2015 New Maine Farm Bureau Policies


Agricultural Research and Cooperative Extension: We support the Maine Board of Agriculture’s recommendation to the University of Maine President and the University of System Chancellor regarding agricultural research and Cooperative Extension capacity assets and needs including support for the agricultural research programs at the university farms.

Agritourism Definition: We shall work with the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to define agritourism.

Christmas Tree Cutting Permits: We shall introduce legislation eliminating the statutory language: “Only one such permit is needed per work crew.” (MRSA Title 12, §8842-A) in the transportation or cutting of Christmas Trees law. We feel that every member of the work crew shall have a copy of the permit.

Connect Maine Authority: We shall submit legislation increasing the appropriation for Connect Maine Authority from 1 million dollars per year to 5 million dollars per year in order to provide essential high speed internet for rural Maine.

Doe Permits – Western Washington County: We favor the wildlife district encompassing, but not limited to western Washington County, initiate an anterless deer permit system in 2015.

Drones: We shall submit legislation requiring landowner written permission for any aerial surveillance by drones.

Eminent Domain – Public/Private Projects: We oppose any private or public/private use of eminent domain to be allowed to complete a project.

Endangered Species Listings: We feel all natural resource agencies and commissions that classifies and/or determines a special or critical habitat for any flora or fauna shall (1) notify the landowner of record for the impending listing; (2) conduct a public hearing which shall contain an economic impact study for that area; and (3) be based on an actual study of the affected area and not on an assumed potential habitat.

Farm Tractor Definition: We shall introduce legislation removing the definition of “Farm weight tractors” in order that all farm tractors, instead of only light weight tractors, are exempt from hauling from hauling over-width equipment on public ways.

Industrial Hemp: We shall submit legislation authorizing and encouraging industrial hemp growth and research in the State of Maine.

Interstate Commerce Definition: We favor clarifying the definition of interstate commerce to not include the method of payment, method of sale, origin of inputs or origin of packaging and only involves the current transaction.
Maine Farm Bureau Membership Dues-Monthly Payments: We shall offer a membership option of an automatic monthly renewal.
Maine Agricultural Lifetime Achievement Award: We shall create the Jon Olson – Maine Agriculture Lifetime Achievement Award. The award would be given to one person each year at the Maine Farm Bureau Annual Meeting. The award is to recognize an individual for their lifelong outstanding contribution to agriculture in Maine.
Guidelines to consider are as follows:
— Have a vision for Maine agriculture that was directed into action
— Be recognized by peers as providing unselfish service through his/her efforts to promote
and improve Maine agriculture
— Nominations by organizations or an individual will be accepted
— Eligibility for the MFB Lifetime achievement award is open to any Maine resident (MFB
member or nonmember)
— Committee, who will select 3 finalists. An impartial panel will select the winner
— If no recipient is identified the award would not be given that year

Maine Agricultural Lifetime Achievement Award: Jon Olson shall be the 2014 Maine Agricultural Lifetime Achievement Award Winner.

Maine Economic Improvement Funding: We support a state budget increase in the MEIF providing portions of that increase support agricultural research and Cooperative Extension at the University of Maine.

Maine Farm Bureau Staff Organizational Structure: Maine Farm Bureau is going through significant change from a staffing perspective with a key support resource accepting a position outside of the organization and Jon Olson’s retirement slated for the spring of 2015.
We shall form a team to assess the staffing needs and implement an organization that will ensure that the Maine Farm Bureau continues to be the voice of Maine Agriculture and continues to effectively represent the diversity of needs and interests of its membership. And, it is critical that the following functions be supported by the organization:
— Lobbying/Legislation
— Visibility of Farm Bureau and the impact of its members and their work
— Capacity building through alternative funding
— Member benefit management and development
— Membership retention and acquisition

Saltwater and Freshwater Aquaculture Regulatory Jurisdiction: We shall introduce legislation making saltwater and fresh water aquaculture regulated by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

UM System Trustees: We shall introduce legislation to designate an active farmer-producer seat on the Board of Trustees for the University of Maine System.

Unlawful Cutting of Christmas Trees: We shall request the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to adopt rules to administer the Unlawful Cutting of Trees law which requires an approval process, bonding and written permission prior to harvesting of trees by any person who has committed 2 violations of unlawful cutting of trees.