April 25, 2024 

To Present and Past Farm Bureau members:


Breaking News: As most of you probably know by now, Governor Mills vetoed labor bills L.D. 525 & L.D. 2273. Her reasoning on 525 was that 525 created a new legal framework governing labor relations for farmers. Given the multitude of threats facing Maine farmers livelihood, climate change, to PFAS, to inflation to price pressures and much more. Under those pressures, since 2017, Maine has lost 564 farms and 82,567acres of farmland. With those statistics, she determined that now is not the time to impose a new set of complicated labor regulations, that only an attorney can understand onto family farms. 

L.D. 2273 was the Governor’s minimum wage bill. She vetoed her own bill because the labor committee amended her bill to include “the private right of action”. This meant that if an employee thought that his employer violated labor laws, then the employee could hire an attorney and sue the farmer. This issue didn’t come up during the Governor’s stakeholders’ meetings. So, she vetoed the bill because of an added amendment. She was not opposed to a minimum wage for ag workers although she stated that her stake group did a study and found that a large majority of farm workers are paid a wage equal to or greater than the State minimum wage.

Past President, Clark Granger, appointed Penny Jordan to represent Maine FB on the Governor’s stakeholders’ group. Penny did an outstanding job representing Maine FB on that group and was very well respected by her peers. 

I want to say thank you to Peter Ricker, chair of our legislative committee and to the hard work that our legislative committee did in the last legislative session. I’d like to give a special thanks to our lobbyist, Garrett Mason, a partner in Dirgo Public Affairs. As soon as Garrette learned of a committee decision on a bill, he emailed the legislative committee immediately instead of waiting for the regular scheduled committee meeting. I have had many compliments from FB members on Garretts work. 

On April 23rd and 24th, I represented Maine FB at American National Insurance Company’s annual meeting in Albany N.Y. Farm Bureau has a partnership with American National. We provide them with a list of our members and they in turn recruit new members and provide us with financial assistance. Unfortunately, before I took over as President, that relationship had been totally broken. Their previous calls to Maine FB were never answered or returned. I assured them that we have a new team now and we will be totally cooperative going forward. There is a list of eight things that we are required to do, and we will implement them ASAP. 

Wish you all well. 

David Kent, President 

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Maine Farm Bureau

4 Gabriel Drive, Suite 1

Augusta, ME 04330