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Snapshot of Maine Agriculture

Farming on the Edge: Maine Farmland in the Path of Development

AFT Studies

Regional Equity: Vital to Northeast Conservation
Increasing Working Lands Conservation in the Northeast

The Conservation Security Program: Rewards and Challenges for New England Farmers


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New England Governors' Blue Ribbon Commission on Land ConservationLand Conservation Commission Recommends Steps to Keep Farmland in Farming

A report finalized by the New England Governors’ Blue Ribbon Commission on Land Conservation offers recommendations to keep the region’s farmland in farming. Recommendations include a New England Farm and Food Security Initiative to identify and address barriers and opportunities to increase production and consumption of New England-grown farm and food products, and protect the region’s agricultural lands. Commission members briefed the New England governors on the recommendations, and we will be working with the Commission and the six state Departments of Agriculture to move these valuable recommendations forward.

Keep Local Farms“Keep Local Farms” Program Aims to Help New England Dairy Farmers

A new “Keep Local Farms” program launched by New England state agricultural leaders and dairy promotion organizations and inspired by the “fair trade” concept, will allow consumers to contribute online to directly support the region’s dairy farmers, and in the future, through co-branded dairy products. “Dairy farms are the ‘anchor tenants’ of New England’s agricultural landscape,” said our New England Director Cris Coffin. “The stability of this bucolic pastured landscape depends on the economic stability of our dairy farms—and this initiative offers consumers a way to support local dairy farms directly and help ensure that farmers receive a sustainable price for their milk.”

FACT: New England has approximately 1,880 dairy farms; dairy farmers are currently receiving about .97 cents per gallon of milk while it costs about $1.80 a gallon to produce

Pond on A FarmGreen Payments in new england

AFT has partnered with Tufts University in Boston to gain a better understanding of how the fledgling federal Conservation Security Program (CSP) is working in New England. The findings helped AFT shape its framework for changes to CSP and any subsequent federal green payment programs. Under the direction of Tufts’ Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment, Tufts graduate students interviewed farmers in Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont and Connecticut and developed case studies for how the program is currently working—or would work for those farms that are not yet eligible—for dairy, cranberry, potato, apple and both organic and conventional vegetable operations. More Issues

Brookings Report Highlights Growth Pressures in Maine

Maine Farm - Photo by Jim Newton The third GrowSmart Maine Summit served as the backdrop for the unveiling of the Brookings Institution report, "Charting Maine's Future: An Action Plan for Promoting Sustainable Prosperity and Quality Places." The product of a year-long intensive research project, the report finds that Maine is poised for an economic resurgence, yet remains threatened by a number of challenges.

Among these are suburbanizing growth pressures which converted over 869,000 acres of rural land to developed uses between 1980 and 2000, a rate of change second only to Virginia. Focusing on economic redevelopment and reinvestment in Maine's strengths--it's working and scenic lands, tourism industry and appealing town centers--the report proposes a $190 million Maine Quality Places Fund to address these challenges. The fund would provide much needed funding for land and farm conservation and downtown revitalization, financed with a three percent hike in the state's lodging tax, which is now the lowest in the region at 6 percent. More Projects

farmland protection action plan

AFT partnered with the Maine Department of Agriculture and the State Planning Office to develop a Collaborative Action Plan (PDF) for farmland protection around the state. Developed with the input of farmers, conservationists and local and state officials, this plan addresses ways to keep Maine farms profitable; how to find new and young farmers interested in carrying on the work of retiring farmers; and means to preserve working lands and facilitate community efforts to protect farmland. The strategic plan also considers new ways to continue to fund Maine’s state-level farmland protection program, Land for Maine’s Future, for years to come. More Success Stories

Contact Us

New England Field Office

Cris Coffin, New England States Director
1 Short Street, Suite 2
Northampton, MA 01060-3952
(p)413-586-9330 ext. 29

American Farmland Trust