Governor Mills Advocates for Maine Priorities As Congress Drafts Farm Bill

Sep 04, 2023

In a letter to the Biden Administration, key Congressional Committees, and Maine’s Congressional Delegation, Governor Janet Mills outlined Maine’s priorities for the forthcoming farm bill.

In the August 30th letter, Governor Mills expressed her support for a comprehensive and equitable Farm Bill that addresses critical agriculture, nutrition, forestry, and conservation programs that will benefit Maine farmers and the agricultural community.

The farm bill is an omnibus, multi-year law that governs an wide variety of agricultural and food programs and provides Congress with the opportunity to comprehensively and periodically address agricultural and food issues.

“My administration supports an equitable and robust Farm Bill that retains and, in key areas, expands funding to critical agriculture, nutrition, forestry, and conservation programs,” wrote Governor Mills. “Given the sweeping nature of the Farm Bill, and the economic impact on our state, its contents and passage are a high priority for my administration, and we are committed to supporting its most beneficial and ambitious outcomes.”

The priorities in the letter were identified through a thorough and inclusive process, including statewide surveys, listening sessions, roundtables by multiple state agencies and stakeholders across the state.

Among the priorities highlighted by Governor Mills in the letter are:

  • Climate Smart Agriculture & Forestry: The letter calls for increased funding for farmland conservation programs, climate-smart agriculture funding, assistance for climate resiliency projects, and other measures to promote sustainability and climate adaptation in agriculture and forestry.
  • PFAS Support: Governor Mills addressed the need for Federal action to support PFAS-impacted farmers and communities. Recommendations include establishing a Federal safety net for impacted farmers and enabling support through existing federal programs.
  • Local and Regional Food Systems: The Governor advocated for USDA programming that enhances access to food, investments in land access and retention, continued support for land grant institutions, and increased funding for programs that promote local and regional food markets.
  • Forestry/Conservation: The Governor advocated for full funding for forest conservation programs, increased support for the Forest Inventory and Analysis Program, cross-boundary wildfire mitigation, and measures to enhance forest sustainability and carbon sequestration.
  • Nutrition/Hunger: The Governor outlined recommendations to increase benefits for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), support the Universal School Meals Program, and sustain initiatives that address food insecurity, among other measures.

Governor Mills also expressed her gratitude for the collaborative efforts of Maine's Congressional Dlegationand her desire for a Farm Bill that addresses the needs of Maine's residents and contributes to the nation's well-being.

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