Contacts: Amy Higgins, (207) 287-2735
Jeanne Curran, (207) 287-3156
Third Stakeholder Meeting Scheduled for New Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
(July 27, 2012)
AUGUSTA, Maine – A third public forum on the merger of the departments of Agriculture and Conservation into the new Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (MDACF) will be held next month in Caribou.
While the two previous sessions took place at the University of Maine and in Augusta, this third session will focus on northern Maine’s stakeholders.
“This public discussion is about realigning and strengthening the state government support of our rural agricultural, conservation and forest economy,” said Agriculture Commissioner Walt Whitcomb, MDACF commissioner-designee. “Input in the previous sessions has generated helpful guidance, and again, we’re looking forward to specific ideas from the families and businesses that sustainably use and enjoy Maine’s great outdoors.”
“We are approaching this new agency by first turning to Mainers who earn a living off the land and value our quality of place,” said Conservation Commissioner Bill Beardsley. “With their insight, we believe we can build a department that serves Maine’s 21st century natural-resource economy.”
The details of the meeting are:
1-4 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 7, Caribou Performing Arts Center, Caribou High School, 308 Sweden St., Caribou; open to the public; seating is not limited, but please RSVP no later than Friday, Aug. 3, to: Amy Allen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Participants at the Orono and Augusta meetings spoke on subjects ranging from food science and sustainable forest practices to land-use planning, the eco-economy and outdoor recreation. The Caribou meeting will consist of a brief presentation by both commissioners, followed by an open forum for comments from the public.
Under legislation passed during the 125th Legislature, the new Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry will be formed effective Aug. 30, 2012. Work on the merger is well in process, according to the commissioners of both departments.
The new department will have 732 full-time and seasonal employees and have a budget of $96.5 million. It will be organized into seven divisions.
The organization of the new department creates one ACF Commissioner and two deputy-commissioner positions, while eliminating one commissioner’s position. No other positions are changed.
All professional and technical boards and organizations associated with both departments – from the Maine State Harness Racing Commission, Maine Milk Commission to the Land Use Planning Commission -- will continue to work in conjunction with the new department.
For more information about the Maine Department of Agriculture, go to: http://www.maine.gov/agriculture/index.shtml
For more information about the Maine Department of Conservation, go to: http://www.maine.gov/doc
For more information about the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry: http://www.maine.gov/acf