FREE e-scribe now!

This week’s edition!

Ag Fairs are Back in Maine

Guest Column by Sen. Ned Claxton

(July 1, 2022) — It’s the time of year we’ve all been waiting for: summer in Maine! No matter what your favorite hobbies are this season — fishing, hiking, gardening or just sitting by a fire — there’s something for everyone during a Maine summer. And let’s not forget about one of the greatest summertime traditions we’re lucky to have, which are the Maine Agricultural Fairs!

For generations, folks have been attending these fairs around the state, whether they work in agriculture or not. I know it’s something that Mainers look forward to each year, and it’s a sure sign that summer has arrived. The fair schedule kicked off at the end of June in Monmouth, and will run through the beginning of October, closing with the Fryeburg Fair. No matter what part of the state you’re in, there’s likely a fair nearby. To view the full fair lineup, visit I would like to highlight a couple of fairs happening near our area this summer. From Aug. 10-15, the Topsham Fair will be open, and later on in the summer, we’ll have the Oxford Fair from Sept. 14-17. I hope you can get out and enjoy!

We can’t talk about agriculture fairs, however, without talking about Maine farmers. The past few years haven’t been easy for these folks, first with COVID-19 and supply chain disruptions, and now rising costs all around, from fertilizer to fuel. In the Legislature, we’ve taken action to support Maine farmers and help them face newly emerging threats head on. This year, my colleagues and I took significant steps to reduce the harmful impacts of PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals.” Unfortunately, Maine farms have taken the brunt of the impact, largely due to an old practice of spreading bio-solids – the remnant of the wastewater treatment process – over fields. While it served as an inexpensive fertilizer, it also contaminated lots of farmland with PFAS. It’s important to know that not all bio-solids were contaminated by PFAS. To help sort out what farmland was affected, a statewide testing program has started. To learn more, visit

This year, we heard heart-wrenching stories from farmers who were finding out that their soil and drinking water are heavily contaminated, and they could no longer sell their crops or even feed their own families from the land they have farmed for generations. PFAS has put their businesses on the line, and they need our support. To start, we passed a law prohibiting the spreading of bio-solids on farmland. This was an obvious step to take to limit further contamination. We also knew that there was a lot we had to learn and do going forward to deal with the PFAS crisis. That’s why we set aside $60 million in a new PFAS Trust Fund, which will be used for PFAS remediation, expanding testing capacity, relocating farms who have been affected, and more. This is a critical investment to ensure Maine farmers can weather this crisis, and I’m thankful lawmakers came together in a bipartisan fashion to support the measure.  

In addition to PFAS, farmers have struggled with severe drought conditions in recent years. The unfortunate truth is that with climate change comes more frequent spells of extreme weather, and droughts in Maine are likely here to stay during our summers. To help combat this, we created a new Drought Relief Grant Program. This new grant program will allow farmers who have been affected by drought to apply for funding to establish a new source of irrigation for their fields, and overcome drought conditions. The source for irrigation water must be sustainable, environmentally sound and affordable. This will be a critical tool for farmers to use in worst-case scenarios.

Last year, we also supported Maine farmers by encouraging and reimbursing the purchase of local foods by our school systems, and allocating federal relief dollars to the agriculture industry. While I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish, there will be more that needs to be done going forward in order to support our farmers and food producers. We need to ensure these folks can thrive and continue to feed our state and serve their communities.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to me if I can be of assistance to you. You can send me an email at or call my office at 287-1515.

Leave a Reply

Contact Us!

89 Union Street, Suite 1014
Auburn, ME 04210
(207) 795-5017