I am one of four owners of Bumbleroot Organic Farm, a certified organic vegetable and flower farm in Windham. I am 31 and have owned my farm business for five years.

In our first five years of business, I’ve experienced changing weather patterns, drought in summer months and more intense storms. These impacts of climate change are something our farm will be dealing with for the next 40 years, and future generations will be even more affected. Climate change promises more extreme weather and rising temperatures, and for farmers everywhere that means greater threat of drought, crop failure and less predictable data to base our planning on.

Recently, I went to the State House to speak in support of L.D. 797, “An Act To Limit Greenhouse Gas Pollution and Effectively Use Maine’s Natural Resources.” I testified because farmers are key stakeholders in the creation of a climate action plan for Maine. Strong local food systems are critical to the future of our state, and sustainable farming practices are the backbone of these systems.

We need state programs that incentivize and reward farming practices that mitigate climate change, sequester carbon and build soil health and biodiversity. These regenerative practices include reduced- and no-till farming, integrating cover crops and crop rotations and holistic livestock grazing programs. Sustainable agriculture must be part of our state’s approach moving forward.

I’m proud to be a member of the Southern Maine Young Farmers Coalition. As the next generation of farmers, we ask that our voice be included in the climate action plan for Maine. If we are going to ensure the long-term viability of Maine’s food economy in the face of climate change, we need to support Maine’s young and beginning farmers today. We look forward to working toward a resilient future for our state.

Ben Whalen

Windham


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