Good information available from MOFGA’s Ag Services

Pest reports….If you grow crops, you’ll want to check out Eric Sideman’s pest reports.  Tomato & potato growers, we hope you are dodging late blight this season.

Price reports…Heather Omand’s summer price report can be found here.  If you value this information, consider contributing to the dataset.

And don’t forget about Organic Maine!  Free copies of our 68-page directory are available at natural food stores and other venues throughout Maine, and from the MOFGA Office. Call 207-568-4142 or email

Apply Now for Organic Certification

Mary Ellen and Austin Chadd of Green Spark Farm in Cape Elizabeth are two of more than 450 MOFGA certified organic farmers and farms.

Finally, spring has arrived in Maine, which means it is also the season to apply for organic certification for this year’s crops.

Producers marketing goods as organic or organically produced and grossing more than $5,000 per year in sales must have an organic certificate from an accredited certifier. Those interested in seeking organic certification for crops, livestock or wild-crafted products should contact a staff person at MOFGA Certification Services today by phone (207-568-4142) or by email ( to request a certification application by mail. Application forms and information about organic certification are also available at The deadline for MOFGA to accept applications from crop and crop-related farm systems is Tuesday, June 30, 2015.

Certified organic farmers and processors in Maine continue to be eligible for the federal cost share program, which refunds 75 percent of annual fees to a maximum of $750 per certification scope. For more information on cost-share, please read this overview here.  

Spring Growth Conference – Farming in the Face of Climate Change

Enjoying the mega snow drift at the end of your drive?  How will drought in the Southwest impact New England?  What climate changes are in store for Maine?

Join MOFGA, invited experts, and your colleagues in organic farming for this year’s Spring Growth Conference where we will explore how Maine farms can gain the resilience needed to go up against climate change.  More details for this event can be found HERE.

Saturday, March 7, 2015 (snow date Sunday, March 8)
10:00 am to 4:30 pm, MOFGA’s Common Ground Education Center, Unity, ME

Registration for this event is $50 for individuals, $75 for couples, and $25 for students and apprentices and FREE for JPs. Lunch is included.

Click on this LINK to register today.  

Hope to see you there.  Mary


MOFGA 2015 Growers Meetings

MOFGA 2015 Growers Meetings

MOFGA Agricultural Services and MOFGA Certification Services are pleased to announce this year’s Growers Meetings, which will take place in Cooperative Extension offices in Cumberland, Franklin, Hancock and Lincoln/Knox counties. Arrive in the morning for an opportunity to take the Pesticide Applicator License exam and join us from 1 to 4 p.m. for this year’s programming and to provide feedback on MOFGA’s Agricultural Services and Certification programs. You don’t need to be a MOFGA certified grower to attend the meeting; all are welcome, and staff will be available to answer questions about certification.

2015 Organic Growers Meetings Schedule

10:30 a.m. – Arrive if you are taking the Pesticide Applicator License exam

11:00 a.m. – Pesticide Applicator License Testing (Must RSVP at least 8 days prior to exam date)

1:00 p.m. – Introductions

1:15 p.m. – Certification. Staff from MOFGA Certification Services will highlight important changes regarding the National Organic Program as well as our own program. We will go over frequently asked questions and common mistakes made by producers seeking certification. A Q&A will follow. Staff will also be available for individual conversations with producers about their application paperwork.

2:00 p.m. – Soil Health. More than half a century ago, William Albrecht began talking about “feeding the soil to feed the plants,” and J. I. and Robert Rodale made this the king-pin of organic agriculture. The thesis is that healthy soil leads to healthful crops and healthy consumers. We will talk about what a healthy soil looks like and how to build and maintain it.

2:45 p.m. – Crop Planning. Crop planning is integral to a successful farm operation. Determining how crops will follow in a rotation as well as the ability to work green manures and cover crops into a rotation can be overwhelming. At each meeting local county farmers who have successfully created a crop rotation plan will present their strategies and the elements involved in the planning routine.

Our meeting dates and locations are as follows:

Cumberland County Growers Meeting
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Cumberland County Extension Office, 75 Clearwater Dr., Suite 104, Falmouth

Franklin County Growers Meeting
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Franklin County Extension Office, 138 Pleasant St., Suite 1, Farmington

Hancock County Growers Meeting
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Hancock County Extension Office, 63 Boggy Brook Rd., Ellsworth

Lincoln/Knox County Growers Meeting
Friday, March 27, 2015
Knox-Lincoln County Extension Office, 377 Manktown Rd., Waldoboro

For more information and to RSVP, visit and select the Growers Meeting option under the Events tab. We will send you the Pesticide Applicator License core manual if you indicate on your RSVP that you would like to take the exam. 

Pesticide Licensing Reminder

BPC Website Link:

In the spring of 2011, the Maine Legislature passed a law mandating that any grower who annually sells more than $1,000 worth of plants or plant products intended for human consumption and who uses any general use pesticides, including those approved for use in organic production, be licensed by April 1, 2015. To clarify who will need a license, the BPC recently developed a policy to address common questions. Note that growers who do not use any pesticides on their crops in the field but do use a sanitizer in wash water will need to go through the licensing process.

There are two ways to obtain a license. Growers can attend a training and testing session and then apply for the license after passing the test. Upcoming training opportunities are listed on the BPC website.  Alternatively, growers can obtain a training manual from their local Cooperative Extension office, study on their own at home and then return to the Cooperative Extension office to take the test. MOFGA’s upcoming winter Growers Meetings will be held at Cooperative Extension offices throughout the state in an effort to make this testing option easily accessible.  Growers should direct questions about testing options to Gary Fish ( or 207-287-2731). If you are an organic grower who is having difficulty obtaining a license, or would be interested in attending a training and testing at MOFGA in Unity, please let us know by contacting Katy Green ( or 207-568-4142).


Community, Connections, and Kohlrabi at the Common Ground Country Fair

by Kristen Farrell, Operations Assistant, MOFGA Certification Services 

The 38th annual Common Ground Country Fair brought over 50,000 people to Unity the weekend of September 19-21. As fairgoers entered the grounds, they were greeted by the sights, smells, and sounds of a farmers market full of fresh, organic food and products. 

In past years there was only one market area, at the Fair entrance known as the Rose Gate. Four years ago, after the number of vendors who wanted to participate outgrew the space available, Fair organizers decided to create a second market area on the other side of the grounds, at the Pine Gate.

A total of 36 vendors, all certified organic, greeted fairgoers at both entrances this year, giving the public the opportunity to meet farmers and producers face-to-face as they shopped and enjoyed their delicious finds. As for myself, I was on the hunt for a kohlrabi, curious to try a new recipe I had found in a MOFGA pamphlet. There were so many varieties of vegetables to choose from at each booth, it was hard not to get a little of everything.



In addition to browsing the markets, I was able to get to know several of our certified producers while volunteering at the MOFGA membership tent. JoAnn Meyers, of Beau Chemin Preservation Farm, shared my volunteer slot, and I learned a lot about her farm and the endangered breeds that she and her husband raise. Several visitors to the tent were farmers new to Maine, who were interested in finding out more about MOFGA and how to certify their own farms. I look forward to seeing their applications on my desk in the near future.

It was wonderful for me, as a new staff member at Certification Services, to meet our certified producers, most of whom I had previously only met over phone and e-mail. The energy of the whole weekend made me realize what an amazing community we have here, whether we are farmers, processors, gardeners, or simply those interested in living closer to the earth. As I left the Fair on Friday afternoon, my giant kohlrabi in tow, it reinforced for me the importance of connecting with the people who produce our food, of appreciating the land that it comes from, and of valuing this great community that I am now a part of.


National Organic Seed Survey

The Organic Seed Alliance has launched its national organic seed survey. The survey comes around every five years, and seeks to assess certified crop producers’ attitudes and perceptions regarding organic seed, as well as better understand current organic seed usage. 

Certified organic crop producers, whether or not they currently use organic seeds, are encouraged to take a few minutes to complete the survey. All responses are voluntary and confidential, and will be processed in aggregate; no data will be identified by individual or farm. 

The data collected through this survey will be analyzed and compiled as part of the next State of Organic Seed report, which will be published in 2015. This report captures successes, obstacles, opportunities, and risks in organic seed systems, and will offer detailed recommendations for improving access to seed that is optimal for U.S. organic agriculture.

What a handsome bunch!

Profile image of MOFGACertification


We’ve created a pinterest collection of all the MOFGA-certified organic producer profiles to date.  Check it out here:

2014 Organic Maine! Hot off the press!

To get copies for your store, farm stand, local library, etc, call MOFGA at 568-4142.  You can download a PDF version by clicking on this sentence.



22 April 14 Field Notes-Maple Syrup


Jerome Rigot and I just returned from the last of the maple syrup inspections in the north woods of Somerset County, Maine.  In order to access these sugar camps, located in the unorganized territory of Seboomook Lake, we stay in St. Georges, Quebec, and must cross in and out of Maine each day using obscure border crossings.



A few feet of snow still covers the ground in these woods.  Although it does not look particularly mountainous, this maple syrup producing region is about 1500 feet above sea level.  When sap in lower elevation sugarbush areas in Maine and Quebec have ceased to flow, producers here are still making syrup. 

The producers are Quebecois and many have been making syrup for generations in these Maine woods.  While some of the camps look quite rustic, the equipment used to concentrate sap and boil it into syrup is state of the art.  

When we add up all the taps in sugar maple trees that are part of the organic system plans we approve, we get nearly one million.  That comes to about 265,000 gallons of MOFGA-certified organic maple syrup.


We want to give special thanks to Adam Lee (Lee Toyota in Topsham) for providing us with an awesome Toyota Tundra 4X4 for this most recent trip.  The logging roads we have to travel on feature the best of winter and mud season this time of year!

MOFGA Certification Services Director