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Maine Farmland Trust CEO chosen to lead Maine's Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Dept.

BY Staff

1/21/2019
Courtesy / Office of Gov. Janet Mills
Courtesy / Office of Gov. Janet Mills
Amanda Beal, president and CEO of Maine Farmland Trust, has been nominated by Gov. Janet Mills to lead Maine's Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

Gov. Janet Mills on Jan. 18 nominated Maine Farmland Trust President Amanda Beal as the state’s next commissioner of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, completing her roster of 15 Cabinet picks less than three weeks after taking office.
If confirmed, Beal would lead a department that was consolidated during the LePage administration and which was led by Walter Whitcomb. She has served as president and CEO of Maine Farmland Trust since 2016.
Beal, 46, grew up on a dairy farm and currently lives in Warren, where she and her husband own a 35-acre farm and are working to establish a fruit orchard, manage their 25-acre woodlot and establish a cheese-producing creamery.
“Amanda has dedicated much of her career to supporting Maine’s agricultural economy and bolstering conservation efforts across the state,” Mills said in Friday’s announcement. “Her wealth of knowledge, experience and skills will be a valuable asset to the people of Maine.”
Before becoming president of Maine Farmland Trust, Beal served as vice president of programs for the nonprofit. Previous experience includes working as an adjunct faculty member at the University of New England and as a self-employed food systems research and policy consultant. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Maine and holds a master’s degree in agriculture, food and environment from Tufts University.
Beal is among eight female Cabinet picks.
"To a large degree, our state is characterized by the intersection of agriculture, conservation and forestry, and, to that end, I believe it is up to this department to lead the state’s efforts to maintain that brand, our way of life, and our culture," Beal said in a statement accompanying Mills' announcement. "Ensuring that these sectors thrive is not only necessary for the economic health of our state, but for sustaining many of the essential qualities that define Maine."
Pierce Atwood partner Andrea Cianchette Maker said at last week’s MEREDA real estate conference that the new governor had assembled her cabinet “in fairly short order” and chose people for their competence, knowledge and experience in state agencies rather than as political payback.
Confirmation hearings are scheduled to take place in Augusta later this month.