Press Release

Forum to focus on Farmland Protection Issues

ELLSWORTH, Maine — “Striking a Balance” organizers announce the 26th forum in the development-related workshop series at the VFW Hall at 419 Main St. (Washington Junction Road) in Ellsworth from 5 until 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 25.

The topic will be state laws pertaining to farming and the future of farming in Maine. The session qualifies for education credits for assessors, code enforcement officers and local plumbing inspectors. The session also will be of interest to farmers and planning board members.

Speakers include Andy Shultz, landowner outreach coordinator, Maine Forest Service, who will address the purpose, eligibility criteria and application procedures for the Farmland and Tree Growth Property Tax Programs. These programs offer farmers and forestland owners property tax breaks if they agree to keep their land in its current use.

Stephanie Gilbert, farm viability and farmland protection specialist, Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, will explain the Farmland Registration Act. This act authorizes farmers to apply at any time to prohibit “incompatible use” within 50 feet of registered farmland ensures that buyers are alerted when purchasing property that abuts registered farmland. Professor John Jemison Jr., extension professor of soil and water quality. University of Maine will discuss the future of agriculture in Maine.

“Farming is an important part of the Hancock County economy,” stressed Hancock County Planning Commission executive director Tom Martin in a press release. “USDA Census data indicate that there were 386 farms in Hancock County and 52,749 acres of farmland in 2007. The estimated value of agriculture sales in Hancock County is about $30.4 million per annum. The county has the fifth highest value of sales in the state.

Participants must register by April 22. Registration at the door is not possible. A registration fee of $18 will include a light meal and materials. Please note that doors will open at 5 p.m. for registration and the meal. The program will begin at promptly 6 p.m.

Striking a Balance was developed to address issues related to land development in Hancock County. Striking a Balance has been very well received, often attracting more than 100 participants consisting of municipal officials, real estate agents, code enforcement officers, developers, and the community at large. Funding was provided in part by the Maine Coastal Program.

To register, or for more information, please contact Sheri Walsh, HCPC Administrative Assistant/Planning Technician, at 667-7131 or

Tom Martin, HCPC Executive Director

395 State St.

Ellsworth, ME 04605

207-667-7131 (office)

207-667-2099 (fax)