Rep. Arata's News from the Legislature

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Town of New Gloucester

385 Intervale Road, New Gloucester, ME 04260

(207) 926-4126 (phone) / (207) 926-4136 (fax)

Town of Poland

1231 Maine Street, Poland, ME 04274

(207) 998-4601 (phone) / (207) 998-2002 (fax)


80th Agricultural Trades Show

Please save the dates of January 19-23, 2021 (Tuesday through Saturday) for the five-day online Agricultural Trades Show (ATS), which will be a mixture of live and pre-recorded presentations and forums on agricultural and forestry issues of interest, sessions for ag producer groups, exhibitor showcases, and networking opportunities.  The schedule will be a mix of day, evening, and weekend offerings.  The online platform will support a digital library of information, allowing people to access the ATS's content if they cannot join live conference sessions.  Typically, there are more than 100 unique sessions during the three-day in-person show.  This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic and resulting virtual format, there will be just a fraction of that number as part of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry’s (DACF) programming.  However, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, industry groups, and nonprofits are also planning winter training opportunities, some of which will dovetail with the ATS.

The DACF will coordinate conference themes and presentations, directly responding to continuing feedback from the agricultural and forestry sectors.  Department staff will be in touch with interested producer groups to organize sessions.  In addition, pesticide credits and other annual credentials will be available online.  Vendors and sponsors can also showcase their businesses online.  The Department is looking forward to using this new format to share important information, interact with the broad agriculture and forestry communities, and to celebrate Maine agriculture in January 2021.

While the Department continues its work coordinating the show, please bookmark the Web site.  Questions on how to participate?  E-mail

About the Maine Agricultural Trades Show

A tradition since 1941, the DACF's Maine Agricultural Trades Show is where the State's agricultural community convenes to celebrate farming, network, and plan for the coming season.  Organized and hosted by the Department, the show provides access to resources that empower farmers and rural communities.  Typically, over 100 exhibitors and dozens of conference sessions are part of this show, attracting agricultural producers, educators, exhibitors, businesses, and others to celebrate farming, exchange best practices, and explore farming products, equipment, and services.  The show is free and open to the public, and is an excellent opportunity for all ages to experience Maine's dynamic agriculture industry.  The 2021 show will be held virtually.  The DACF anticipates returning to an in-person format in 2022.


Exploring the Outdoors on Private Land

Roughly 94% of Maine's forest land is privately owned, and more than half of that land area is open to the public.  In total, landowners voluntarily open up more than 10 million acres of working farms and forests.  This access is an incredible gift, and in order to preserve it, everyone who ventures outdoors needs to understand the contribution that landowners make.

Most private landowners are happy to allow outdoor recreation, including hunting and fishing, on their land as long as their property is treated with respect.  However, it is important to remember that the private land used for recreation belongs to someone else, just as surely as your car or home belongs to you -- accessing it is a privilege, not a right.

Accessing Private Land

The law - Unlike most other states, Maine operates under an implied permission structure, meaning that if land is not posted, it is legal to use the land.

The unwritten rule - Always ask permission.  Hunting, fishing, or otherwise using private land without the owner's permission is a careless move that puts everyone's future access at risk.

When venturing into the Maine woods, follow the unwritten rule.

Seven Ways to be a Good Land User

Landowners who permit you to use their land for outdoor recreational activities are not only doing you a favor, they are placing their trust in you.  Here are seven ways you can prove their trust is not misplaced.

  • Always ask for permission, whether or not there are signs on the property requesting that you do so, and regardless of who owns it (a private individual or a business). If you do not know who the landowner is, use your resources.  You will be surprised at how easy it is to find out.
    • Contact the town office to determine the name of the landowner(s).
    • Look up the person or business's contact information online and give them a call.

When mapping out where you would like to go, keep in mind that railroad and utility corridors are not public rights of way and still require landowner permission.  Also, do not be afraid to reach out to landowners who have posted their land.  You may be pleasantly surprised at how many of them will allow access to someone who has the courtesy to ask first.  Once a landowner has granted you permission, be sure to check in with them every year before the start of the season.  Do not assume permission is indefinite.

  • Learn what matters most to the landowner, and abide by all special requests they make, including where you can or cannot drive or park a vehicle, and which specific activities are allowed. Some landowners may require permits for certain activities.  If so, respect that request.  Look at any such requests from the landowner's point of view, and act with their best interests in mind whenever you use the land.  Some landowners dread various seasons of the year, believing the associated activities limit their use of their own property.  It is your job to make sure whoever owns the land you are using never feels that way.  If the recreational community cannot respect landowners' wishes, one can only expect more private land to be closed to public use.
  • Provide detailed information.  If requested, give the landowner your name, address, phone number and vehicle description, and consider using pre-printed Landowner/Land user Courtesy Cards (PDF). Good, thorough communication is a great way to build mutual respect.
  • Know your boundaries.  Learn the geographic property boundaries of the land you have permission to use, and stay within them. There is no excuse for trespassing — it is a crime enforceable by all State, county, and municipal law enforcement officers, and if convicted, you may lose any license issued by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
  • Keep it clean.  Remember that you are a guest. Always leave the land as you found it, if not better.  If you see trash that someone else left, pick it up.
  • Keep it legal.  Always obey the law, be safe and ethical, and report any land abuse that you witness. Land abuse is a very serious problem in Maine, and each year, access to private property is lost because of it.  Put yourself in the landowner's shoes, and help ensure that violators are prosecuted.  If you see a violation occurring, contact Operation Game Thief at 1(800) ALERT-US [1(800) 253-7887].
  • Say thank you. Thank the landowner for the opportunity to use their property for recreation.  They will love hearing that you enjoyed it, and that you recognize and appreciate their generosity.


Support Local Businesses for Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is prime shopping time in your community.  It is an amazing way to help businesses with their most pressing need -- getting more customers -- and you will find great gifts for the people you love, too!  The day encourages people to shop at small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving (November 28, 2020).  The single-day has grown into a powerful movement, and more people are taking part than ever before. 

Small businesses feed our communities.  They keep our main streets thriving and employ nearly half of the American workforce.  Supporting small business means you are supporting your local economy, local business, tax base, schools, and infrastructure.  Your holiday shopping will put food on the tables of people you know.  Not only will you be doing your community some good, but you will also be finding quality gifts.  Small businesses take pride in their work.  They have worked hard for their dream, and it shows in their artisanship.

Explore your community while supporting small business.  You will find great gifts as you do. Give a shout out to your favorite small business, too!  Be sure to use #SmallBusinessSaturday to post on social media.