Maine Beef Producers Association executive director position

Project Overview

Project Type: Sustainable Community Innovation
Funds awarded in 2008: $10,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Northeast
State: Maine
Project Leader:
Pamela Harnden
Maine Beef Producers' Association

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: barley, corn, oats, potatoes, rye, sorghum (milo), soybeans, sugarbeets, grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Animals: bovine


  • Animal Production: feed/forage, housing, parasite control, animal protection and health, feed additives, feed formulation, free-range, feed rations, grazing management, herbal medicines, homeopathy, implants, inoculants, livestock breeding, manure management, mineral supplements, grazing - multispecies, pasture fertility, pasture renovation, preventive practices, probiotics, range improvement, grazing - rotational, stockpiled forages, stocking rate, therapeutics, watering systems, winter forage
  • Crop Production: conservation tillage
  • Education and Training: decision support system, demonstration, display, farmer to farmer, focus group, mentoring, networking, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research, study circle, workshop, youth education, technical assistance
  • Energy: bioenergy and biofuels, energy conservation/efficiency, energy use, solar energy, wind power
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, new enterprise development, budgets/cost and returns, community-supported agriculture, cooperatives, marketing management, e-commerce, farm-to-institution, feasibility study, agricultural finance, market study, risk management, value added, agritourism
  • Natural Resources/Environment: carbon sequestration, afforestation, biodiversity, hedges - grass, grass waterways, habitat enhancement, hedgerows, indicators, riparian buffers, riverbank protection, soil stabilization, wetlands, wildlife, hedges - woody
  • Pest Management: biological control, chemical control, competition, eradication, integrated pest management, physical control, precision herbicide use, sanitation, smother crops, weather monitoring, weed ecology
  • Production Systems: transitioning to organic
  • Soil Management: green manures, soil analysis, composting, nutrient mineralization, soil microbiology, soil chemistry, organic matter, soil physics, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: community planning, ethnic differences/cultural and demographic change, infrastructure analysis, leadership development, local and regional food systems, new business opportunities, partnerships, public participation, public policy, urban agriculture, urban/rural integration, analysis of personal/family life, community services, employment opportunities, social capital, social networks, social psychological indicators, sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    For over 30 years the Maine Beef Producers’ Association (MBPA) has existed and successfully served the State’s beef industry through countless hours of volunteer work. Throughout that time the MBPA established the Maine-New England Beef Expo an event that helped producers throughout the northeast annually market nearly 300 head of purebred and commercial cattle and a show and educational program for over 100 youth.

    Based on the Expo’s success the MBPA also ran a fall Feeder Sale, Club Calf Sales for youth, they sponsor an annual Beef Conference, developed a Calves-For-Kids program that gives heifers away to help youth start their own beef herd and in 2007 took the lead in establishing the new Northeast Livestock Expo which used the Beef Expo format, but expanded it to goat and sheep producers as well.

    During this time the MBPA has developed an excellent working relationship with the Maine State Department of Agriculture, the Maine Beef Industry Council and Cooperative Extension in seeking their support for each of the various initiatives. In particular was the cooperative effort that brought the national Beef Quality Assurance program to Maine.

    While MBPA maintains a very involved Board of Directors, it is increasingly difficult to find the time to perform many of the administrative duties related to researching opportunities, communicating with our membership and coordinating events. Compounding this in a positive manner is the recent increased interest and growth in the beef industry in the State. New producers are taking advantage of the availability of grassland in Maine and the soaring demand for local and regionally produced beef.

    With the increase in new producers ranging from backyard farmers to significant feedlot operators, MBPA has identified needs to coordinate unique ventures that support our members and help them be more successful. To do so, MBPA needs a part time Executive Director to lead and coordinate efforts including the various sales, educational programs, establishing communication tools including a newsletter, identify and establish group buying initiatives and operating as a liaison with other State and Federal agencies and educational institutions

    Timing for this position is critical because of the surge in the interest and demand for raising beef cattle. A contributing factor warranting an expansion of the MBPA’s role in expanded seervices and education to producers is the lack of Veterinary Services in Maine. MBPA educational focus is frequently on helping cattle producers perform more of their own cattle health care.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The MBPA is the only statewide organization dedicated to the improvement and success of the beef industry. No other group in the state is available to represent the Producers’ needs. With the help of a SARE Grant to help fund the first year of an Executive Director position, the Board of Directors of MBPA will be able to accomplish much more while remaining actively involved and supportive.

    The Executive Director would support educational programs to help new and experienced beef growers to develop the skills they need. The MBPA Executive Director will help coordinate a 2 day workshop on a wide variety of cattle related issues. The person will support and help to coordinate with other groups the national Beef Quality Assurance training to beef producers throughout the State of Maine.

    The position will work to help support an annual statewide beef conference for all producers to attend ad learn more about the latest in the beef industry and will take a key role to coordinate efforts to expand cooperative sales initiatives supporting both purebred and commercial cattle sales.

    As a total volunteer run organization, the MBPA has never had a face or single contact for beef producers and this position will create that service thereby resulting in much greater interaction between the organization and its members. Through this process the person will help MBPA to identify even more producer needs and help to prioritize them. Possibilities beyond education include group buying opportunities, joint marketing initiatives, product consistency and other topics related to running a successful beef operation.

    Ensuring the success of the beef industry in the future is very important to the MBPA and has been addressed through a variety of youth initiatives. The new position will help expand these opportunities and assist with the administration of current efforts.

    To further ensure the success and viability of the MBPA and this position, the person will be expected to assist grant writing and seeking other funding sources, including but not limited to other SARE Grant opportunties. It is expected that membership will grow as services are expanded, thereby also offering the ability to insure the financial stability of the organization.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.