Maine Farmland Trust

Farming in Maine is in transition. According to the most recent Census of Agriculture, in the five years from 2012-2017, Maine lost 10 percent of its farmland and 573 farms. On the other hand, Maine has more young farmers per capita than just about any other state. Agriculture Commissioner Amanda Beal is responsible for helping grow and promote agriculture in Maine. Beal has recently been in the news pushing to extend federal aid to members of Maine’s wild blueberry industry. She’s also requested that the federal government finalize its proposed “origin of livestock” standards for organic dairy farms. We’ll discuss the other initiatives Beal is engaged with and the priorities of the Mills’ administration.

The 30th Annual Open Farm Day takes place on July 28, and more than 130 farms are participating. Our panel discusses statewide farming and agricultural community trends and news.

This is part of Maine Calling’s yearlong focus on statewide rural issues.

Maine's agricultural future depends on the interest and involvement of young people. We'll learn about the programs and educational efforts aimed at fostering the farmers of tomorrow—and why some see these young people as essential to the economic success and culture of our state.

Ed Morin / Maine Public file

Maine’s 1st Congressional District representative joins us to discuss the latest news from Washington, D.C., including her work on prescription drug pricing, climate change, farming and ocean acidification. We’ll also ask what it’s like working in the majority party.

Broadcasting from the floor of the Augusta Civic Center at the annual State of Maine Agricultural Trades Show, we’ll learn about the important role agriculture plays in the Maine economy and the issues facing farmers as they seek new markets and better crop yields.

A still from Forgotten Farms

Maine Public TV Air Time:
Thur., February 7 at 10:00 pm

Dairy Farms remain the backbone of agriculture in New England, but they fight for survival in an age of artisan cheese and kale.

A still frame from Ice Harvesting Sampler

Maine Public TV Air Times:
Thur., January 31 at 10:00 pm
Sat., February 2 at 11:00 am

During the 19th century, before mechanical ice making was perfected and later replaced by modern refrigeration, harvesting natural ice was big business in New England. Ice was cut in the winter and stored in ice houses to allow for year round distribution. Early harvesters used hand saws on frozen ponds and streams while later, gasoline powered saws were used.

Misty Meadows Farms in Clinton prepares for the Farm Days trade show Thur., Aug. 23 & Fri., Aug. 24.

A working farm in Clinton is hosting a two day Agricultural Trade Show through tomorrow. Organizers say Maine Farms Days at Misty Meadows Farm is designed to give the public and farmers the opportunity to visit a working farm, see the operation of new equipment and technology and experience different areas of agriculture.

Dale Finseth, Executive Director of the Kennebec Soil and Water Conversation District, says the event dates back to at least 1969. He says it’s his understanding that the event initially focused on dairy farms and farmers.

Growing Local video still

Maine Public TV Air Times:
Thur., March 23 at 10:00 pm
Sat., March 25 at 11:00 am

While "buying local" is on the rise, the stories in Growing Local make clear that small farms and access to locally produced food is not a sure thing.

For more viewing options and information about the production visit the film-maker's website.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is making Maine farms hard-hit by the drought eligible for federal assistance.

The USDA has designated Androscoggin and Oxford counties as primary natural disaster areas because of the dry summer.

Growing Local production poster

Maine Public TV Air Time:
Sat., July 23 at 11:00 am

While "buying local" is on the rise, the stories in Growing Local make clear that small farms and access to locally produced food is not a sure thing.

In three short vignettes we meet the young farm couple Ben and Tayrn, who, on risky sweat-equity, have revitalized a famously fertile piece of farmland into a thriving community food hub; artisanal butcher Ben who helps us better understand how healthier, thoughtful meat production can be supported and sustained; and Richard and Adam, father and son organic dairy farmers struggling to keep their family farm going and in the family.

These poignant stories help us understand the interconnected fates of Maine's small farms, consumers and the local food movement.

A member of the Gregg family uses a team of horses to harvest the crops

Maine Public TV Air Time:
Sunday, July 10 at 5:00 pm

A year in the life of the Gregg family on a four hundred acre farm in Mapleton, Maine where three generations of Country folk still work the land and forest using workhorses.

From harrowing to haying, and from plowing in the fields to twitching out logs in the snowy woods, the Greggs rely on a team of six workhorses to complete their tasks. This film shows heritage farming, done by the Greggs, but it also provides a glimpse into the Gregg family life.

The Lilac Ridge Farm family

Maine Public TV Air Times:
Thur., June 23 at 10:30 pm
Sat., June 25 at 11:30 am

A film about sustainable agriculture and local food, centered on a family run farm in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Lilac Ridge: Life on a Family Farm was produced by Andy Reichsman and Kate Purdie of Ames Hill Film and Video.

A worker in the New Gloucester creamery
Jennifer Mitchell/MPBN

NEW GLOUCESTER, Maine — Maine's food industry is in the midst of a transition. The saga of slow decline for family farms has shifted to a story about the potential for new market opportunities — particularly for those that are branded as high quality products from Maine.

Jennifer Mitchell / MPBN

MAPLETON, Maine — For decades, states like California have been synonymous with "agriculture," but as western graze lands dry up, producers and distributors are looking for fertile new places to grow crops and produce food.