New Program Offers Free Legal Help to Farmers

May 18, 2015
Tom Porter / MPBN

The Conservation Law Foundation Monday formally launched a initiative that provides pro bono legal assistance to local farmers, food entrepreneurs and the organizations that support them.

The Legal Services Food Hub is modeled on a similar program in Massachusetts. Proponents say it aims to scale up the local food system by taking some of the pressure off small-scale farmers and others in Maine's food production business.

Jennifer Mitchell

FREEPORT, Maine _With spring, and a busy lambing season around the corner, sheep farmers are starting to start shear their flocks, but experts say farmers often can't find the trained help they need.

Jennifer Mitchell

LINCOLNVILLE, Maine - The average age of a farmer in the U.S. is 58.3 - a number that's been steadily ticking upward for more than 30 years.

Jennifer Mitchell

  Apple growers across Northern New England say they probably won't see last year's volume across all varieties, but they're expecting a decent crop as the season kicks off with early cultivars.

An Aroostook County potato processing company broke ground Wednesday on what company officials say is an $8.5 million expansion.

The expansion of the Naturally Potatoes processing plant in Mars Hill will double the facility's production and storage.

"It's a nice combination of things. It's good for the potato industry, good for the economy of Northern Maine, and the state of Maine," says Naturally Potatoes CEO William Haggett.

Patty Wight / MPBN

Mainers like buying local. And it's not just a slogan, it's now a documented fact, according to a local food initiative called the Maine Food Strategy, which today released its first ever Consumer Survey Report. The group hopes that the findings will accelerate even more local food purchasing -- and beyond fresh fruits and veggies.

Maine's potato growers don't have a whole lot to celebrate at the moment; a major processing contract negotiated by a growers' bargaining council resulted in disappointingly low figures. Maine's spud crop last year was worth almost $170 million dollars and potato farmers cultivated some 54,000 acres, most of that in Aroostook County. But fewer acres will be planted this year, and with a chilly, wet spring in northern Maine, 2014 could be a tough one for many growers of Maine's iconic tuber.

  A discussion about the just released Maine Food Strategy Report. It details the food choices and buying habits of Mainers, including where they shop, how they define "local" and what influences purchasing decisions. What is the potential for Maine's farmers and fishermen?

File photo / MPBN

Spring is finally here and so are our friendly pollinating friends, the bee. There are more than 20,000 different species of bees. Some are good for beekeeping, others are not. Learn which is which, plus the role of the bee in pollination and farming.

 We've all witnessed the ongoing saga of the slow decline of Maine's dairy industry as measured by the number of family farms, and some processors. So where are we headed? One of the region's largest operations, Oakhurst dairy, has been sold to a national farmer-owned co-op. Maine Farmers who lost their contracts with processors decided to team up and create their own company called Moo Milk, that's putting Maine product on store shelves.

Host Keith Shortall discussed the future of dairy farming in Maine with:

Bill Eldridge, CEO of MOO Milk


Aug 21, 2013

  All things blueberries - from their nutritional value to farming them.

Host Jennifer Rooks was joined by 

Susan Davis MS, RD, Nutrition Advisor, Wild Blueberry Association of North America 

David Bell, Executive Director, Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine 

Greg Bridges, a wild blueberry farmer