Having recently celebrated National Agriculture Week, it is important we recognize our state’s farmers, producers and foresters who are critical to the success of our state’s natural resource economy.

Today, Maine’s natural resource economy encompasses every part of the state, and has an economic impact of well over $10 billion. From large operations to mom-and-pop farms, rural communities and the agriculture industry are the backbone of our state. That is why we must support the individuals, families and businesses that work hard every day to make Maine stronger.

This is particularly important as we defeat the pandemic and safely rebuild our economy.

Across the nation, family farms account for 90% of all farms, fueling our nation’s agriculture industry and economy. As needs of farmers change, however, so should policies to ensure they have the tools to succeed.

On the federal level, this can come in the form of a bipartisan, market-based solution to provide farmers with access to the voluntary carbon credit market. This will open up a new revenue stream for the ag community while helping rebuild from the economic downturn brought on by COVID-19. This farmer friendly, free-market proposal is known as the Growing Climate Solutions Act and is anticipated to be reintroduced with support from our own Sen. Collins.

As member of Maine Legislature’s Joint Standing Committees on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, I urge Maine lawmakers to work together to find solutions that will encourage responsible stewardship of our environment while expanding our economic opportunity.

Rep. Tom Skolfield (District 112), Weld

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