Note to readers, attached is the complete final report for FNE96-137
Dairy farmers have had a hard time of it in recent years, the wholesale price of milk being highly variable, and generally low. Jeffery Keene, who has a dairy farm in Maine, thought that diversification might improve the profitability of his operation, so he applied for, and received, a SARE grant to explore opportunities for cultivation and cooperative marketing of vegetables.
Mr. Keene and two of his neighbors, also dairymen, devoted two acres each to this project. They planted pumpkins and three varieties of squash– butternut, buttercup, and delicata. They shared equipment, and marketed their vegetables partly through on-farm sales, and partly through a cooperative arrangement with the local IGA. They found a healthy demand for their pumpkins and squashes, and made a modest profit, despite losing much of their harvest in storage to a stem mold that proliferated in the cool autumn weather. They plan to expand the operation to include more kinds of vegetables, more farmers, and better storage facilities.