Our Impact

Community and collaboration rang throughout our work in 2023. From convening researchers, farmers, and advocates to grow nationwide collaboration to address the PFAS crisis, to protecting the expansive wild blueberry barrens at Clarry Hill through the power of our community, to fostering peer-to-peer resource sharing among farmers in our Farm Network: we all contribute to growing the future of farming. Thank uou to the thousands of members, funders, farmers, and partners who collaborate with MFT to build support for farming so that farmers and our communities can thrive.

New crops sprouting from the ground

Our 2023 impact report is now available!

Our Impact is Your Support in Action

Farmland Protection & Farmland Access

$345,870+ in PFAS emergency relief funds delivered to 26 farms, plus the purchase of the former Songbird farm property for PFAS research

1,665+ acres
of farmland protected with conservation easements across 13 farms, keeping farmland available for generations to come

800+ acres
of Maine’s best agricultural soils protected, so our most productive farmland stays in farming

380+ acres
with an Option to Purchase at Agricultural Value (OPAV) across 6 farms, helping working farmers access land in competitive markets

92 acres
of farmland in transition remained in active agriculture through Farmlinks to new farmers

A scenic view of the blueberry barrens of Clarry Hill highlands
Farmers collaborating during a winter climate workshop at Sheepscot Valley Farm

Farm Network

281 easement-protected farms spanning all 16 counties supported by MFT’s Land Stewards, listening to farmers' needs, challenges, and offering resources.

58 farm businesses supported with workshops, technical assistance and grants, to grow their resilience to a changing economy and climate

$197,000 in business and seed grants awarded to 7 farm businesses to support their financial goals and make larger-scale investments in our farming economy

612+ hours of technical assistance delivered to 46 farm businesses, helping farmers develop solutions specific to their farm

Policy & Research

MFT provided testimony on 27 bills in the State Legislature, with 14 bills we supported signed into law, to grow conditions for farmers and food systems to thrive

municipalities supported with technical assistance to develop more farm-friendly policies & planning

policymakers, farmers, and advocates engaged through national research and policy efforts, to support farmers affected by PFAS, climate and more

scientists, farmers and advocates connected to research and address PFAS in agriculture

Farmers harvesting greens at Bumbleroot Farm in Windham
Maine Farmland Trust staff and Songbird Farm farmers against a brick wall.

PFAS Support

$345,870+ in PFAS emergency relief funds delivered to 26 farms, plus the purchase of the former Songbird farm property for PFAS research

MFT continued to work with individual farms to deliver emergency relief funds, offer resources and technicalassistance to help farmers mitigate contamination and pivot their businesses, and partner with farmers onprotected farms to navigate the terms of their easements with as much flexibility as possible. Based on our experiences supporting farmers, MFT staff participated on three subcommittees to shape how the State’s PFAS Fund can be spent and supported the finalization of the $70 million Plan for Administration of the Fund to Address PFAS Contamination in July. And in September, MFT purchased the 45-acre former Songbird Farm property in Unity to make its highly-contaminated farmland available for research partners who are interested in exploring how PFAS contamination affects agricultural production and identifying soil remediation possibilities.

Keeping Our Most Productive Farmland in Farming

With its deep, well-drained soils, its gentle slopes, and its position above two significant freshwater aquifers, New Leaf Farm in Durham is ideal farmland. One of the first commercial organic farms in Maine, farmer (and MFT Board Chair) Dave Colson and his wife Chris cultivated these rich soils from 1983-2011 for their vegetable business and fruit orchard, and today a neighboring livestock farmer hays its fields. In December, MFT partnered with the Royal River Conservation Trust and the Land for Maine’s Future program to protect the 75-acre farm with an easement and Option to Purchase atAgricultural Value (OPAV). With 2,500+ feet of roadside frontage that would be attractive to potential developers, the easement protects the farm from subdivision, and the OPAV prevents single lot estate development by ensuring future sales of this rich farmland are to a working farmer.

The owners of New Leaf Farm in Durham, Maine with their Forever Farms sign.
Farmers crowd around a folding table to share ideas at one of Maine Farmland Trust's business planning workshops.

Growing Resilience to Changing Economy & Climate

Whether they are establishing, growing, or thinking about transitioning their farm, farmers are focused on sustaining a business – and MFT offers workshops, individualized technical assistance, peer-to-peer knowledge-sharing, and grants to support their goals. In January, the Business of Farming livestock cohort tackled questions like how to address the processing bottleneck and increase sales for livestock producers. In October, farmers gathered for a pasture walk at Balfour Farm to discuss what resilience in farming means to them in both the climate and financial sense, joined by forage andbusiness management experts from UMaine and the University of Vermont. And all year long, MFT supported 26 farms with PFAS emergency relief funding and technical assistance to remain in business where possible.

Building Collaboration Toward Longer-Term PFAS Solutions Nationwide

As other states begin to grapple with PFAS contamination on farms, we all need to collaborate across state lines and sectors to develop nationwide solutions. In September, we led an interactive workshop on how to support PFAS-impacted farmers with peers from 50+ conservation organizations at the Land Trust Alliance’s 2023 Rally conference. In October, we co-organized a national symposium heldin Michigan, “PFAS: Current Knowledge and Applications for Agricultural Production,” gathering nearly 200 scientists, farmers, and advocates who are on the leading edge of PFAS research – or on the frontlines of PFAS contamination – to share knowledge and spark collaborations. In November, we co-organized the “PFAS in Agriculture: Maine Regional Meeting” to continue these discussions with over 100 researchers, farmers, and advocates in the Northeast, including a tour of current on-farm research projects on biocontainment, crop uptake, and soil remediation. PFAS contamination doesn’t have to be“forever” if we invest in research and supports for impacted farmers in Maine and across the country.

A PFAS researcher presenting at the 2023 Maine PFAS conference on-site in a farm field.

Let's invest in the farmland and farmers that feed all of us.

Black and white sheep graze inside a fenced pasture, with budding apple trees in the background.

Maine Farmland Trust is a member-powered nonprofit that protects farmland, supports farmers, and advances the future of farming.

MFT is certified by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission.

Follow Along With Us