Farmers and communities across Maine and the rest of the country have been waiting on Congress to pass a new farm bill. This bill is the vehicle that provides funding for farmland protection and access, development of local and regional food economies, agricultural research, rural economic development, beginning farmers, and more. More information about MFT’s priorities for the 2018 farm bill can be found HERE.
Unfortunately, the wait continues. Congress did not pass the 2018 farm bill before the current law expired on September 30th. They must now pass an extension of the current law until a new farm bill can be enacted.
But until that happens, nearly 20 of the programs that Maine farmers and others rely on to grow our agricultural economy and protect important farm resources will either cease to operate or have their funding frozen. These programs include:
- Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP)
- Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP)
- Value-Added Producer Grant Program (VAPG)
- Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP)
- Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives Program (FINI)
- National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP)
- Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI)
- Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)
- Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)
- Organic Production and Market Data Initiative (ODI)
- Outreach and Assistance to Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers (Section 2501)
- Conservation Reserve Program – Transition Incentives Program (CRP-TIP)
- Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP)
- Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP)
- Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBG)
Please contact Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, Congressman Bruce Poliquin, Senator Susan Collins, and Senator Angus King and tell them we need a full extension of the current farm bill to keep vital services working.
Don’t let Congress leave farmers and their communities behind!