That is good, it has been steady here at 7100 farms for awhile. The dairy farms are what is dwindling. Milk typically beats out potatoes, but last year that won out. A mega-potato farmer in Maine has been chasing former potato ground and hounding the owners putting even more pressure on the dairy farmers who have farmed this type of land for the past 20 years. To give you an idea of how big this particular farmer is, they provide 2% of the USA with potatoes. That is a big market share considering how much potatoes are part of the American diet.
Originally Posted by Robert Mickley
But I do have good news...and with fingers crossed, and toes and legs I might add...
A new program here in Maine is looking to add a new employee to their roster. Its a private organization that matches vacant farms with new farmers. It also promotes easements for current farmland to remain protected from development. Obviously it would be the ideal job for this unemployed guy only because I know why older farmers are hesitant about programs like these and yet know we have to accept new methods or we will no longer be farming. With 75% of the farmland here in older peoples hands, our food is literally about ready to be handed over to the next generation. This relates to the nation...not just Maine...scary!!
Next-Generational transfers are critical if farms will stay as family farms. With the downturn in the economy, land values plummeting there is a very narrow window of opportunity to stem development in Maine and retain farmland. I want to be a part of that transformation and I think I can do such a hard task. It is one of those rare jobs where you have to be willing to step in poo up to your knees to gain farmer buy-in today, and yet tomorrow put on a clean shirt and do a professional luncheon with a benevolent benefactor. Do you know what I mean?
Even if I do not get the job, I hope whoever gets the job is able to permanently protect farmland in Maine for the foreseeable future.
I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"