This letter to the editor originally appeared in the Bangor Daily News.
As president of the Maine Farm Bureau and the co-owner of a small farm in Unity, I can honestly say this has been a tumultuous session in Augusta for Maine farmers. In total, the bureau kept a close eye on 143 bills that our board of directors agreed would have some sort of impact on the agriculture in Maine. To accomplish this goal, the farmers that make up our grassroots organization rely heavily on our staff so that we can remain where we are most needed – on our farms.
From time to time, bills presented were significant enough to make the trek to Augusta to sit shoulder-to-shoulder as farmers in committee rooms to be sure that our voices were heard.
The most significant victory for farmers this session wasn’t the passage of a bill, but rather the defeat one: LD 1251, “An Act To Make Agricultural Workers and Other Workers Employees Under the Wage and Hour Laws.”
This bill singlehandedly had the potential to put Maine farms out of business. But together, we were able to band together in a way that we should all be proud of.
Farmers will be the first to tell you that our crews are family to us — we often spend more time with them than we do our biological families — and we know that our success is closely linked to theirs.
Thank you to all who took the time to testify, and to members of the committee for swiftly defeating LD 1251.