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Amanda Beal to Lead Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry

MOFGA Hails Commissioner Nomination as Ideal Choice

Amanda Beal

Amanda Beal

January 18, 2019 (Unity, ME) - The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) announced unbridled enthusiasm for Amanda Beal, Governor Janet Mills' choice for State Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (ACF). This was Mills' final nomination of dynamic individuals who will lead the major departments of Maine's state government. Beal has stepped down from her role as board member of MOFGA, where she served for 14 years including two as president, and will now transition from her role as president and CEO of Maine Farmland Trust.

"MOFGA has worked closely with policy makers in Augusta for almost fifty years and, while we have made great strides to reinvigorate Maine agriculture, we recognize that we have huge challenges ahead of us," said MOFGA executive director Sarah Alexander. "Amanda Beal is the ideal person to lead the department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry as we move forward to create a healthy and sustainable farm and forest economy."

In addition to Beal's extensive hands-on and life experience on Maine farms, Amanda has extensive academic credentials in the field. She began graduate studies in the Agriculture, Food & Environment master's program at Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and pursued her Ph.D. in the Natural Resources and Earth Systems Science program at the University of New Hampshire. She is co-author of A New England Food Vision: Healthy Food for All, Sustainable Farming and Fishing, Thriving Communities.

"She's the whole package," said Alexander. "Having grown up on a Maine dairy farm family, she understands the challenges facing farmers and foresters, she has extensive experience in the conservation community, she is smart, articulate, thoughtful, and an excellent listener. She has worked tirelessly to help create a vision and a plan for Maine's agricultural future, and I know that she will work with everyone in the agricultural community to chart a path forward. MOFGA cannot think of a more qualified individual to work with Governor Mills on developing agricultural programs that will support all Maine farms, help them to be successful in the marketplace, and ensure that Maine people have access to healthy, Maine food."

Beal's nomination reflects a real shift in energy and vision for the future of Maine agriculture. Beal sees challenges as opportunities and boldly embraces them. In addition to her leadership service with Maine Farmland Trust and MOFGA, she was a founding member of Maine's Eat Local Foods Coalition and served for many years on the Portland-based food and farming organization Cultivating Community. Beal works across party lines, encourages creative and constructive input from growers in all commodity areas and specialty crops, understands the challenges and efficiencies of different farm management practices, has deep ties to families along the full spectrum of the farm production scale, and has worked with farmers from Fort Kent to Kittery, Fryeburg to Calais.

"MOFGA is enthusiastic about a fresh start in Augusta with lots of new energy and ideas for creating a future of healthy ecosystems, communities, people and economies sustained by the practices of organic agriculture," said Alexander. "We also are very excited about opportunities to work with conservation and forestry professionals in the department to protect the health and productivity of our soils, our land and our vast natural resources that provide so much opportunity for a sustainable and vibrant economy. The landscape in Augusta is a harbinger of the agriculture that MOFGA envisions for our next generation."

 

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