Dairy cows rest outside the home of Fred and Laura Stone at Stoneridge Farm, Aug. 15, 2019, in Arundel. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

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I live in Waldo County, whose proud agricultural heritage has seen a resurgence of diversified farms over the last 20 years that has significantly contributed to the local economy with producers, distributors and value-added products. Since the beginning of this year, Waldo County has also seen the growing list of  farms impacted by PFAS contamination, a legacy of state-approved sludge spreading in the 1980s and 1990s.

The Legislature is considering several bills to address this tidal wave of immediate and long-term impacts to our farms, agricultural economy and confidence in building a healthy and sustainable food system for all.  LD 2013 will establish a fund to address PFAS contamination. Many are familiar with the heart-wrenching stories of farmers whose lands are impacted by PFAS contamination, through no fault of their own. The contamination has forced these farms to cease production and sale of their products. At a time of year that is usually filled with possibility, affected farmers are now facing the terror not only in the loss of their livelihoods, but of their health.

We are at the tip of the iceberg in fully comprehending the economic, social impacts and health impacts of this crisis. LD 2013 is an absolutely necessary critical first step to address the immediate financial impacts of this crisis for affected farms, families and communities. Please contact the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry committee and your legislators and voice your support for LD 2013 and related PFAS bills.

Lissa Widoff