Board of Agriculture


Origin and purpose of the Board of Agriculture

The Board of Agriculture advises the Chancellor of the University of Maine System (UMS) and the President of the University of Maine on matters concerning the research conducted by the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station and the agricultural-related educational programs offered by University of Maine Cooperative Extension, including farm-based programs. The board was created by the Maine Legislature in 1998. The board meets 2-3 times a year with the staffs of the Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension. The board helps to identify and prioritize the research and extension programming needs of the agricultural community in Maine. The board also represents the interests of the UMS and University of Maine in the Legislature.

What organizations have representatives on the Board of Agriculture?

Representation on the Board of Agriculture is established by Maine law as outlined below. The dean/director makes recommendations on the appointment of the research faculty members and generally has input on other University of Maine and University of Maine System appointments. The board consists of the following 20 members:

  • A designee of the president of the University of Maine
  • A designee of the chancellor of the University of Maine System
  • The Commissioner of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources or the commissioner’s designee
  • The president of a statewide farm bureau or the president’s designee
  • The president of a statewide agricultural council or the president’s designee
  • Nine members representing nine agricultural or aquaculture industry sectors, one person designated by each of the following:

o   The Maine Potato Board
o   The Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine
o   A statewide pomological society
o   A statewide vegetable and small fruit growers association
o   A statewide dairy industry association
o   A statewide landscape and nursery association
o   A statewide florist and growers association
o   A statewide organic farmers and gardeners association
o   A statewide aquaculture industry association

  • Two members of the joint standing committee of the Maine Legislature having jurisdiction over agricultural matters
  • One farmer with livestock experience in an area other than dairy farming, chosen from a list of three nominees submitted by a statewide beef and sheep producers association, appointed by the governor
  • Two research faculty members from the University of Maine recommended by the college dean/director and appointed by the Board of Trustees of the University of Maine System.
  • The director of University of Maine Cooperative Extension

Who are the current members of the Board of Agriculture?

As of August 20, 2015

  • Robert Bangs, Maine Landscape and Nursery Association
  • David Bell, Agricultural Council of Maine Designee
  • Sebastian Belle, Maine Aquaculture Association
  • Julie-Marie Bickford, Maine Dairy Industry
  • Senator Peter Edgecomb, Member of Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry
  • M. Susan Erich, University of Maine Faculty Associated with Agricultural Research
  • Representative Craig Hickman, Member of Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry
  • Timothy Hobbs, Maine Potato Board
  • Bill Malay, Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine
  • Donald Marean, University of Maine System Chancellor’s Appointee
  • Marilyn Meyerhans, Maine State Pomological Society
  • John Rebar, Executive Director, University of Maine Cooperative Extension
  • Alicyn Ryan Smart, Maine Farm Bureau Designee
  • Eric Seaman, Maine Vegetable and Small Fruit Growers Association
  • Heather Spalding, Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association
  • Lois Berg Stack, University of Maine Faculty Associated with Agricultural Research
  • Lauchlin Titus, University of Maine President’s Appointee
  • Lisa Webster, Livestock Farmer, Governor’s Appointee
  • Walter Whitcomb, Commissioner, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry
  • (Vacant), Maine State Florists and Growers Association

What organizations within the University of Maine interact with Maine agriculture?

University of Maine Cooperative Extension

UMaine Cooperative Extension is the largest outreach unit of the University of Maine System. There are more than 50 faculty and a total year-round workforce of more than 210. Extension is a national program that is partially funded through the USDA. Cooperative Extension exists in every county of the US and is operated out of 75 land-grant institutions. In Maine Cooperative Extension is focused on two areas: The Maine Food System and the 4-H youth development program. 4-H is the largest out of school educational program in Maine and reaches close to 30,000 youth annually. The current emphasis within 4-H is helping children see the world of possibilities open to them through science. No other organization does more to support the Maine Food System then UMaine Cooperative Extension. Extension faculty address agricultural production, pest management, post harvest storage, food preservation, food safety, value added food processing, human nutrition, food security and more. This work involves applied research, educational outreach and peer-reviewed scholarship.

College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture

The College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture is one of five degree-granting colleges at UMaine. Home of units involved in teaching and research in agriculture, aquaculture, food science, nutrition, forestry and natural resource programs. Also contains units in other discipline areas. (For additional information see NSFA.)

Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station

The experiment station is a research unit within the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture. More than 60 faculty members in the college lead R& D projects for the station. These scientists use cutting-edge tools to address new challenges for Maine’s natural resource-based industries and develop the new knowledge that fuels innovation. Other research programs strive to protect Maine’s environment, promote public health, and assist rural communities. Discoveries are translated into new production methods, new pest management and disease treatments, new value-added products, new programs to improve the nutrition of Maine citizens, and new information for community leaders. As part of a federal partnership with USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Maine scientists also work with colleagues at other state experiment stations to integrate activities and pool resources to solve problems that extend beyond state borders.

The station maintains its offices and principal research laboratories in Orono. Additional research facilities include Aroostook Farm in Presque Isle, Highmoor Farm in Monmouth, Blueberry Hill Farm in Jonesboro, J. F. Witter Teaching and Research Center in Old Town, the Lyle E. Littlefield Ornamentals Trial Garden and the Roger Clapp Greenhouses in Orono, and the Dwight B. Demeritt Forest in Old Town and Orono. The off-campus facilities of the Experiment Station provide an essential platform for applied field research that is integrated with research at campus laboratories. (For additional information see Experiment Station.)

Maine Food & Agriculture Center

The Maine Food & Agricultural Center is a portal to agricultural and related natural resource programs of University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension and the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station. The center strives to serve Maine’s agricultural community by providing a directory of faculty and staff organized by area of expertise, easy access to UMaine publications and reports on agriculture and natural resources topics, and a calendar of research and extension events. (For additional information see Maine Food & Ag.)

Aquaculture Research Institute

The Aquaculture Research Institute is research unit focused on marine aquaculture. It includes programs to improve the production and protection of domesticated finfish, shellfish and seaweed species for commercial purposes. It maintains laboratories and a biosecure aquaria in Orono, a shellfish research hatchery in Walpole and large scale aquaria and a business incubator in Franklin. (For additional information see Aquaculture.)