Latest News from the Farmers' Network



Farm Service Agency offers help with damages from Windstorm Oct. 30, 2017                                                                                                   Thurs 02 Nov 2017 

   If farmers have damage from the storm, such as debris on cropland or damaged fencing, please contact the Farm Service Agency in Scarborough at 207-883-0159 x 2.  This type of damage may be eligible cost-sharing through the Emergency Conservation Program.  Repairs to greenhouses or other farm operations may be eligible for a farm loan through our office. Thanks to Sandy Truslow of the FSA for sharing this info: sandy.truslow@me.usda.gov. 


YCFN member Farming Fungi and its Mousam Valley Mushrooms highlighted in Mainebiz Magazine                                                   Fri 21 July 2017 

   Maine and gourmet mushrooms make a great match, and several growers were recently highlighted in the July 10 issue of Mainebiz magazine.

Check out the news here, on Springvale's own Mousam Valley Mushrooms, produced by YCFN member Farming Fungi.  Owners John Sharood, daughter and marketing manager Emily Sharood, and operations manager Aron Gonsalves are featured.  Good news for this growing sector!


Spotted Wing Drosophila Pest Updates                                                                                                                                                                       Tues 18 July 2017

   Small berry (raspberry and highbush blueberry) growers, be sure to check this UMaine Extension resource for the latest on pest conditions and control recommendations:  Spotted Wing Drosophila Alerts Blog

Recent update:  July 17 Spotted Wing Drosophila Alert


2017 Census of Agriculture - Make sure you are counted!                                                                                                                Fri 05 May 2017 WASHINGTON — America’s farmers and ranchers have the opportunity to strongly represent agriculture in their communities and industry by taking part in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Conducted every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the census, to be mailed at the end of this year, is a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches, and those who operate them.

  Producers who are new to farming or did not receive a Census of Agriculture in 2012 still have time to sign up to receive the 2017 Census of Agriculture report form: Visit www.agcensus.usda.gov and click on the ‘Make Sure You Are Counted’ button through June. NASS defines a farm as any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the census year (2017).

For more information, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov or call (800) 727-9540.

   The Census of Agriculture highlights land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures, and other topics. The 2012 Census of Agriculture revealed that over three million farmers operated more than two million farms, spanning over 914 million acres. This was a four percent decrease in the number of U.S. farms from the previous census in 2007.  However, agriculture sales, income, and expenses increased between 2007 and 2012.  “For farmers and ranchers, participation in the 2017 Census of Agriculture is their voice, their future, and their opportunity to shape American agriculture – its policies, services and assistance programs – for years to come,” NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer says.


2018 Farm Bill Resources                                                                                                                                                                                 Fri 16 Dec 2016

   Farmers and those with farm businesses may find these American Farm Bureau Federation web resources useful in understanding the 2018 Farm Bill:

http://www.fb.org/issues/farm-bill/farm-bureau-farm-bill-resources-in-depth/


York County Food Hub Feasibility Study Results 2016                                                                                                                                         Mon 05 Dec 2016

   The Initiative to Explore the Feasibility of a York County Food Hub was produced by Kathy Connor and associates of the Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission, in partnership with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension in York County, and the York County Farmers' Network (YCFN). This year-long study involved compiling data and input from a variety of sources, including: a detailed questionnaire sent to York County farmers, along with farmers from southern Oxford County; surveys sent to buyers (grocers and institutions); targeted discussions with YCFN groups over the year; in-depth interviews with several York County farmers; and information from the Unity (Maine) Food Hub, which has been operating for about a year. 

   The results address the possibilities and potential for a York County Food Hub -- covering why a food hub might be needed, what it would look like, how it might operate, and how farmers and the communities would benefit -- and are available in the following documents:

Download
FINAL REPORT - Food Hub Feasibility Study - USDA-AMS LFPP
Food-Hub-Feasibility-Study-Final-Report.
Adobe Acrobat Document 1.6 MB
Download
York County Farmers Survey Summary - September 2016
York-County-Farmers-Survey-Summary-Sept-
Adobe Acrobat Document 748.5 KB
Download
Institutional Survey Summary - September 2016
YCFN-Institutional-Survey-Summary-Sept-2
Adobe Acrobat Document 710.7 KB
Download
Major Grocery Store Survey Summary - September 2016
YCFN-Major-Grocery-Store-Survey-Summary-
Adobe Acrobat Document 79.3 KB
Download
Food Scan - September 2016
YCFN-Food-Scan-Sept-2016.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 101.5 KB


USDA Offers Assistance to Maine Farmers and Livestock Producers Impacted by Drought                                                                                  Tues 11 Oct 2016 

Farm Service Agency Stands Ready to Assist Agricultural Producers Affected by the Drought

Bangor, Maine.  U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Maine Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director, Don Todd, reminds farmers and livestock producers of federal farm program benefits that may be available to help eligible producers recover from drought.  FSA offers disaster assistance and low-interest loan programs to assist agricultural producers experiencing drought conditions or similar qualifying natural disasters.  For more information on disaster assistance programs and loans visit www.fsa.usda.gov/ or contact your local FSA office, for York and Cumberland Counties, in Scarborough: Sandy Truslow, County Executive Director, at (207) 883-0159 x 2 or sandy.truslow@me.usda.gov.  Some of the available programs include:

·       Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) - provides financial assistance to producers of non-insurable crops when low yields, loss of inventory, or prevented planting occur due to natural disasters (includes native grass for grazing). Eligible producers must have purchased NAP coverage for 2016 crops.

·       Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) - provides compensation to eligible livestock producers who have suffered grazing losses for covered livestock on land that is native or improved pastureland with permanent vegetative cover or is planted specifically for grazing. The grazing losses must be due to a qualifying drought condition during the normal grazing period for the county.

·       Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) - provides emergency relief for losses due to feed or water shortages, disease, adverse weather, or other conditions, which are not adequately addressed by other disaster programs. ELAP provides assistance for losses resulting from the cost of transporting water to livestock due to an eligible drought. Producers can apply to receive ELAP assistance at local FSA service centers. For the 2016 program year the application period will end on Nov. 1, 2016.

·       Emergency Loan Program – Available to producers with agriculture operations located in a county under a primary or contiguous Secretarial Disaster designation. These low interest loans help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought.  


York County included in Federal Natural Disaster Area Designation

 Wed 24 Aug 2016

WASHINGTON, Aug. 17, 2016 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated York County, Maine, and eight counties in New Hampshire as primary natural disaster areas due to losses caused by freeze and unseasonably warm temperatures that occurred from Feb. 1, 2016, through April 30, 2016.  The impact on orchard trees and some small fruit crops was significant in southern Maine.  If your farm business suffered losses due to these weather conditions, see the full news release below, and especially the federal Tree Assistance Program noted in last paragraph.

Download
Natural Disaster Area announcement: York County, Maine, and 8 NH Counties
YorkCoDisasterNewsRelease08_17_2016.docx
Microsoft Word Document 87.2 KB