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Action Alert: Support L.D. 437 – An Act to Create the Maine Healthy Soils Program

ABOUT LD 437

Maine’s Legislature will consider numerous bills this session seeking to implement Governor Mills’ four-year plan for climate action. One of those bills focuses on the role that healthy soil plays in helping farmers become more resilient to the impacts of climate change, while increasing agricultural production and farm profitability, and drawing down greenhouse gases.

Senator Stacy Brenner’s bill, LD 437 – An Act to Establish the Maine Healthy Soils Program, would create a program within the Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry to connect farmers with key resources and equip them with the tools and knowledge they need to begin voluntarily using healthy soil practices –  an important climate adaptation strategy. The Program would provide a one-stop-shop for farmers seeking information about how to keep their soils healthy. This information could include: healthy soils land management practices; technical assistance services offered by agriculture support providers to help farmers use these practices; connections to other farmers already using these practices successfully; funding opportunities to support the use of these practices; and more.

While many organizations in Maine are providing excellent resources to help farmers implement healthy soils practices, farmers’ access to those resources would be much improved through a coordinated state program. L.D. 437 would provide this coordination by elevating the expertise of farmers who already are implementing healthy soils practices, and promoting the technical, research, and financial assistance offered by the University of Maine, Cooperative Extension, Soil and Water Conservation District offices, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and many other organizations and businesses. The bill would also establish a fund to house and distribute any future federal or philanthropic financial support for the use of healthy soils practices.

TAKE ACTION

The Maine Legislature’s Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (ACF) Committee will hold a hearing on LD 437 on Thursday, March 4th at 10am. Please consider submitting written testimony and/or signing up to deliver oral testimony in support of the bill HERE. Once there, select the ACF Committee, the date of the hearing (March 4th at 10am), and the bill title (LD 437 – An Act to Establish the Maine Healthy Soils Program). You will then be able to upload written comments and/or sign up to provide live testimony. If you have any questions, you can always email the ACF clerk, Cheryl McGowan, at acf@legislature.maine.gov.

You could also email the members of the ACF Committee to express your support. The members of the Committee include:

Sen. James F. Dill, Chair (D-Penobscot): James.Dill@legislature.maine.gov

Sen. Chloe S. Maxmin (D-Lincoln): Chloe.Maxmin@legislature.maine.gov

Sen. Russell Black (R-Franklin):  Russell.Black@legislature.maine.gov

Rep. Margaret M. O’Neil, Chair (D-Saco): Margaret.ONeil@legislature.maine.gov

Rep. David Harold McCrea (D-Fort Fairfield): David.McCrea@legislature.maine.gov

Rep. Scott Landry, Jr. (D-Farmington): Scott.Landry@legislature.maine.gov

Rep. Laurie Osher (D-Orono): Laurie.Osher@legislature.maine.gov

Rep. Randall C. Hall (R-Wilton): Randall.Hall@legislature.maine.gov

Rep. Thomas H. Skolfield (R-Weld): Thomas.Skolfield@legislature.maine.gov

Rep. Susan Bernard (R-Caribou): Susan.Bernard@legislature.maine.gov

Rep. Jeffrey Gifford (R-Lincoln): Jeffery.Gifford@legislature.maine.gov                 

Rep. Joseph Underwood (R-Presque Isle):  Joseph.Underwood@legislature.maine.gov

Rep. William D. Pluecker (I-Warren): William.Pluecker@legislature.maine.gov

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