Take Action

Welcome to our Take Action page. We’re so glad you’re here!

MOFGA is working on many bills in the State Legislature. We’ll provide updates here as they are reported out of the Revisor’s office to various committees.

Please note, the Legislature has adjourned until April 28. Legislators continue with committee work but will not make final votes on the House and Senate floors until they reconvene in late April.

We hope you will reach out to your legislators and urge them to support MOFGA’s position on these priorities. Civic engagement is virtual in the Legislature due to COVID-19. Here’s how you can participate. You may watch hearings or work sessions live or recorded on the Legislature’s various committee YouTube channels.

MOFGA Priority Bills

LD 437 – An Act To Establish the Maine Healthy Soils Program
Sponsored by Senator Stacy Brenner
Summary: This is MOFGA’s top legislative priority and we’re working closely with Maine Farmland Trust and the Maine Chapter of the Sierra Club to advance this important bill. Maintaining soil organic matter levels is at the heart of organic farming. Not only does organic matter improve structure, but it is the key to supporting the dynamic balance of the soil system by feeding bacterial and animal life as well as plants. Farmers across the management spectrum reap benefits from healthy soils practices especially as they face dramatic shifts in weather patterns. The goal of this legislation is to create a one-stop shop for farmers seeking healthy soils information including: healthy soils management practices; technical assistance services provided by both governmental and non-governmental entities; connections to farmers who are using these practices successfully; and funding opportunities to support the use of these practices. The Program would have a fund associated with it that could receive state funding in future years, but, in the interim, could be a depository for any federal or philanthropic funding.
Status: The Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry worked on this bill. A public hearing took place on Thursday, March 4, and a work session on the bill happened on Tuesday, March 16 generating a near unanimous committee vote in support of this legislation. MOFGA co-authored a Portland Press Herald opinion editorial with Maine Farmland Trust and the Maine Chapter of the Sierra Club. The Press Herald also published its own editorial in support of this bill. A . Take action to encourage your legislators to support this healthy soils legislation.

LD 125 – An Act To Prohibit the Aerial Spraying of Glyphosate and Other Synthetic Herbicides for the Purpose of Silviculture
Sponsored by Senator Troy Jackson
Summary: This is a MOFGA priority and also a priority of Maine’s Environmental Priorities Coalition. Forestry herbicides such as glyphosate threaten public health, ecological systems, and local farms—yet Maine’s largest forest landowners routinely use aerial spraying of these hazardous chemicals to manage their property. Banning this practice will encourage a shift toward more ecologically friendly forestry management.
Status: The Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee (ACF) is working on this bill. A hearing took place on Tuesday, March 2, and, on Tuesday, March 16, the ACF held its first work session on the bill. You can watch the public hearing on the ACF’s YouTube channel. You can also watch the work session (go to the 1:09 mark). The Bangor Daily News ran an op-ed from MOFGA on this topicMore information about this issue is here. Governor Mills and Maine’s Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry oppose this bill. Please contact Governor Mills and urge her to change her position and support this important legislation to protect Maine’s people, environment and North Woods economy. We await a second work session on this bill. Committee members have requested additional information from the forest industry. Take action to encourage your legislators to support this bill here.

LD 155 – Resolve, Directing the Board of Pesticides Control To Prohibit the Use of Certain Neonicotinoids for Outdoor Residential Use
Sponsored by Representative Nicole Grohoski
Summary: A growing body of scientific evidence links neonicotinoid pesticides (neonics) with the alarming decline of bee populations. In addition to killing bees outright, research has shown that even low levels of these dangerous pesticides impair bees’ ability to learn, to find their way back to the hive, to collect food, to produce new queens, and to mount an effective immune response. Neonics are “systemic” pesticides, which means that the chemicals move inside plants. Generally, plant roots absorb the chemicals and then the chemicals move throughout the entire plant. Neonics are very efficient tools for many conventional farmers, landscapers and gardeners because any pest that feeds on any part of the plant will be exposed to the toxin. The poison also flows through to the pollen and nectar and is toxic to bees and other important pollinators. The Legislature will take up discussion on this important step toward reducing the use of products with certain neonic active ingredients: dinotefuran, clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam. The bill seeks to ban the use of these chemicals for application in outdoor residential landscapes.
Status: The Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee (ACF) held a public hearing on this bill on Thursday, February 18, held two subsequent work sessions, and, on Tuesday, March 9, astoundingly voted (7-5, with one member absent) that the bill should be weakened significantly to continue the licensed applicator use of neonics for aesthetic purposes. A minority report amendment, which would maintain the prohibition for homeowners’ outdoor use and allow licensed applicator use only for invasive species in landscaping, still is in play. This is the ACF’s first vote on pesticides legislation and it is a HUGE disappointment. Those voting to continue to allow pollinator-poisoning neonics to be used for aesthetic purposes include: Senator Jim Dill of Penobscot​,  Senator Russell Black of Franklin​, Representative Sue Bernard of Caribou​, Representative Jeffrey Gifford of Lincoln​, Representative Randy Hall of Wilton​, Representative Scott Landry of Farmington​, and Representative Thomas Skolfield of Weld​.​ Please take action to encourage your legislators to support the original intent of LD 155 — to prohibit the use of neonics for landscaping purposes. Urge them to resist pesticide industry influence on the legislative process and reject the drastically weakened amendment that would allow continued poisoning of the landscape for aesthetic purposes.

LD 316 – An Act To Prohibit the Use of Chlorpyrifos.
Sponsored by: Representative Vicki Doudera
Summary: Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate insecticide used for many food crops, mosquito control and turf management. It has been at the forefront of concern about synthetic pesticides for decades due to its neurotoxicity, especially among young children. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned chlorpyrifos for residential use in 2001 recognizing that children exposed to the substance exhibited impaired cognitive function, developmental delays, lower IQs, attention deficit disorder, and other disorders of the neurosystem. Chlorpyrifos also was linked to adverse impacts on the reproductive system, renal, hepatic, and endocrine systems. In 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced its intention to ban all uses of chlorpyrifos. In 2017, EPA reversed the order to ban the chemical and re-registered it for sale and use in agriculture in the U.S. Recognizing the dire impact that chlorpyrifos has on children, several states, including Hawaii, New York, Maryland and California have since passed laws to restrict or ban the pesticide. LD 316, would prohibit the use of chlorpyrifos in Maine beginning in 2022, allowing limited exemptions for one year. MOFGA supports a full ban on the sale and use of chlorpyrifos.
Status: A public hearing before the Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, took place on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, at 9:00 a.m. A work session took place on Tuesday, March 16 and MOFGA Public Policy Committee member Sharon Tisher provided excellent information supporting the long-overdue ban on chlorpyrifos. You still may see Sharon’s presentation on the ACF YouTube Channel (go to the 44 minute mark).

Maine’s Environmental Priorities Coalition

Through our membership with Maine’s Environmental Priorities Coalition (EPC), MOFGA also supports collective opportunities to tackle climate change, help create jobs, reduce pollution in our communities, increase investment in critical infrastructure, and bring more equity into environmental policy decisions. Priorities in the EPC’s common agenda include:

  • Banning aerial herbicide spraying for forestry management
  • Recognizing tribal sovereignty
  • Investing in the Land for Maine’s Future Program
  • Closing the loophole in waste management laws that allow out-of-state wastes to be dumped at the Juniper Ridge landfill
  • Saving Maine’s municipal recycling programs
  • Aligning state agencies with requirements of Maine’s Climate Action Plan
  • Establishing a Green Bank to finance climate solutions
  • Phasing out toxic PFAS chemicals
  • Funding energy efficiency and weatherization projects

Additional Bills That MOFGA Is Tracking

We’re following many other bills in the Legislature. We’ll provide updates as the Legislature schedules hearings. The following list includes bill titles that we know are important to MOFGA’s community. As these bill concepts come to life, we’ll provide more details. Let us know if you hear of a bill that needs MOFGA’s attention. Send an email to Heather Spalding – MOFGA Deputy Director and Senior Policy Director.

Climate & Energy

  • Resolve, To Support Farmland Preservation by Allowing the Siting of Solar Energy Installations on Land Enrolled in the Farm and Open Space Tax Law Program. Note: the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry is convening a stakeholders committee to work on this issue. This bill will be carried over to the 2022 session and adapted to reflect recommendations of the stakeholders committee. The Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee held a work session on a related bill, LD 820 – Resolve, To Convene a Working Group To Develop Plans To Protect Maine’s Agricultural Lands When Siting Solar Arrays, and moved to carry over this bill to the next session as well. We know that this topic is of great concern to MOFGA’s farmers and we will let you know of opportunities to weigh in on the stakeholder process.
  • An Act To Require the Public Utilities Commission and Other State Agencies To Consider Climate Change and Vulnerable Communities in Their Decision Making. This bill awaits an LD number and committee assignment.

Farm Viability

Human Health & Environment

Organic Research & Education

Social Justice & Equity

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