Leonel Reyes, left, and George Krook tap a maple tree Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022 in Sabattus, Maine. Ed Jillson of Jillson's Farm & Sugarhouse said the sap has already begun to run and that he is ready for when the temperature is expected to climb into the 60'son Wednesday, Feb. 23. Credit: Daryn Slover / AP

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In Maine, agriculture is a pillar of our economy. Our state is known for fresh blueberries, delicious lobster, and a myriad of other Maine made and grown products. It’s no wonder we have a lot to celebrate at the end of March with National Agriculture Week and Maine Maple Sunday on the fourth Sunday in March.

During Ag Week, the theme could not be timelier — “Growing a Climate for Tomorrow.” As a maple sugar producer in Franklin County, I understand the importance of supporting climate-smart policies as we continue to push and make the industry sustainable for the future. However, the needs of farmers change and so should policies to ensure they have the tools to succeed. On the federal level, this can come in the form of a bipartisan, market-based solution to provide farmers with access to the voluntary carbon credit market. The Growing Climate Solutions Act was passed by the Senate last year with support from Sen. Susan Collins and now awaits passage in the House of Representatives.

These climate-smart policies are important to farmers and foresters here in Maine and across the country. Family farms account for 90% of all farms, fueling our nation’s agriculture industry and economy. They can bring a great deal of help to a sometimes struggling industry. This Ag Week and Maine Maple Sunday, please be sure to support your local farmers by visiting your local farm or sugar house and enjoy some of your favorite Maine-Made products.

Sen. Russell Black