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February 15, 2019

Legislative committee advances Gov. Mills’ final cabinet nominee

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. The Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry unanimously voted to advance her nomination, with a confirmation vote by the Maine Senate to take place next week.

The Legislature's Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry unanimously voted to advance Gov. Janet Mills nomination of Amanda Beal as commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

Beal's confirmation vote by the Maine Senate could take place as early as next Tuesday, Feb. 19. Fourteen of Mills' 15 cabinet nominees have been confirmed.

As commissioner, Beal will be responsible for the state's various land-based natural-resources including Maine agriculture, forests, and parks and public lands. The agency has a wide range of duties, from protecting the food Maine people eat, to stopping forest fires and marketing Maine's agriculture products to maintaining our parks and public lands, to planning land utilization, and helping farmers.

Beal, 46, grew up on a dairy farm and 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. She is working on her doctorate in natural resources from the University of New Hampshire.

She lives in Warren, where she and her husband own a 35-acre farm and are working to establish an orchard with numerous fruit varieties. They also manage their 25-acre woodlot and established a creamery for on-farm cheese production.

Beal has served as president and CEO of Maine Farmland Trust since 2016, where she has been responsible for leading its efforts to support farmers and revitalize Maine's rural landscape by keeping agricultural lands working. It that role she focused on:

  • Keeping farmland in production across generations.
  • Collaborating and consulting with farmers, food-related businesses and organizations to create food systems that sustain Maine farms.
  • Advocating for Maine's farming potential.

Prior to serving as Maine Farmland Trust's president, she served as vice president of programs for the nonprofit. She is also widely known as the co-author of "A New England Food Vision," which studied the potential for expanding food production on land and at sea in Maine and throughout New England.

Mills issued this statement following the committee's vote: "I am pleased the committee has recognized Amanda's wealth of knowledge, experience, and skills by voting to advance her nomination. With her talents, Amanda will lead a team of committed public servants who are good listeners, have common-sense and a bit of dirt under their nails. She will bring together the diverse but equally important interests overseen by the department."

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