Washington, D.C., October 25, 2007—American Farmland Trust (AFT) supports Governor John Lynch’s nomination of Lorraine Merrill as the new Agriculture Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Foods.
“Lorraine Merrill is an excellent choice for this position,” says Cris Coffin, New England States Director for AFT. “She has been a passionate voice for New Hampshire agriculture and our region’s dairy industry. Lorraine brings tremendous skills to this position, along with a longstanding interest in protecting farmland and sustaining the health of the land through good conservation practices.”
Lorraine and her family operate the Stuart Farm in Stratham. They were the 2003 recipients of AFT’s Steward of the Land Award. In the early 1980s, Lorraine’s parents and aunt became one of the first farm families in New Hampshire to permanently protect their land from non-agricultural development through a conservation easement with the New Hampshire Agricultural Land Protection Program. This made it possible for succeeding generations to continue the farm business.
For the last 20 years, the Merrills have given talks about their experience with conservation easements to farmers, community groups and policymakers at local, state and national levels. The entire Merrill family are well-known leaders, speaking out about farmland preservation and sprawl, innovative approaches to agricultural environmental stewardship and family farm business issues.
“There are tremendous opportunities to advance support for New Hampshire farmers, consumers and farmland conservation at the federal level, through the 2007 Farm Bill, at the state level and with local governments. New Hampshire will be well-served by Commissioner Merrill’s leadership in these arenas,” adds Coffin.
Visit American Farmland Trust’s Farm and Food Policy Campaign Web site for more information on how we’re working to strengthen the future of American agriculture and ensure fresh, healthy, local food for generations to come. Learn more about AFT’s Steward of the Land Award and nominate an exemplary farm or ranch family for this annual $10,000 conservation award by December 3, 2007.
American Farmland Trust is the nation’s leading conservation organization dedicated to saving America’s farm and ranch land, promoting environmentally sound farming practices and supporting a sustainable future for farms. Since its founding in 1980 by a group of farmers and citizens concerned about the rapid loss of farmland to development, AFT has helped save millions of acres of farmland from development and led the way for the adoption of conservation practices on millions more.
AFT’s national office is located in Washington, DC. Phone: 202-331-7300. For more information, visit www.farmland.org.