Click HERE to watch the awards ceremony
Clinton, ME – This morning, U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a senior member of the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, received the Friend of the Farm Bureau Award at John and Belinda Stoughton’s Misty Meadows Farm in Clinton. The Maine Farm Bureau recognized Senator Collins for her work to support Maine’s agriculture sector.
The award was presented by Maine Farm Bureau President and Harrington-based blueberry grower Courtney Hammond, along with Executive director Julie Ann Smith.
“Senator Collins has consistently shown her ability to be a leader for Maine’s farmers and ranchers and has always had an open-door policy to listen to the concerns of Maine agriculture. She continues to be a leading voice in both Maine and Washington in shaping federal policy for agriculture, helping Maine’s rural towns and communities,” said Maine Farm Bureau President Courtney Hammond during the ceremony. “So on behalf of the Maine Farm Bureau, myself, Vice President John Parker, our board of directors, and all the members of the Maine Farm Bureau, I’d like to present the Honorable Susan Collins with this Friend of the Farm Bureau Award.”
“As a native of Aroostook County, I know how essential agriculture is to our state’s economy and rural communities. Protecting and supporting Maine’s dairy, potato, blueberry, and specialty crop industries has always been one of my top priorities in the Senate,” said Senator Collins. “I will continue to do everything that I can to help ensure that agriculture remains a very vibrant part of our economy.”
Senator Collins has helped to lead bipartisan efforts in Congress to direct more support to farmers. Following her advocacy, Maine farmers received more than $25 million in funding through the CARES Act’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). Additionally, she co-signed a series of letters to the USDA, urging Secretary Sonny Perdue to prioritize assistance to Maine farmers, including those in the dairy, potato, and blueberry industries.
Senator Collins also worked to ensure that Maine benefits from the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, a component of CFAP, that is supporting farmers with up to $3 billion in purchases of fresh produce, dairy, and meat and distributing these products to low-income Americans in need. After no Maine distributors were awarded a contract in the first tranche of funding, the Maine Delegation successfully urged USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to rectify the program’s shortcomings, resulting in contracts of $2.14 million and $1.35 million being awarded to the Maine Farmers Exchange MFX) and Native Maine Produce and Specialty Foods, respectively.
Misty Meadows Farm is a 1050-acre conventional dairy farm owned and operated by John and Belinda Stoughton and Tom and Kimberly Wright. Their farm milks over 700 cows, producing approximately two million gallons of milk annually, which is mainly distributed through Oakhurst Dairy. In 2014, Misty Meadows Farm was recognized by Oakhurst for their high-quality milk.
The Maine Farm Bureau is a grassroots organization made up of farmers who work together through county meetings and voting to identify key issues that they advocate for in Augusta and Washington D.C. Their goal is to advocate policies and practices that create growth and prosperity for those who harvest from the land.