2012 Farmer-to-Farmer Conference

November 9 – 11 – Point Lookout Resort, Northport, ME
For more info and to register: http://www.mofga.org/Default.aspx?tabid=293

MOFGA’s Farmer to Farmer Conference….

  • Is known for its intimacy, in-depth treatment of topics, and amazing discussions.
  • Is based on the idea that farmers learn best from their peers and other practitioners.
  • Features prominent and accessible university faculty,extension educators, and other agricultural professionals.
  • Features a unique 3-hour workshop session format, in which one half is dedicated to talks by both agricultural service professionals and farmers, and the other to a round table discussion intended to solicit and capitalize on the accumulated knowledge of all the farmers in attendance.
  • Serves delicious meals featuring local, organic food.
  • Is a rare and wonderful opportunity to get off the farm and catch up with fellow farmers.

Learn a lot, eat well, share your expertise, make new friends, and reconnect with old ones at the 2012 MOFGA Farmer to Farmer Conference!

2012 Directory of MOFGA Certified Farms, Food and Products

Hot off the press…

If you’d like copies for your store, farm stand, or just to hand out to friends and neighbors,
please email mofga@mofga.org

Pasture – You May Have a Problem If…

Ruminant livestock producers take note!  The NOP revised its organic standards for pasture in February. Certified producers have through June 16, 2011 to come into full compliance.

Here is an overview of some of the main changes in the revised rule:
•    All ruminant livestock over 6 months of age must graze at least 30% of their dry matter from pasture for a minimum 120 day grazing season.
•    All livestock over 6 months must have outdoor access, even in the winter.
•    After 6 months of age, dairy calves must be housed/grazed in groups.
•    Confinement of animals is only allowed for very specific reasons, which are defined in some detail in the rule, including:

  1. inclement weather, defined as weather that might cause physical harm. (i.e.: sleet)—weather that lowers the production rate of the animal below its maximum is not considered “inclement”;
  2. conditions that jeopardize animal health and safety (i.e.: icy barnyard);
  3. risk to soil/water quality (i.e.: prolonged muddy spell);
  4. preventative health treatment (i.e.: high parasite infestation period for calves);
  5. for dry-off of dairy animals, for up to 1 week; and,
  6. up to 3 weeks pre- and one week post-parturition.

This is not an exhaustive list, so please check out the rule for yourself.  Click here for more info.

You may have trouble complying with the new regulation if:
•    Total animal units (1000 lbs of liveweight) per acre are more than 1-2.
•    A similar ration is fed in the barn winter and summer.
•    Pastures are not rotated, or there are only “night” & “day” pastures.
•    In a continuous grazing system, there are less than 2-3 acres of grazing per animal.
•    Goat farmers relying primarily on browse.  This is not a problem, but will require a slightly different approach for inspection and verification.  The NOP will be posting guidelines for small ruminant pasture, browse, and rangeland (continuous grazing) systems on their website.
•    Youngstock have not been a part of any pasture rotation, or have limited pasture access.
•    Animals are off of pasture for more than half of any 24-hour period (including milking and barn or bunk feeding).
•    Rough calculation of DMI is anywhere below 40%.
•    There are periods of the summer when forage is extremely short, due to soil or local climatic variations (i.e.: being in a rain shadow).
•    Grazing season is around 120 days, and could fall below that in an unseasonably, but not extremely, dry, wet, or cold year.
•    Periods of low forage production are commonly filled in by feeding extra grain, hay, etc., in the barn (this will probably only be a concern if DMI is close to 30% initially, or there are one or more of the other extenuating circumstances listed above).

If you have questions about the new pasture rule—specific language, what it means for your farm’s certification, or to talk about a special circumstance, please contact us at MCS (568-4142).   There are also many resources available, free of charge, to help you develop or improve a pasture system to work with this new rule.
U-Maine Extension, Rick Kersbergen, Waldo, 342-5971 or 1-800-287-1426, richardk@umext.maine.edu; or Gary Anderson, Associate Extension Professor at UMO, garya@umext.maine.edu 1-800-287-7170; or Dee Potter, Fort Kent, 1-800-287-1421, dpotter@umext.maine.edu.
MOFGA, Diane Schivera, Organic Livestock Specialist, 568-4142, dianes@mofga.org.
Maine Grass Farmers Network, Gabe Clark, gabe.clark@coldspringranch.com or call 329-3800 or 628-4272.
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.  Contact your local field office.

A concise list (PDF) of GRAZING RESOURCES can be downloaded under the list of LINKS to the right.

The best thing about the new rule?  Improving your grazing system may save you money and labor, too!

More on Pesticides

When organic growers and enthusiasts of organic food think of pesticides, many are not picturing the products that are allowed in organic agriculture under the National Organic Program Rule.  But truth be told, any substance used to kill or hassle organisms (most commonly weeds, insects, rodents, bacteria and fungi) that attack crops, is considered a pesticide. Therefore, approved-for-organic pest or disease control inputs such as those made from garlic, microorganisms, clay, sulfur, copper, or hydrogen peroxide are all pesticides.  Some, if used improperly, can cause harm to people and the environment.  As the farmer applying these products on your farm, you do not need a special applicator or handler license.  However, you are required to follow the label instructions on each product you use, and if you have employees, additional safety regulations apply.  Pesticide application records must also be maintained, for both BPC inspectors and MCS organic inspectors.

If you sell crops and you are producing them organically, you must be using pest control products that meet several requirements:

1.  Products must be in compliance with the National Organic Rule. This is why you must let MOFGA Certification Services know about your pesticide control products before you use them.

2. Products must also be labeled for commercial use.  In other words, if the pesticide label states that it can only be used on home gardens or in back yard landscaping, then it must not be used by farmers producing crops for sale.  Read and follow all pesticide labels carefully.  They are legal contracts.

3. In the State of Maine, all products used as pesticides, even ones that do not have to be registered with EPA, must be registered with the State.  There is a website you can use to check if products are registered in Maine:


4. Making your own pesticide formulations is not allowed and may pose food safety issues.

We offered three training sessions with the Maine Board of Pesticide Control (BPC) this year and we plan to schedule more this coming winter.  Organic growers can contact BPC directly with questions:

For information on Certification & Licensing, Pesticide Laws & Regulations, and the Worker Protection Standard, visit the Maine Board of Pesticides Control, or contact:

Gary Fish, Manager of Pesticide Programs
Maine Board of Pesticides Control
State House Station #28
Augusta, ME 04333-0028
(207) 287-2731

Welcome to our website.

We offer certification services to Maine organic farmers and processors and handlers of organic agricultural products.  We certify organic agricultural products to the USDA National Organic Standards.  Look for the MOFGA Certified Organic seal at farmers markets and stores when you shop.

Products we certify include vegetables, fruits, herbs, field crops, wild crafted crops, maple syrup, hay, livestock and livestock products, dairy, and value-added products such as cheese, roasted coffee, preserves, baking mixes, and specialty oils.  Click here for more info on the services we provide.

We certify approximately 350 farms and 40 processors within the state of Maine.  Click this to view a list of our certified producers or to search for a particular organic product.

Do you need to better understand the organic standards and certification protocols?  Click this to view some excellent web sources for information.

Prefer in-person training?  MCS Staffers are giving presentations about getting certified at various locations in Maine starting with the Agricultural Trades Show in Augusta on Tuesday, January 12, 2010.  Click this link for the complete schedule of in-person trainings and seminars.

To download forms, policies and instructions for completing a certification application or amending an organic system plan, go to our Certification Forms page.

To learn more about MOFGA, our parent organization, and the many programs and resources MOFGA offers, please visit  www.mofga.org

Email: certification@mofga.org