Farm-Friendly Policy Change

Decisions made in your town office, Augusta, and Washington, DC affect day-to-day operations on farms across the state and have a profound impact on our local and regional food and farm economy-- from farmland and food production to the processing, distribution, and consumption that strengthen Maine’s environmental, economic, and social health.

Farmer preparing spinach after harvest

Policy Matters

Public policy shapes the resources that are available to farmers, what land is protected and how, agricultural markets and infrastructure development, the tools farms have to adapt to a changing climate and all aspects of our local food economy. We partner with farmers, policymakers and other stakeholders to cultivate a political and social environment in which Maine farms can thrive.

Are you interested in joining us to create policy change?

Greenhouse with plants
Washing leafy greens in a tub

Our Policy Priorities

We envision a future in which Maine's essential farmland is protected, everyone who wants to farm is able to access farmland, people are able to access local food, and farmers can grow thriving businesses and contribute to a vibrant regional food economy in spite of the changing environment. To achieve this vision, we advance a farmer-informed policy platform to build robust support that is informed by the needs and opportunities of Maine farmers at the federal, state and local level.

We Advocate For:

Protecting farmland from development as a critical natural resource.

What we're doing:
Increasing funds available for farmland protection.

We support policies and programs that permanently protect Maine’s farmland, especially land that is being actively farmed and land with rich soils that are particularly good for agriculture. As of 2019, only 3.1 percent of Maine’s open farmland was protected through an agricultural easement. We seek to increase the amount of state and federal funding available for farmland protection, as well as strengthen the capacity and efficiency of farmland protection efforts at state and federal agencies. We also promote tools and strategies that towns can use to protect farmland and generate municipal funding to advance farmland protection efforts in their community.

Protecting farmland from unregulated solar development.

Solar development can support farm viability if the development does not result in the loss of important farmland or impede farmers’ ability to access the land they need now and in the future. We provide technical input to state commissions and stakeholder groups charged with solar development guidelines and support legislation that advances balanced solar siting. We created a key resource for municipalities across Maine, Balancing Solar Development and Farmland Protection: A Solar Siting Guide for Maine Towns, and offer technical assistance to municipal officials as they work to advance farm-friendly policies for their communities.

Helping farms thrive, because thriving farm businesses support farmers,  healthy communities, and Maine’s economy.

What we're doing:
Increasing resources for farm businesses and infrastructure.

Maine farmers need a political environment that supports them as they grow their operations, compete in new markets, and transfer farm businesses to the next generation. We advance state and federal economic and market development programs that provide needed grants and loans to Maine farms and investments in local and regional food systems development. We support policies and programs that invest in business planning assistance and strengthen in-state agricultural infrastructure and processing capacity, such as affordable high-speed internet and dairy and livestock processing. We also promote farm-friendly policies and planning strategies at the municipal level that will help support the economic viability of Maine farms.

Creating a safety net for farmers impacted by PFAS contamination.

PFAS contamination is a threat to farms in Maine and across the country. In response, we’ve worked with a broad range of Maine stakeholders to channel funding and resources to impacted farmers, addressing lost income, health impacts, and land contamination. We are working for a robust federal safety net as well as extensive investments in research to ensure that farmers in Maine and across the country continue to thrive.

Helping farmers adapt to the impacts of climate change and reducing the carbon footprint of Maine farms.

What we're doing:
Increasing resources for farmers to practice climate-smart agriculture and mitigate the impacts of climate change on the ground.

We promote climate-smart programs and policies at the federal, state, and municipal levels. We advocate for federal investments in climate-friendly agriculture and we strongly support a Farm Bill that builds climate resilience by increasing conservation program funding, access to those funds by farmers, and efficiency of program delivery to meet growing demand. We champion investment in programs and resources that enable farmers to adapt to the changing environment, such as the Maine Healthy Soils Program.

Advancing equitable access to farmland and resources for all farmers.

What we're doing:
Increasing affordable access to farmland for all those who want to farm, and increasing equitable access to agricultural resources by all farmers.

Access to quality agricultural land is a challenge for many farmers, but barriers are especially high for low-income farmers, new and beginning farmers, and for farmers who have been excluded from access to land due to longstanding structural and institutional racism. We support public policy change at the federal level and in Maine that will increase access to land and ensure fair distribution of available resources, such as restoring Wabanaki tribal sovereignty.

Are you a policymaker interested in partnering with MFT on farm-friendly policies?

Sheep in the field

Get involved and take action

Get In Touch

Shelley Megquier, Policy & Research Director

Shelley Megquier

Policy and Research Director

Shelley Megquier

Policy and Research Director

Shelley Megquier, Policy & Research Director