Category: Farming

Reduction of Plastic in the Whole Farm System

By Holli Cederholm Organic agriculture has a plastic problem. The problem is, said vegetable producer Lincoln Fishman, plastic is useful. Drip tape for irrigation, bread trays for harvest, and perforated bags and woven plastic feed sacks are all “beautiful inventions,” he told a room of growers during a session on plastic reduction at MOFGA’s Farmer

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Working Together as a Family at Farr Homestead

By Sonja Heyck-Merlin In Denver, Colorado, Steve Farr was a full-time computer systems engineer at a university and later at a consulting firm. “Being gone 10 to 12 hours a day, I felt like I hardly knew my children,” he says. “I wanted to do something different, and my wife Kari and I came to

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Is Organic Farming Contributing to a Plastic Apocalypse?

By David McDaniel I am an organic farmer recovering from a heavy reliance on and addiction to the agricultural plastic needed to make my commercial farm competitive, productive and profitable. I got into organic farming for the noble purpose of working in a vocation that would theoretically pay a livable wage while allowing me to

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Ararat Farms

By Holli Cederholm Like many small- to mid-scale certified-organic vegetable farms, Ararat Farms in Lincolnville, Maine, aims to provide quality, healthy products to the surrounding community. Farm managers Emilia Carbone and Jed Beach have an additional goal: They want their produce to outshine the standard grocery store vegetables in terms of flavor, nutrient density and

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Marcus Terentius Varro Wrote The Old, Old Farmers’ Almanac

The beginning of De Re Rustica by Varro. Text from http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Varro/de_Re_Rustica/1*.html By John Koster Marcus Terentius Varro wrote some 620 books, but only the nearest and dearest to his heart – Rerum Rusticarum Libri Tres, Three Books on Farming – survived in complete form. That’s probably because enough people had one copied out to increase the odds of its survival

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Grassland Farm

Sarah and Garin Smith, shown here with their children, Cedar and Reed, own and operate Grassland Farm in Skowhegan. Photo courtesy of Red Door Media. By Holli Cederholm Grassland Farm spans roughly 300 acres in Skowhegan, Maine, and as its name implies, more than half the land is open acreage used for rotational grazing and

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Agricultural Plastic Part II Recycling

Many agricultural plastics, including some row covers, are difficult or impossible to recycle. English photo By David McDaniel In the summer 2019 MOF&G, I discussed how Maine farmers depend on many plastic products and the difficulties of recycling these materials. Here I review some of the limited ways to recycle agricultural plastic and types of plastic to

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Recycling Agricultural Plastic I

The author’s third high tunnel with a fourth shown under construction. Photo by David McDaniel By David McDaniel Maine commercial farmers are addicted to plastic. Whether we farm organically or conventionally, the economics of modern farming drive our dependence on petroleum-based plastic products. We use acres of black plastic mulch to warm our cold northern soil and

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How Safely Do You Operate Your Tractor

2017 tractor safety course students at Hall’s Implement Co. in Windham with instructors Jason Lilley (UMaine Cooperative Extension, Cumberland County) and George Hall. Photo courtesy of Jason Lilley By Ellen S. Gibson, Farm Education Specialist, Maine AgrAbility How did you learn to drive a tractor? As a woman who began farming in her 40s, I know that training

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