The future of farming in Maine depends on how we meet the challenge of PFAS contamination on our farms and farmland.
Our farmers need robust support to address the health and financial impacts of PFAS contamination, and Maine needs robust support for research and remediation so that we have the farmland we need for our future. MFT is partnering with farmers and nonprofits on advocacy actions at both the state and federal levels to ramp up support for farmers whose health and livelihoods are at risk due to PFAS contamination.
Learn more about PFAS and how contamination is impacting Maine farms here.
Meaningful support for farms is going to require swift and significant action at the state and federal levels, and we’re going to need your help to make it happen. Let’s make sure Maine farmers have the land that they need to continue to feed Maine’s economy and our communities for generations to come.
Hear directly from one farm about why Maine farmers need our support to address PFAS contamination:
Here’s what we’re working on at the state and federal levels:
State-Level Advocacy Work
- Advocating for LD 1911, which would ban the land application of sludge and compost derived from sludge, and prohibit the sale of compost derived from sludge in Maine. The Maine Legislature recently passed this bill to keep PFAS off of Maine farms! Thank you to all of our members and supporters who took action on this bill.
- Advocating for LD 2013, which would support farmers in addressing the financial and health impacts of PFAS contamination by establishing a fund and associated advisory committee to invest $100 million in farmer support needs. The Legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee recently voted to include $60 million in the supplemental budget for the LD 2013 farmer support fund. Although we were pushing for a larger amount of funding, this is a huge development for Maine meeting the challenge of PFAS contamination on our farms and farmland! Thank you to all of our members and supporters who responded to our action alerts and contacted members of the Appropriations Committee to urge them to provide robust support to farmers impacted by PFAS contamination.
- Supporting efforts to obtain sufficient state funding for indemnification programs for farmers to compensate farmers for financial loss due to PFAS contamination.
- Advocating for a buy-back program for farms where remediation is not possible in the near future.
- Supporting healthcare coverage and health monitoring for farmers who have been exposed to PFAS chemicals.
- Creating greater state support for research efforts related to both farm management practices that mitigate contamination and the remediation of contaminated farmland.
- Advocating for the prioritization of in-state renewable energy programs on PFAS-contaminated farmland where remediation is not possible in the near future.
Federal-Level Advocacy Work
- Advocating for federal support for longer-term indemnification programs for farmers.
- Identifying and encouraging the use of existing USDA programs to provide financial support.
- Advocating for federal support for a buy-back program for farms where remediation is not possible in the near-future.
- Creating greater federal support for research efforts related to both farm management practices that mitigate contamination and the remediation of contaminated farmland.
Other ways we’re stepping up for farms:
- To help fill the gap for farms until the state can set up an indemnification program, MFT & MOFGA have created an emergency fund to support PFAS testing, mental health, income replacement, water filtration, and more. You can contribute to the fund here.
- Listening closely to farmers and creating programs that respond directly to their needs.
- Working with MFT’s protected Forever Farms to understand how the issue of PFAS might interact with their easements.
- Providing outreach and support for farms to help them navigate the DEP and DACF testing process.
- Providing talking points and guidance to farms and stores to help address customer concerns.
- Adapting our existing business planning programs to support farms dealing with PFAS.
- Exploring alternative uses for farms that cannot be returned to production in the near future.
MFT staff have mobilized to support farmers in our network who are dealing with PFAS contamination with direct services and are working closely with partners on ambitious policy change. You can support our work by making a gift today.