UMaine mentioned in BDN article on proposed farm bill

The University of Maine was mentioned in the Bangor Daily News article, “Proposed farm bill could mean bad news for Maine’s organic farmers.” Reviewed and renewed every five years, the farm bill includes funding and policy language on federal trade, commodity programs, rural development, conservation, agricultural research, food and nutrition programs and marketing, the article states. Those in the state’s agricultural offices are keeping an eye on the farm bill’s progress but said there is still a long way to go before a final bill is signed. Two of Maine’s top crops — potatoes and blueberries — reap $600,000 worth of benefits every year thanks to funding in the current farm bill, according to Walter Whitcomb, commissioner of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. Despite being common in Maine, the crops are considered “specialty crops” on the national level and are thus eligible for the federal Specialty Crop Block Grant money, the BDN reported. “That money is used to fund research and programs for those two crops,” Whitcomb said. “The bulk of it goes to the Maine Blueberry Commission and the Maine Potato Board with some also going to the University of Maine.”