Maine farms and the farmers who run them are a cornerstone of our state, producing a variety of high-quality crops that contribute substantially to Maine’s economy. But farming could become an even more powerful engine of economic development if we support further development of viable farm businesses as well as the infrastructure to enhance value-added opportunities here in Maine. As governor, I will focus on strengthening our agricultural economy and increasing economic benefits to farmers, fishermen, and their rural communities by:
- Expanding markets for Maine agricultural products and increasing rural prosperity: I firmly believe the governor should be the recruiter-in-Chief, promoter-in-Chief, and closer-in Chief for the state, which is why, as governor, I will make opening new markets for Maine’s farmers a priority.
- Investing in Maine-based processing: Maine not only produces some of the world’s best farm crops, but some of the best ocean products as well – but we often confront the challenge of perishability. As governor, I will work with industry to develop new investments in Maine-based processing.
- Maintaining the Farms for the Future program and honor Land for Maine’s Future bonding that benefits agriculture: Under my administration, we will rebuild programs and policies that allow farmers to maintain and grow farmland. I will also promote the value of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and programs that already exist at our public universities that provide invaluable research on soil health, diagnostics, climate change adaptation strategies, and farming technological innovation.
- Promoting agritourism: From breweries to restaurants to farm stands, I believe it is essential that we utilize Maine’s tourism economy for the benefit of our agricultural industry.
- Supporting communication technology for the benefit of all Mainers including farmers. I will work to develop reliable, affordable, high-speed broadband and expanded cellular service.
- Continuing Mainers Feeding Mainers and non-profit partnerships: I will direct continued support to the Mainers Feeding Mainers program, which will help both fight hunger while also providing a viable market option for many Maine farmers, thereby enhancing the agricultural economy. State government should also make use of partnerships established through efforts like Full Plates Full Potential, which empowers hunger-oriented non-profit organizations to execute strategies to address child hunger.