations to improve your communication and ways of working together with your family, work partners and employees. This service, provided by the Beginning Farmers Resource Network, is open to all farmers, and it has recently begun publishing short written features called Small Bites with practical tips for farm resiliency, reflection and focus to support well-being. The first Small Bite is titled "Schedules Can Help."

 

Get on the Map!

 

 

Upcoming Webinars

 

  • Dealing with Stress Zoom meeting. May 12, 5 p.m. Opportunity to talk about the new and many stresses and how you're dealing with them. Staff from MOFGA will join Karen Groat, farm coach and executive director of Family & Community Mediation; Leslie Forstadt, farm coach, human development specialist with UMaine Cooperative Extension and director of the Maine Agricultural Mediation Program; and Polly Shyka, farm coach and co-owner/operator of Villageside Farm. A very short presentation will kick off small group conversations in breakout rooms. Hosted by MOFGA. Free of charge.

  • Behavioral Health Planning: A Key to Farming in the COVID-19 Era webinar. May 12, 1 p.m. Focus will be on developing plans and habits for handling the many uncertainties and stresses of farming in the face of the current pandemic. Learn how to develop behavior plans that address signs of physical and emotional distress, daily behavior practices that nurture one another even if isolation becomes necessary, looking out for neighbors and loved ones while maintaining physical distance, building a support network that can be contacted when specific expertise is needed, and more. Hosted by AgriSafe Network, with Northeast Center for Occupational Health & Safety. Free of charge.

  • Guidance for Pick-Your-Own Operations During COVID-19 webinar. May 12, 5:30 p.m. Discussion of the best management practices for pick-your-own farms during the COVID-19 outbreak, covering key considerations for keeping you, your crew and your customers safe, while still allowing pick-your-own to happen this year. Hosted by Univ. of Maine Cooperative Extension, with Maine DACF. Free of charge.

  • Fresh Pack Wild Blueberry Harvest and Cleaning Line Zoom meeting. May 13, 9 a.m. Discussion of ideas about how to protect yourself, your workers and your customers this harvest season. Hosted by Univ. of Maine Cooperative Extension.

  • USDA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Funding webinar. May 19, 1:30 p.m. Learn about a USDA grant fund for innovative products, technology or services that can include topics such as small and midsized farms, forestry and aquaculture.  Workshop and presentations led by a USDA SBIR program manager and a Maine Technology Institute (MTI) staff member. Hosted by MTI. Free of charge.

  • Weekly Zoom meetings for farmers hosted by UMaine 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 15, Senator Susan Collins will be the guest. Please preregister.

 

Public Comment Requests and Surveys

 

 

Good News Department

 

  • Increased Interest in Local Food article from Ellsworth American, May 1, 2020. Includes quotes from Sarah Alexander, MOFGA's executive director, and a synopsis of the Emergency Grant Fund that MOFGA and Maine Farmland Trust successfully ran in collaboration to assist farms affected by the pandemic.

  • Waldo County Bounty article from Penobscot Bay Pilot, May 7, 2020. A new community fundraising and resource sharing campaign just launched in Waldo County to meet immediate, essential food security needs. Many area farms are involved, as is MOFGA!

 

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