September 20, 2018
CAPE ELIZABETH, ME – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) joined U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue at the William H. Jordan Farm in Cape Elizabeth. Senator King and Secretary Perdue toured the farm and met with Maine agricultural leaders representing a variety of important sectors of the state’s agricultural economy and discuss the challenges they face. Senator King and Secretary Perdue were also joined by Representative Chellie Pingree (D-Maine).
“Maine farmers feed our people, drive our economy, and carry on traditions dating back generations,” said Senator King. “Our farmers are a vital part of Maine, and it’s critical that the USDA understands the significant role they play in our rural economy, the challenges they’re facing and the opportunities the Department can provide to help Maine agriculture grow and innovate. Today’s visit allowed Secretary Perdue to see what ‘made in Maine’ really means – that both our products and our people are second-to-none.”
Senator King has been a strong advocate for Maine farmers, and in June, 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, including a modernization of rural broadband programs, permanent funding to educate and train beginning farmers and ranchers, and continuing support for important Maine products like dairy, blueberries and potatoes. In the months since the Senate Farm Bill passed, Senator King has met with agricultural leaders around the state to discuss its provisions and other challenges facing Maine farmers, meeting with farmers in Aroostook County in July and Penobscot County in August to discuss their efforts to innovate. Earlier this month he also highlighted the challenge of food insecurity in Maine during a visit to Good Shepherd Food Bank.
Senator King has also pushed to help Maine farms in a variety of ways, including introducing the PRIME Act to help small farmers bypass burdensome federal regulations for locally produced meats. He has also introduced the CREAATE Act, which would expand export opportunities for agricultural producers by revitalizing the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program; both of these programs aim to increase American agricultural exports, and generate a net return of $28.30 for every dollar invested. Senator King has also been a vocal advocate in favor of clear FDA labels for pure, single ingredient products like maple syrup and honey, and spoke on the Senate floor about this topic in June.