- Agronomic: potatoes
- Fruits: melons
- Vegetables: asparagus, beans, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucurbits, eggplant, garlic, greens (leafy), onions, parsnips, peas (culinary), peppers, rutabagas, sweet corn, tomatoes, turnips
- Animals: poultry, sheep
- Animal Products: dairy
- Animal Production: grazing - rotational, manure management, pasture fertility
- Crop Production: conservation tillage
- Education and Training: extension, farmer to farmer
- Pest Management: biological control, botanical pesticides, cultural control, integrated pest management, mulches - living, mulching - vegetative, mulching - plastic, physical control, row covers (for pests), sanitation, trap crops, traps, weed ecology
- Soil Management: composting, green manures, organic matter, soil analysis, soil quality/health
Vegetable, small fruit, and livestock farmers are interested in making a profit and producing healthful food, while having minimal environmental impact. Such farming practices have been termed, “best sustainable practices” and include soil/water conservation techniques, nutrient management to conserve/recycle/protect surrounding soil/water, non-chemical insect/weed/disease control intensive grazing systems, and custom equipment. Few farmers know and have adopted all of the best sustainable crop and livestock practices, but most employ one or more practices. A lack of trusted and useful information has been identified as a major impediment to adoption of more best sustainable practices. Surveyed farmers report they receive the most useful and trusted information from other farmers; however, making contact is the most common stumbling block. The solution to a farmer’s ability to make contact with other farmers who are already using relevant best sustainable crop and livestock practices is a Farmer to Farmer Directory. This proposed project is an update of MOFGA’s SARE-funded Farmer to Farmer Directory, now twelve years old. Under the original project, Dr. Eric Sideman created the directory of farmers who were exemplary examples of those using one or more best sustainable practices. The directory was very well received and is still being used; however, after twelve years it is in need of an update. The directory will be cross-referenced by practice, farm, and location and will include farmer contact information and will facilitate information exchange among farmers and enhance awareness of innovative and farm-proven best sustainable crop and livestock practices. Additionally, we now have the ability to make the information accessible to more farmers though computer-based, interactive web posting systems. This allows the directory to be much more easily and economically updated on a regular basis than was the hard copy edition of twelve years ago.
Performance targets from proposal:
1. 100 farmers in Maine will identify practices new and useful to their system and have farmer contact information for learning these practices.
2. 50 farmers will make new contacts and learn and adopt new practices for increasing farm productivity through better crop, soil, and livestock management, reducing the farm?s environmental impact.