Annual Maine Farm Days Celebration Underway

Aug 20, 2014

Gov. Paul LePage, right, and state Agriculture Commissioner Walter Whitcomb, center, talk with a consitutent at the annual Maine Farm Days celebration in Clinton.
Credit Mal Leary / MPBN

Hundreds of farmers, their families and agri-businesses have taken over the Misty Meadows Farm in Clinton for the annual Maine Farm Days celebration.

Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Walt Whitcomb, a dairy farmer,  said it’s a celebration of Maine agriculture.

“Over the last five years there has been a 27 percent increase in the value of farm corps across the state,” he said. “We have an increasing number of farmers in the state, both large and small. And I think it is hard for the public to digest that because they see the local farm go out of business and they think, God, it’s all bad.”

Whitcomb was joined by Gov. Paul LePage at the event. LePage praised Misty Meadows Farm owners John and Belinda Stoughton for hosting the free event for farmers and those interested in farming.

“Whether it is crop farming, whether it's cattle, forestry, fishing, I tell you, we are open for business, we are open for business,” he said.

LePage said he has just received a letter from someone interested in investing in agriculture in Maine, and he wants to meet with him. He said that will not be a problem, as he wants Maine to become the breadbasket of the Northeast.

Whitcomb says one indication of the health of the industry is the robust attendance at Maine Farm Days. The event has a large number of displays, a children’s learning center with farm animals, educational programs and a farmers' market.

“You have got a tremendous upsurge in local vegetable production, and you got things like blueberries, potatoes and dairy, which are the mainstays, showing increased yields each year," Whitcomb said. "So it’s a positive environment."

Maine Farm days continues through Wednesday and into Thursday.