AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Janet Mills has nominated Amanda Beal for commissioner of Maine's Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, the governor's office announced Friday.
"[Beal's] wealth of knowledge, experience, and skills will be a valuable asset to the people of Maine," Gov. Mills said.
Beal, 46, grew up on a dairy farm. She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern Maine, a master’s degree from Tufts University and is working on her doctorate from the University of New Hampshire. She lives in Warren, where she and her husband own a 35-acre farm.
Her professional experience includes teaching at the University of New England, consulting in food systems research and policy, coordinating for the Eat Local Foods coalition and serving on the boards and committees of the Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association, the KVCC Sustainable Agriculture Program, the Downeast Fisheries Partnership and Focus Maine.
"To a large degree, our state is characterized by the intersection of agriculture, conservation and forestry, and, to that end, I believe it is up to this department to lead the state’s efforts to maintain that brand, our way of life, and our culture," Beal said. "Ensuring that these sectors thrive is not only necessary for the economic health of our state, but for sustaining many of the essential qualities that define Maine."
Beal's responsibilities would include, but would not be limited to, agriculture, forests, parks, public lands, protecting food people eat, stopping forest fires, mapping the ocean floor, planning land utilization and helping farmers.
An earlier version of this story, based off information provided by the governor's office, stated that Beal would be the first woman to head Maine agriculture. While it is true she would be DACF's first female commissioner, the office says she would not be the first woman to head Maine agriculture.