Every day is a good day to think about agriculture, and the month of March is a great time to remember why agriculture is important. Two days in March are dedicated to Maine Ag Day on March 13, and National Ag Day March 20. We invite you to celebrate Maine agriculture this month and every month.
Farmers are busy people. Their work continues every day as the first seeds are sown for plants that will provide food and beauty for life’s necessities and luxuries in the months to come. The scents of spring fill the air as the soil warms to facilitate proper germination, plants grow to prepare for the task of harnessing the sun’s energy, and future generations of animals are born on farms across the state. Farmers will, watch, wait and cultivate to turn this energy into foods and goods that are necessary and useful, and add comforts, benefits and beauty to our daily lives.
The availability of Maine-grown food and goods in our lives and communities is not spontaneous. It may seem spontaneous that Maine-grown Maine-grown food, provisions and goods are accessible and available at supermarkets, grocers, farm stands and farmers’ markets, or even in home-delivery boxes.
For all its value, and the sense of place Maine agriculture has in our lives, the work to sustain this is more than spontaneous. Cultivating Maine-grown food, goods and provisions is literally rooted in planning ahead, science and perhaps some luck. From seed germination, to the arrival of new life, and the care and stewardship of fine value-added products we enjoy year-round such as Maine maple syrup, artisan cheeses, and nutrient-rich preserved produce, it all started with a plan and actions months before it found its way to our daily lives.
Farmers must plan and be prepared to provide their customers and animals with nutritious foods before the need arises for nourishment, and raw materials before the need arises for clothing, fuel, shelter, and the variety of other useful and beautiful items that originate on farms. The success of Maine farms depends on their ability to plan, and revisit this plan each month, season, year, and in many cases, each generation. Less than one-percent of Mainers are involved in production agriculture. Their work is valuable and measurable–Maine agriculture has a $1.2 billion impact on the state’s economy–and worth celebrating! And, to celebrate we all–farmers and customers–can participate.
To Celebrate is to Participate
As the snow banks melt, and we wonder about the depths of mud puddles, and witness the lengthening daylight hours, we maintain the farmers habit of optimism each spring. We are optimistic of the opportunities for Maine farmers, food producers and patrons to support Maine-grown goods. We are optimistic you will help us celebrate. And we remind farmers and their customers that to celebrate is to participate. We encourage you to participate in this celebration March and every month.
Below, you will find links to help farmers and customers celebrate and participate.
Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), and there’s still time to >>submit your farm’s Ag Census data.<< In the same way the daily tasks and planning happens at farms this spring to prepare for the future, the Ag Census matters, and we encourage you to participate–mare sure your farm and Maine is counted.
>> Bookmark this page for future calendar listings and deadlines for producer promotions in Ag Resources Division events marketing
March Deadlines, Workshops and Fun things for Farmers and Families!
Spring REAP Grants Deadline Approaches for Renewable Energy Projects. Greater Portland Council of Governments (GPCOG) is now scheduling free, one-on-one site visit appointments for USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).
The “get real. get Maine!” program is a marketing resource for Maine farmers and food producers to promote sales of Maine food and farm products. The program is administered by the Agricultural, Resource and Development (ARD) team, whose work aims to ensure that agricultural businesses remain profitable and sustainable. ARD is a division of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry—Maine’s lead agency for all aspects of the food system from field to table.