Sunday Morning Sessions * Sunday Afternoon Sessions * Keynote Speaker * Monday Morning Sessions
Sunday Morning Sessions
9:15 am - 12:15 pm
A. Monitoring and Managing Nitrogen During the Growing Season
John Spargo, Penn State University
Dave Colson, MOFGA & New Leaf Farm, Durham
Nitrogen is by far the plant nutrient most difficult to get right for organic crops. Predicting when organic nitrogen fertilizer actually becomes available for the crop from the organic materials applied in spring field preparation is hard enough, but add to that all the losses of nitrogen due to weather, and farmers have quite the challenge. Sometimes we get it wrong and nitrogen is deficient for optimum yield. Soil scientist John Spargo will be with us to discuss recognizing problems before it is too late, understanding the science behind the problem, and selecting and applying mid-season “rescue treatment” materials. Dave Colson will discuss how they handle this on the farm. 1 pesticide recertification credit available.*
B. Innovative Berry Production in the Field and High Tunnel
David Handley, University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Becky Sideman, UNH
Berries can be a delicious and profitable enterprise for Maine farmers, but emerging pests threaten to make berry production a challenging endeavor indeed. Growers need to understand these threats and be willing to innovate and adapt in response. David and Becky will lead us on a virtual tour of some of the innovative production and pest management techniques that they have seen on farms in the recent past. 2 pesticide recertification credits available.*
Joseph Orefice, Paul Smith's College
Luis G. Feliciano, Miel Farm and Apiary
Silvopasturing is a valuable way to use land that would be otherwise ignored. Animals can gain nutrients from plants in woody areas that are not available in standard forages. Joe and Luis will explain their two different methods of achieving these goals.
D. Hoophouse Crops through the Year on Three Farms
Andy Wingard, Six River Farm, Bowdoinham
Beth Schiller, Dandelion Spring Farm, Newcastle
Nancy Steadman, Little River Flower Farm, Buxton
This is a survey of how three different farms manage their hoophouses – what they grow, timing for planting and harvesting, number of crops, fertility, and crop revenues. Andy will discuss how they use their hoophouses to grow tomatoes, strawberries, winter greens, and more. Beth will talk about her crops, including cucumbers in pots, winter greens, determinate and indeterminate tomatoes, and more. Nancy will talk about their winter greens and flowers. Learn how different farms make the most of their hoophouse infrastructure year round and move through the different crops, and consider how to include these possibilities in your own farm system.
E. Farm Food Safety in the Age of the FDA
Roger Noonan, New England Farmer's Union and Middle Branch Farm, New Boston, NH
Cheryl Wixson, MOFGA & Cheryl Wixson's Kitchen
Dave Colson, MOFGA, NSAC (National Sustainable Ag. Coalition) and New Leaf Farm, Durham
The comment period for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) has been extended until November 15, 2013. The implications of this legislation are far-reaching, depending upon your farm specifics and markets served. Participants in this session will understand how this could effect their farms and markets, and have the opportunity to learn how other farms are implementing farm food safety measures. Roger Noonan is President of New England Farmer's Union and a certified organic farmer. Cheryl Wixson is MOFGA's food safety specialist and a certified organic food processor and farmer. 1 pesticide recertification credit available.*
F. Scaling your Operation Sanely and Successfully
John Hendrickson, University of Wisconsin Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems
Chris Cavendish, Fishbowl Farm, Bowdoinham
What is the most sustainable and profitable scale and level of enterprise diversity for a family farm operation in Northern New England? Many factors go into making that determination - from land base and markets to family and quality-of-life needs. John Hendrickson has studied this question empirically and will share some important insights and findings from his work. Chris Cavendish will share the story of the evolution of his farm model, from a medium-scale, highly diversified direct-to-consumer operation to a focus on producing a single, high-value crop for wholesale markets.
G. Focus on Marketing: Telling Your Farm Story
Stacy Brenner, Broadturn Farm
Elsie Gawler & Anna Yentes, North Branch Farm
Edith Gawler, Sylvester Manor Educational Farm
Mary Margaret Ripley, Ripley Farm
Join us for this marketing session in which several farmers will discuss how such story-telling strategies as maintaining a blog, taking photographs and connecting with their customers through social media have impacted their farms and businesses. A familiarity with blogs, social media and digital technology will be helpful in gaining the most from this session.
Sunday Afternoon Sessions
2:30 - 5:30pm
H. On-Farm Compost Production: Making It Worth Your While
Tony Ramsey, Living Acres Compost, New Sharon
Mike Bahner, Bahner Farm, Belmont
Making compost on your farm can be an important and cost-effective way to manage fertility and close nutrient cycles. Opportunities are increasing for farmers to develop efficient, quality on-farm composting operations, but logistic and technical issues still remain. Join Tony Ramsey for an overview of on-farm compost production considerations and techniques, and hear from Mike Bahner about how he has developed and is tweaking his operation.
I. Small Brassicas Through the Season
Paul Gallione, Johnnys Selected Seeds
Ramona Snell, Snell Family Farm, Buxton
Mary Ellen Chadd, Green Spark Farm, Cape Elizabeth
Learn varieties and strategies for production growing of quick brassicas through the summer, including choi crops, radishes, broccoli raab, and Japanese broccoli. Presenters will discuss tricks of small brassica production, including variety selections, growing dates and succession timing, direct seeding versus transplanting, soil prep, spacing, crop care, and the multiple harvested products from these profitable quick crops. 1 pesticide recertification credit available.*
J. Pig 202: Advanced Swine Management
Karma and Michael Glos, Kingbird Farm, Berkshire, NY
Sara Faull and Genio Bertin, Mandala Farm, Gouldsboro
Between them, the folks from Kingbird and Mandala farms have many years of management experience. Come, listen, engage; bring your questions and concerns. This promises to be a lively session.
K. Organic No-Till Vegetable Production
Jay & Polly Armour, Four Winds Farm, Gardiner, NY
This session will highlight one method for organic no-till vegetable production that has potential to work in our climate. Jay and Polly Armour grow vegetables using a method that is very different from conventional farms. Their garden space is never plowed or rototilled. Vegetables are grown in permanently formed beds, some of which have been in place for 17 years. Jay and Polly will discuss how their system works and how they have been able to become less dependent on energy-consuming tractors and capital-consuming equipment. They'll cover how they started no-till farming, how they make and spread the compost that plays a big role in the system, how their weed pressure has been reduced, and how they grow and market vegetables. 1 pesticide recertification credit available.*
L. Used Vegetable Equipment: Finding, Evaluating, and Buying
Martin Diffley, Organic Farming Works, Farmington, MN
Nate Drummond, Six River Farm, Bowdoinham
Buying a solution or creating a problem? Join veteran farmer and equipment aficianado for a practical workshop on small and mid-sized used vegetable equipment. Determining your equipment needs and options includes knowing what's available and how it fits into your growing system, along with how to find it and evaluate its condition. Also explore ownership, leasing, sharing, and custom-work options and ROI - Return On Investment - with a look at the true costs of equipment, including repairs, history, and useful life.
M. Quality Of Life: Systems and Communication Tools for a Healthy Farm Partnership
Atina Diffley, Organic Farming Works, Farmington, MN
Leslie Forstadt, University of Maine Cooperative Extension
A farming business partnership can be a relationship disaster or a positive and productive experience. Farming is a demanding lifestyle; learn communication skills and systems, to balance family, farm, relationships, and self. This is an active workshop, based on exercises, dialog between partners, and sharing with the group of participants. Get ready to roll up your sleeves and do the deep work that opens the way for healthy relationships. This workshop is designed for farm partners – business, domestic, married – where both parties are engaged in the farm decision making and/or work activity and are committed to working on a healthy relationship. Can be attended alone but with your partner is recommended as the majority of time will be spent doing exercises specific to your operation and discussing with your partner and the group. This workshop is not intended or designed to address relationships that have deteriorated into a state of opposition.
N. Harnessing the Power of your Smartphone & Making it Work for Your Farm
John Bliss & Stacy Brenner, Broadturn Farm, Scarborough
Sam Hazlehurst, Terranian Farm, Troy
Come and hear how several farmers are harnessing smart phones and related technologies to enhance planning, record keeping, mapping, and track inventory and sales. Farmers will discuss a range of software including Square, Google Earth, Google Docs, and Dropbox.
O. Farm Engineering & Design Pecha Kucha
Andrew Marshall, MOFGA
Farmers are inveterate tinkerers, improvers, and better-mousetrap-builders. To provide a forum for sharing these innovations, we are again borrowing a model from the art and design world, called Pecha Kucha, in which a number of presenters stand up to share and talk about their work for a few minutes each, inviting dialogue and further exploration. We invite folks to share their own farm-developed and engineered labor and time-saving designs for systems, tools, equipment, or other aspects of their enterprise. Examples can include livestock housing/feeding/watering systems; wash station layout & design; harvest systems & tools; low-cost high tunnel design; hand tools; tractor & implement mods; and other innovative ideas sprung out of necessity. If you have an idea for something but haven't developed the prototype yet, you are also welcome to engage the group in a brainstorming challenge. Contact Andrew Marshall to reserve your presentation slot.
Keynote Address 8:00 am
Atina Diffley: Creating Change Through Relationships
We live in relationships – with the earth, plants and animals, families and communities. As organic farmers on the land, we have the daily opportunity to provide ecosystem services that serve our communities beyond the raw products produced. But our legal systems don’t give nature a right of its own in a court of law, and our policies and markets are based on economics rather ecology. The task of representing the land, water, and nature falls to us. As farmers we have powerful relationships with the people we feed and clothe, and a unique opportunity to educate and lead our customers in citizen, political, and legal campaigns. Join author and organic farmer, Atina Diffley in considering your opportunities to educate and lead in this social movement.
Atina Diffley is an organic farmer, activist, and author of the Minnesota Book Award winning memoir, Turn Here Sweet Corn: Organic Farming Works (available at the MOFGA Country Store). From 1985 to 2008, she and her husband Martin ran the Gardens of Eagan, an urban-edge, organic vegetable farm, which he started in 1973. Her advocacy has addressed the pressures of suburban development, and she successfully led a legal and citizen campaign against the notorious polluters, Koch Industries, to create an Organic Mitigation Plan for organic farms in Minnesota, and to reroute the crude oil pipeline to protect organic farms and local food. Atina can be reached at www.atinadiffley.com.
Monday Morning Sessions
9:30 am - 12:30 pm
P. Advanced Cover Crop Management: Theory and Equipment
Marianne Sarrantonio, University of Maine
Rob Johanson, Goranson Farm, Dresden
Jason Kafka, Checkerberry Farm, Parkman
Cover crops can be used for many things like weed suppression or to add organic matter, but this session will focus on the specifics of using cover crops to add nitrogen and to hold nutrients. Specific crops, timing, planting methods, and plow down strategies will be covered. When do you have too many weeds in your cover crop? How much N is available in early stages of the crop? How do you decide to go to a two year cover and how much more organic matter and N do you get? These are the questions that will be tackled by Marianne Sarratonio of the UMaine. Two experienced farmers, Rob Johanson and Jason Kafka, will describe the equipment they use to seed, cut, and incorporate the cover crop as well as to seed or transplant a cash crop into the cover crop trash. This is an advanced session, and participants should be familiar with The Northeast Cover Crop Handbook. 1 pesticide recertification credit available.*
Q. Beyond Mesclun: Innovations in Salad Greens
Paul Gallione, Johnny Selected Seeds
Brendan McQuillen, Morning Dew Farm, Newcastle
Paul Gallione will discuss the specifics of some salad greens other than mesclun: mini-head lettuce, salanova, claytonia, mache, cress, etc. Brendan McQuillen will describe the techniques they use for mini head lettuce, including fertility, planting schemes, varieties, and the economics of production, plus the techniques they use for growing up to 40 pounds a week of micro greens, pea shoots, and sunflower sprouts, including the economics.
R. New & Alternative Feed Crops for Ruminants
Heather Darby, UVM
Richard Kersbergen, University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Douglas Hartkopf, Hart to Hart Farm, Albion
Heather Darby, Rick Kersbergen, and Douglas Hartkopf will speak on alternative annual feed crops that you could plant for your ruminant animals.
S. Logistics and Economics of Farrowing
Karma & Michael Glos, Kingbird Farm,
Alice Percy, Treble Ridge Farm, Whitefield
Karma and Michael Glos and Alice Percy have been raising certified organic piglets for many years. Come hear how it can be done and get in on the burgeoning market for organic piglets!
T. Brightening your Farm's Financial Outlook
John Hendrickson, University of Wisconsin
Don Todd & Deborah Dufour, USDA Farm Service Agency
Join speakers from FSA and John Hendrickson for a session about financial benchmarks on organic vegetable farms. Speakers will talk about case studies and share samples of financial benchmarks from farms of similar scales to those in Maine. You'll leave the session with information about how to evaluate your own farm using common financial statements (balance sheets, profit & loss), as well as tips for improving your farm's financial outlook.
U. Vegetable Farm Systems: Planting, Timing, and Spacing
Prentice Grassi, Village Farm, Freedom
Andrew Mefferd, One Drop Farm, Cornville
Amanda Provencher, King Hill Farm, Penobscot
An overview of how three different farms plan their crops. Which crops do they start as seedlings and which do they direct sow; what size plugs are used and how long are the seedlings grown before being set out; what is used for fertility; what is the plant spacing in the field; how often are crops planted; and how soon are crops harvested. Crops to be discussed include the Crucifer familes, Alliums, and Nightshades. 1 pesticide recertification credit available.*
V. The Times, They Are A-Changin’: New Pests, Old Pests, and Management
Eric Sideman, MOFGA
Seth Kroeck, Crystal Spring Farm, Brunswick
The pest scene is an ever-changing landscape. You can blame it on the weather, or something like that, but it seems that every year there is a new insect or disease that everyone is talking about. The new edition of the Resource Guide to Organic Insect and Disease Management is out, and Eric Sideman will introduce that and discuss the new emerging problems countering vegetable production. Seth Kroeck of Crystal Spring Farm will talk about their management of pests and tell some stories of success and failure. 3 pesticide recertification credits available.*
* By April 1, 2015 any grower who annually sells more than $1,000 worth of plants or plant products intended for human consumption and who use general use pesticides (including those approved for use in organic production) must obtain an Agricultural Basic pesticide applicator license from Maine's Board of Pesticides Control.