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
- Supporting a state ban on the land application of PFAS-contaminated sewage sludge and compost derived from sludge, as well as the sale of compost derived from sludge in Maine. The Maine Legislature passed LD 1911 to keep PFAS off of Maine farms! Thank you to all of our members and supporters who took action on this bill.
- Supporting the establishment of a $60 million state fund to provide farmers impacted by PFAS contamination with critical resources to support health monitoring, income replacement, new business models, relocation services, the buying of contaminated land, and soil remediation research. Thank you to all of our members and supporters who responded to our action alerts and contacted their legislators to urge them to provide robust support to farmers impacted by PFAS contamination.
- 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
The 2023 Farm Bill could provide a critical means of support for impacted farmers. As we continue to work with farmers across the state to address the many challenges PFAS poses, they share with us the areas where they need more support. MFT is focusing our policy efforts on advocating for the inclusion of those needs in the Farm Bill to form a federal farmer safety net. At this time, they include:
- Federal income replacement for impacted farmers across all agricultural sectors
- Support for farmers to make changes to their infrastructure, farm business practices, and/or pivot their businesses
- Support to enable farmers to access new farmland or relocate
- Research to better understand the effects of PFAS contamination on different farm products
- Testing support and research to inform farm management decisions
- Research on soil remediation methods, including phytoremediation
Stay tuned over the coming months, as we will be reaching out with updates and ways that you can use your voice to help secure a federal safety net to support farmers impacted by PFAS contamination in Maine, and across the nation.
Other ways we’re stepping up for farms:
- To help fill the gap for farms while the state establishes longer-term support programs, MFT & MOFGA 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 keep easements intact, while providing significant flexibility to support impacted farmers to ensure that easements neither add stressors nor hamper farmers’ ability to pivot their farm business.
- 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 farmland that cannot be returned to production in the near future.
- Supporting the establishment of research projects to inform farm management practices and advance soil remediation methods.
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.