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July 20, 2018

In Aroostook County, King Discusses Agricultural Innovation with Farmers

FORT FAIRFIELD, ME – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) visited Buck Farms in Mapleton and Michaud Farms in Fort Fairfield to discuss opportunities for Maine’s agricultural producers to diversify their crop selection and energy production. Buck Farms grows a variety of crops, including potatoes, but has recently focused on barley and hops in order to supply Maine’s growing craft beer industry, while Michaud Farms has built a solar array that provides significant energy and has cut the farm’s electric bill in half. 

“Maine’s farmers are the foundation of our state’s rural communities, with a long and proud tradition of producing superior agricultural product – but in order to compete in the global marketplace, farms must combine that tradition with innovative approaches and tools,” said Senator King. “Both Buck Farms and Michaud Farms are willing to embrace new opportunities, whether it be shifting to different crops to capitalize on market demands or utilizing new technologies to reduce costs. They are as dedicated and resilient as the generations of farmers that came before them, and are an example for this generation and the next.”

Senator King has been a strong advocate for Maine farmers, and last month, the Senate passed its version of the Farm Bill with a number of King-backed provisions to support innovation and create new opportunities for the Maine’s agricultural communities. One of these provisions directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to use the 2017 Census of Agriculture to better understand the changing needs of agriculture and rural communities. Specifically, the provision aims to help Cooperative Extension programs better address the challenges facing small and diverse farms and ranches, veteran farmers and ranchers, value-added agriculture, direct-to-consumer sales, and specialty crops. Another King-supported provision included in the legislation creates permanent mandatory funding to help educate and train beginning farmers and ranchers. The importance of bringing young people into farming was discussed during Senator King’s visit to Michaud Farms; one of the farm’s proprietors, Trevor Michaud, was named Young Farmer of the Year in 2006 by the Maine Potato Board.

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