Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
Commissioner Amanda Beal was confirmed to serve as Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry on February 19, 2019. Beal grew up on a dairy farm and earned a B.A. from the University of Southern Maine and holds a Master’s Degree in agriculture, food and environment from Tufts University. She lives in Warren, where she and her husband own a 35-acre farm and are working to establish an orchard with numerous fruit varieties, manage their 25-acre woodlot, and establish a creamery for on-farm cheese production. Beal has served as President & CEO of Maine Farmland Trust (MFT) since 2016 where she has been responsible for leading MFT’s efforts to support farmers and revitalize Maine’s rural landscape by keeping agricultural lands working. She has focused on keeping farmland in production across generations; collaborating and consulting with farmers, food-related businesses and organizations to create food systems that sustain Maine farms; and advocating for Maine’s farming potential. Prior to serving as President of MFT, she served as Vice President of Programs for the non-profit. She is also widely known as the co-author of “A New England Food Vision,” which studied the potential for expanding food production on land and at sea in Maine and throughout New England. Her previous professional experience also includes working as an adjunct faculty member at the University of New England where she taught courses on environmental health and the principles of public health; a self-employed food systems research and policy consultant where she coordinated policy development related to food, farming, fisheries, and natural resources issues; and serving as the By Land and By Sea Coordinator for the Eat Local Foods coalition of Maine where she developed and implemented a community-based action project that engaged food producers, NGO’s and State Departments in exploring systems-wide challenges and cross-sector opportunities for collaboration between farmers and fishermen. She also serves or has served on a number of boards and committees, including the Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association, the Kennebec valley Community College Sustainable Agriculture Program, the Downeast Fisheries Partnership and Focus Maine.