Amanda Beal | Commissioner of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation + Forestry

Amanda Beal has fond memories from growing up on a dairy farm in Litchfield, but the experience also instilled in her a sense of the hard work required to be a farmer. Later, when she began helping to develop a succession plan for her younger brother to take over the family farm, she discovered how complicated and challenging ownership transitions can be for farmers. It’s an issue facing farms across Maine, with older farmers retiring and trying to find a way to transition ownership of their farmland, and one that Beal addressed when she became president and CEO of Maine Farmland Trust. “That point of transition can be a real point of vulnerability for farms. If it doesn’t feel like you can make other options work or if pressed for time to make a change, the future of that land can be at risk for development,” Beal says. “The amount of really good farmland soil is finite.” Now, as commissioner of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry, her purview is even more broad. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for those who make their living from the land, like our farmers and foresters, and see our natural resource base here in Maine as the real and most enduring backbone of our economy,” Beal says. “Having grown up in a farming family, I also appreciate what a special upbringing I had, and want to ensure that our family farms thrive, and that farming is a viable way of life for generations to come.”

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