Next Meeting: May 5 at Little Falls Farm in Harrison

Our next meeting will take place at 10am on Monday, May 5th at Little Falls Farm in Harrison. Although they are tucked away in the foothills of Western Maine this is a unique dairy that is well worth any length of drive to visit. Mary and John Belding raise a small herd of certified organic dairy goats on their little patch of fields and woods along the Crooked River. They make a *truly* farmstead product — a single variety of hard aged goat cheese called Riffle that is certified 100% organic because all ingredients besides the salt come from their farm, an excellent example of the breadth of varieties of cheeses made in Maine.

We hope to see you there.

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LD1786 Reported Out of Ag Committee

After a work session in the Legislature’s Committee on Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry that included FOUR separate votes on three versions of a bill, the committee finally reported out all THREE versions of a bill that would allow unregulated sales of milk and milk products from the farm only to the full Legislature. The majority (by a 6 to 5 vote as Ought To Pass) reported out a bill crafted by Rep. Craig Hickman as a combination of the original bill (submitted by Rep. William Noon) and a proposal submitted at the public hearing by the Department of Ag, Conservation, and Forestry. One minority group reported out as Ought to Pass a bill with the language of the original Noon bill shifted from MSRA section 416 to 2901. A second minority group reported out as Ought to Pass Rep. Hickman’s amendment plus the requirements to post an annual water test as well as a certificate showing the dairy producer had attended a Dairy Sanitation course offered by Maine Cooperative Extension.

After the testimony, the work session, a party caucus, and some astonishing back-and-forth between committee members at the end it appears that all the committee members except for one were in favor of some way to allow unregulated on-farm sales of milk products. The disagreement, and thus the three versions, is about the extent of that deregulation. Some would prefer complete deregulation for those who would choose, while others would like dairy producers who do not want to be licensed to demonstrate to their customers (by posting evidence) that they have clean water and understand the basics of dairy sanitation.

My understanding is that the leadership of the Maine Senate and House will choose to vote on one ore more of the bills from among the three versions voted out. If they choose different versions, or if there are amendments added in either vote, the bill would then go to a conference committee for work to become a final version that can be voted on in both houses then, if passed, sent on to the Governor for his signature or veto. Stay tuned.

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Guild Statement Related To Local Food Ordinances

logo_200_lowThe Maine Cheese Guild stands by it’s Quality Statement, issued in May 2009, with regard to the Local Food Ordinance proposals we have seen, and to the legislative bills introduced for the 2011 session (LD330 and LD366).

Our testimony against LD330, given to the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry at the March hearing on this bill follows:
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Maine Licensed Cheese Makers 2013

Below are the licensed cheese makers in Maine as published by the Department of Agriculture

There are 71 Processed Dairy Facilities as of June 2013
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Europe Wants Its Cheese Names Back

The Portland Press Herald has published a front page story about one topic at the Transatlantic Trade Partnership negotiations of restrictions on using protected Geographic Indicators (“GI”s) in the trade names of cheeses. A trade agreement could ban the use of these GIs when exporting US cheese to other countries and could possible also ban the use of these GIs in US made sales sold in the US. This could affect Brie, Camembert, Gorgonzola, Gouda, Parmesan and even Feta (which is already a protected GI in Europe). A number of Guild members shared their thoughts with the PPH reporter on this issue. Maine Senator Angus King has publicly urged the USDA and US Trade Representative to fight EU efforts to protect the use of GI cheese names in cheese exported from the US.

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Postcard From London

stinking bishop cheese neals yard dairy
At the Neals Yard shoppe in Borough Market

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Meeting: April 7th at Spring Day Creamery

The Maine Cheese Guild met Spring Day Creamery in Durham. Sarah is an ACS award winning cheese maker who has built the ULTIMATE micro-creamery that is a marvel to behold.

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LLC – S-Corp – C-Corp?

I am doing a little survey trying to figure out whether to become an LLC or corporation .. I thought I would poll others who are in a similar position to me and see what they have done and why ..

you all make food (or have food) that you sell to the public, what have you done to safeguard against “problems” dealing with the possibility of being sued and protecting your personal assets. I have insurance ($1 million) but that is all at this point ..

I appreciate any input

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Exhibit at the Big E in 2014

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry would like to invite interested organizations to apply for exhibiting opportunities this September in the State of Maine Building at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Massachusetts. The State of Maine building currently has 2 remaining exhibit locations and will be accepting applicants for these remaining locations until Friday, March 28th.

Over the course of the 17 day fair in 2013, the Big E fairgrounds had over 1.4 Million visitors from New England and surrounding areas. An estimated 850,000 visitors tour the Avenue of States where each New England State has its own building; including the State of Maine which is dedicated to selling and promoting Maine and its culture. This is a great opportunity to showcase products or services that positively represent the State of Maine to a large audience, with two booth size options including 13’x10’ and 13’x20’ measurements.

Please visit our website for application materials and more details on this opportunity. Contact us at 287-3494 with any questions you might have on exhibiting at the Big E. Please feel free to share this notification with any party that may be interested in this unique opportunity.

Thank you for your interest in promoting the State of Maine!

Sincerely,

Jessica Nixon
Promotions Coordinator
Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
Agricultural Resource Development Division

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Request For Dairy Production Photos from Gary Anderson

Many of you attended one of the three raw milk meetings we had across the state the last couple months. We are currently planning to have a meeting of all licensed processors at the Dept of Ag with a tentative date of April 16. We hope that this meeting can answer questions about what testing is done in Augusta (and that is the reason why we are having the meeting in Augusta so that Linda Stahlnecker is able to be with us to answer questions), what type of testing is available in Orono for mastitis and sanitation issues, updated information on food safety issues, open discussion with the milk inspectors and a chance to talk with the person responsible for the milk program. A key part of the day is devoted to answering questions that you have.

My request to you is that I am looking for pictures of animal housing, milking parlors, milking stands, stanchion setups, bulk tank rooms, milk cans, milk storage, cheeserooms, vats and cold storage to answer questions about licensed facilities and how they carry on their milking and processing. If you are willing to provide pictures from your operation and can email me photos from your phone, camera, etc. I would appreciate it very much. I can visit farms, but I am trying to reduce travel costs.

If you have questions/concerns, please let me know.

–Gary Anderson
University of Maine Cooperative Extension

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LD 1786 Public Hearing Scheduled for March 4th

A public hearing before the Maine Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry for LD 1786 “An Act To Allow the Sale of Unregulated Farm-produced Dairy Products at the Site of Production” has been scheduled for

Tuesday, March 04, 2014, 1:00 PM, Cross Building, Room 214, Augusta, ME

You may testify at the public hearing or submit written testimony. Written testimony should be sent to the appropriate committee at: 100 SHS, Augusta, Maine 04333-0100. Persons with special needs who wish to attend a Legislative hearing and require accommodations should notify the Legislative Information Office as soon as possible: 207-287-1692, TTY 207-287-6826, FAX 207-287-1580, webmaster-lio@legislature.maine.gov

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Fuzzy Udder Creamery, Whitefield ME

Fuzzy Udder Creamery just moved to Whitefield Maine! Cheesemaker, farmer, and activist Jessie Dowling makes a variety of fresh and aged cheeses made from cow, goat, and sheep’s milk. Jessie is so excited to be opening her new creamery at the former home of Townhouse Creamery in Whitefield Me. The cheeseroom is three times the size of her former one in Unity. Jessie has a small herd of sheep and goats, and buys in organic jersey cow milk from nearby farms. She makes fresh hand-stretched mozzarella, brie, fresh sheep and goat cheese, ash layered soft-ripened cheese, washed rinds, tomme, gouda, alpine style, baby provolone and sheep’s milk yogurt. Check out Fuzzy Udder’s website to find out more about Jessie’s cheese and where you can find it!

www.fuzzyudder.com

35 Townhouse Road
Whitefield ME 04353
ph: 549-3817

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