Jerry Ireland, the controversial founder of United Farmer Veterans of Maine, has resigned as chief executive officer of MaineFirst Co-op.

The MaineFirst board of directors announced Saturday that Ireland’s resignation was effective Friday.

The board said in a statement that an interim chief executive officer would be appointed. The co-op is a for-profit enterprise to provide services to members and financial support to the United Farmer Veterans of Maine.

Ireland resigned from his post as CEO of United Farmer Veterans of Maine in July.

Ireland, a farmer in Swanville, is also a candidate for the Maine House of Representatives. He pleaded not guilty to 13 counts of animal cruelty connected to the slaughter of pigs shortly before state animal welfare agents investigating his treatment of animals visited his farm.

He has also been sued by the town for failing to comply with ordinances connected to a building on his farm and was arrested twice after failing to appear in court on a charge of driving with a suspended license.

United Farmer Veterans of Maine aims to help veterans adjust to civilian life through farming and start their own farms. Ireland has said the organization has more than 400 members, including more than 230 active farmers.

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