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April 4, 2007
Last Tuesday I celebrated my one-year anniversary as Maine’s Commissioner of Agriculture. It has been the most extraordinary experience of my life. It’s been interesting and challenging, but I’ve enjoyed every day of the past year. I can think of no greater privilege than that of representing this diverse and dynamic industry as we work together to preserve and expand Maine agriculture.
Over the past year, I have developed a great respect for the ladies and gentlemen who work for the Maine Department of Agriculture. The Department has a very broad mandate—everything from the bottle bill to assuring the integrity of commercial transactions; from providing the highest quality seed stock to ensuring that our food supply is wholesome and unadulterated; from assisting farms to develop and implement business plans to preserving farmland and open space for our future. The women and men of your Department of Agriculture are dedicated to the future of Maine agriculture and are passionate about your success.
When the history of Maine agriculture is written, it will note that our current day farmers are not only dedicated to the success of their farms and their industry, but that they are superlative stewards of our natural resources. Throughout the history of Maine agriculture, we have benefited from great leaders, but today’s farmers are focused on practices that preserve our land, improve our soil and provide food produced by ethical methods. I’m particularly impressed by the young people entering agriculture. They symbolize a proud future for agriculture in Maine.
We have an agricultural committee in the Legislature that is working hard for our mutual interests. We have excellent partners in the many agricultural organizations, at the University of Maine, at other state agencies, and in our federal agencies. You have earned the trust and respect of our citizens who have demonstrated their willingness to seek out and purchase locally grown products when available.
We have incredible challenges ahead of us, but I am convinced that, if we work together and stay the course, we can bring forth a new day for Maine agriculture and a great new prosperity for our rural communities.
Seth “Brad” Bradstreet, III Commissioner of Agriculture
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