2021 forecast for Maine's agriculture sector: Farmers count on local food demand

2021 forecast for Maine’s agriculture sector: Farmers depend on native meals demand

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Maine’s farmers and meals producers needed to adapt not solely to the challenges of COVID-19, however to a drought that lasted many of the spring and summer time, and people challenges will proceed into 2021, say these within the trade.

A lot of the variation was to search out new patrons after the state’s eating places shut down, offset a little bit by an uptick in shopper give attention to native meals.

“Many companies have already shifted their operations to adapt to lack of markets and disruptions because of COVID-19, and we count on to proceed to see farms discover revolutionary methods to proceed to feed their communities via direct-to-consumer and on-farm markets,” says Ellen Sabina, Maine Farmland Belief outreach and communications director.

Maine Natural Farmers and Gardeners Affiliation, the farmland belief, the farmers market group and different agricultural organizations will focus in 2021 on ensuring customers proceed to purchase regionally produced meals.

Sarah Alexander, MOFGA director, says that supporting native natural producers not solely helps companies survive, but additionally helps rural communities. “We have now a possibility to extend the meals that we’re producing in Maine to assist each our communities and regional shopper calls for,” she says. “After we develop extra meals, we even have the power to deal with local weather change by rising organically and tending to the soil well being.” 

Courtesy / MOFGA

Sarah Alexander, MOFGA director

MOFGA, which represents 500 growers and producers, plans to give attention to meals system resilience in 2021, together with selling a public coverage platform that has an emphasis on the function that natural agriculture has in mitigating the consequences of local weather change. One other aim is just guaranteeing farmers have the sources and assist they should succeed.

Within the rapid future, farmers’ markets can play a essential function, says Jimmie DeBiasi, director of Maine Federation of Farmers Markets. In 2020, customers turned to farmers’ markets to purchase recent meals. “I feel we will count on that once more this fall and winter at farmers’ markets,” DeBiasi says.

The federal aid invoice accredited on the finish of December included $13 billion nationally for farmers financially harm by the pandemic, however extra assist shall be wanted, these within the trade say.

“We hope to see actual funding in Maine’s meals and farm panorama from the native, state, and federal ranges,” Sabina says. “The pandemic has underscored the worth of a vibrant native meals and farm system — one nimble sufficient to adapt and meet the evolving wants of Maine’s communities.”