Category Archives: 2019

Toomey chosen to lead MFT

Bill Toomey, a longtime leader in regional environmental conservation, has been chosen to serve as president and CEO of Maine Farmland Trust. Toomey has worked in non-profit conservation since 1998, most recently as the Trust For Public Land’s New England Area Director, and brings extensive experience in land protection, leadership, management, and fundraising. Previously he was the Director of Forest Health working as part of the Nature Conservancy’s North American Forest Priority and North American and Global Cities Initiatives. Toomey led the Conservancy’s Healthy Trees, Healthy Cities initiative in 15 cities in the US, and co-led the Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Tree Campaign in the US, China, and Brazil.  Toomey currently lives in Cape Elizabeth.

“In the 20 years that Maine Farmland Trust has existed we have benefited from some outstanding leaders,” says Taylor Mudge, MFT’s board chair. “I am pleased that we will continue in this vein with Bill Toomey. His years of experience in land protection as well his knowledge of regional and national land issues will be important attributes for the Trust going forward. Bill has demonstrated incredible skill working with diverse stakeholders in his past positions, at both regional and national organizations.”

“Over the last 20 years Maine Farmland Trust’s accomplishments have been impressive,” says Toomey. “Since 1999, MFT has helped to protect nearly 300 farms and keep over 60,000 acres of farmland in farming while supporting over 800 farm families. I am excited to join the talented and dedicated team to build on the strong foundation of existing work and expand our impact to protect more farmland, create opportunities to connect new farmers to the land, strengthen and diversify farm business while also strengthening local communities and improving the health of our environment.”

Toomey holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Fairfield University and a master’s degree in Soil Science from North Carolina State University.  His background in soil science and experience in serving on the team that created The Nature Conservancy’s national Soil Health program will help inform MFT’s work looking at how healthy soils practices can support farm viability while mitigating the impacts of climate change.  “His experience managing collaborative work regionally, nationally, and internationally, will translate well to MFT’s work in partnership with farmers, agricultural service providers, land trusts, policymakers, and others in Maine and throughout the region,” said Erica Buswell, Vice President of Programs and Interim Co-President at MFT. “As we celebrate our 20th year and are in the midst of strategic planning, we think Bill’s unique set of skills will bolster MFT as we work to implement our vision of a thriving agricultural landscape where farms feed our economy, steward our natural resources and nourish our communities.”

“We are very excited to work with Bill and to welcome him to the MFT family,” says Stacy Brenner, MFT board member, and farmer at Broadturn Farm. “He brings a deep well of thoughtful talent relative to the work of land conservation and familiarity with the Maine landscape that will be valuable to this organization, as our work brings conservation and farming together.”

Toomey will begin work as president and CEO of MFT in early June.

Amanda-Beal-MFT-2

Amanda Beal nominated to lead Maine’s Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry

Amanda Beal, MFT’s President and CEO, was recently nominated for the position of Maine’s Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and has accepted the governor’s nomination.

MFT staff and board are sad to see Amanda leave, but we know her thoughtful, collaborative leadership and deep familiarity with the agricultural landscape will serve Maine well in this role. Amanda has an acute awareness of the interconnectedness of agriculture, conservation, and forestry and a deep appreciation for how policy can bolster the good work that Maine’s hardworking farmers, foresters and conservation organizations are doing on the ground throughout the state.

“I have loved working with MFT, which made this a tough decision,” said Amanda, “MFT’s work is truly impactful, but ultimately I feel that it’s important to accept this call to serve Maine in this role, and to do all that I can to support a vibrant future for all of our farmers and farmland.”

Under Amanda’s leadership, MFT has made many improvements to the organization’s programs and internal systems. Amanda took the helm at a time when the 20-year-old organization was going through major growth and transition and has worked collaboratively with staff to create stability and sustainability.

MFT has an active transition plan in place, and the board and staff will begin a search for our next President and CEO in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, MFT’s work to protect farmland, support farmers, and advance the future for farming will continue as usual. As we enter our 20th year, we feel excited and confident that the work we’re doing to support a bright future for farming in Maine is on the right track and having a substantial impact now, and for future generations.

Read more about Amanda’s nomination:

Maine Public: Mills Chooses Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Department

Bangor Daily News: Mills makes Maine Farmland Trust leader her final Cabinet pick

Portland Press Herald: Mills taps head of farmland preservation group as agricultural commissioner

 

 

A very special new year: 2019 is our 20th!

In 1999, a small group of farmers and farm advocates planted the seed of an idea: farmland matters, and should be protected. Word spread, meetings were held with like minds, and soon, MFT began as the first and only land trust in the state focused on protecting farmland and supporting farmers. Thanks to the pioneering vision of our founders, the hard work of volunteers and staff, and the support of members, that seed took root and grew! 

This year, we’ll celebrate 20 years of growing the future for farming by reflecting on our milestones over the years, acknowledging the many people who have helped shape MFT, and by looking ahead to the next chapter. We’ll share stories of farmers and members, host some really fun events, organize a listening tour, and more. Most importantly, we want to create opportunities for you to be involved in shaping the next 20 years and beyond.

Together, we can have a lasting and positive impact on the future for farming in Maine.

Visit our anniversary website to keep up on all things 20th, and stay tuned for details about happenings. Be sure to join us for our Kick Off Party in Belfast on January 24th!