We create and partner on evidence-based reports to inform policymakers about issues affecting Maine agriculture and grow public awareness of farming.

Herd of goats among some solar panels

Our research publications:

Cultivating Maine’s Agricultural Future

A Policy and Planning Guide for Towns

Towns have an important role to play in ensuring Maine realizes its agricultural potential. Cultivating Maine’s Agricultural Future: A Policy and Planning Guide for Towns (Second Edition) provides information and resources for municipalities that are looking for ways to sustain and grow local agriculture. The guide offers up-to-date facts and information about the benefits farms and farmland create for communities and the challenges and opportunities that are facing Maine agriculture, as well as general guidance on a wide range of farm-friendly municipal policy and planning tools and example strategies of how the tools are being used by towns across Maine and New England.

Aerial photo of a large hay field with a dirt road running straight through it, flanked by a large swathe of trees.
Two people hand-raking wild blueberries in the shadow of solar panels.

Balancing Solar Development and Agriculture

Solar energy generation and agriculture can co-exist in Maine in a mutually beneficial manner as long as solar development is sited in ways that minimize impacts to agricultural resources. Our Balancing Solar Development and Farmland Protection: A Solar Siting Guide for Maine Towns is a new resource for municipal officials and community members to support balanced solar siting in communities across Maine. MFT and the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) hosted an informational forum in November 2022 for municipal officials to explore how towns can support solar development while minimizing impacts to valuable agricultural resources. Watch the recording of that forum.

State of Maine Agriculture Report Series

Dairy Sector Report

The dairy sector has historically played an anchoring role in Maine’s agricultural economy. Today, dairy farmers are facing daunting challenges that threaten the stability of the sector. This report provides a historical perspective and contemporary analysis of these challenges and presents opportunities for policy and market interventions that could help.

A cow with short horns standing in a grassy field.
Black and white sheep graze inside a fenced pasture, with budding apple trees in the background.

UMaine Natural Climate Solutions Report

Land-based natural climate solutions have emerged as an important strategy to increase climate change resilience on farms and in our communities, while also improving farm profitability. Natural climate solutions include farmland protection, healthy soil practices, and other land management practices that increase carbon storage, limit greenhouse gas emissions, and improve water quality. Natural climate solutions can be adopted by farmers with operations of all sizes and production methods and can contribute to the financial viability of a farm, helping to both increase yields and save money over time.

2019 Farmer Engagement Report

Farmers across the state were asked to share their ideas about what is needed to strengthen farm businesses and grow Maine agriculture through an engagement effort that was coordinated by a group of agriculture organizations and farm business owners. The findings are synthesized to inform state policy development and the programmatic offerings of agriculture service and education providers.

A farmer wearing plastic gloves swirls their hands through a large wash tub of swiss chard filled with water.
A farmer leaving a wash-pack facility with a plastic bin full of produce.

Unity Food Hub Case Study

The Unity Food Hub was a business that aggregated, marketed, and distributed food from Maine farms and food businesses from 2015 through 2017. This case study documents the history, mission, and structure of UFH, the services it provided, the changes it underwent while in operation, and the reasoning behind the ultimate decision to cease its aggregation and distribution operations in 2017.

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Shelley Megquier, Policy & Research Director

Shelley Megquier

Policy and Research Director

Shelley Megquier

Policy and Research Director

Shelley Megquier, Policy & Research Director