Maine Revised Statutes

§2. -- duties

The commissioner is the chief executive charged with the enforcement of all statutes delegating responsibility to him or the department and shall be vigilant in discovering violations thereof and making complaint to the proper authorities. He shall by personal observation, investigation and correspondence acquaint himself with the methods and wants of practical husbandry, the means of fertilization and the adaptation of various products to the soils and climate of the State and with the progress of scientific and practical agriculture elsewhere, with a view to the more complete development of the natural resources of the State. He shall gather statistics of information concerning agriculture and publish the same annually. He shall assist the farmers of the State, in so far as is practicable, to secure farm help and to promote increased production of farm crops through the selection, the growing and the dissemination of superior strains of seeds. He shall make and preserve a full record of all rules and regulations promulgated under this Title, and all payments and expenses incurred hereunder, and all other transactions performed by him in the discharge of his duties. He shall collect the legal and usual fees payable to him by virtue of his office and shall pay them over forthwith to the Treasurer of State. [1979, c. 731, §5 (AMD).]

The commissioner shall be the chief administrative officer of the department. He shall have the following duties in addition to those specified in this section: [1971, c. 594, §2 (NEW).]

1. Budget.  Prepare a budget for the department.
[ 1971, c. 594, §2 (NEW) .]
2. Personnel.  Transfer personnel within the department to insure the efficient utilization of department personnel.
[ 1971, c. 594, §2 (NEW) .]
3. Purchases.  Coordinate the purchase and use of all department equipment.
[ 1971, c. 594, §2 (NEW) .]
4. Review.  Review the function and operation of the divisions to insure that overlapping functions and operations are eliminated.
[ 1971, c. 594, §2 (NEW) .]
5. Report.  Report and make recommendations to the Governor and Legislature with respect to methods of stimulating and encouraging the growth and modernization of agricultural enterprises in this State. The report must be submitted to the Governor and the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over agriculture matters no later than December 1st of each even numbered year. For purposes of obtaining information, the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry may hold public hearings throughout the State, after giving public notice of the public hearings.
[ 1991, c. 837, Pt. A, §13 (AMD); 2011, c. 657, Pt. W, §5 (REV) .]

The commissioner does not have authority to exercise or interfere with the exercise of any discretionary statutory authority granted to the following, which authority is exclusively within the specific board, bureau, agency, commission, committee or other governmental unit: the Maine Milk Commission, the Seed Potato Board, the Harness Racing Commission, the Maine Potato Board, the Board of Veterinary Medicine and the Board of Pesticide Control. [1995, c. 693, §4 (AMD).]

In addition, the commissioner shall be concerned with the quality of life of Maine farmers and rural communities. The commissioner shall promote: farm financing and rural development proposals; conservation and preservation of agricultural lands; increased and improved production of beef, poultry, sheep, dairy beef and other livestock; expanded and improved production of potatoes, fruits and other vegetables and horticultural ventures; coordinated foreign and domestic marketing of Maine agricultural products; in conjunction with the university, crop development and integrated pest management; development of land-based aquaculture facilities; and conservation of nonrenewable energy resources and utilization of renewable energy resources in conjunction with the Governor's Energy Office. To accomplish these objectives, the commissioner is authorized for, or on behalf of, Maine's farmers and rural community: to engage in research and educational programs; to participate directly or indirectly in programs to encourage and enable individuals to enter agricultural or other rural enterprises; to institute litigation or upon request to represent farmers or other members of the rural community in litigation where the commissioner determines that such litigation may be beneficial to agricultural industry as a whole; and to exercise all other powers of an agency of State Government. The commissioner may study such issues and, consistent with statute, take such actions either individually, for, or on behalf of, the State's farmers or rural residents, or jointly with such other persons, agencies or organizations as the commissioner determines may benefit the State's farmers and rural communities. To further accomplish these objectives, the commissioner is authorized beginning July 1, 1991, on behalf of the State's rural community, to administer food assistance programs including the receipt, distribution and administration of federal and state funds, including block grants, for food assistance. [2017, c. 94, §1 (AMD).]

The commissioner may prepare and distribute printed and audio-visual materials on matters within his statutory jurisdiction. There is established within the department a revolving fund to cover the printing and distribution costs of these materials. The commissioner shall fix the prices at which publications of the department may be sold or delivered. The department shall retain, without charge, an appropriate number of each publication for complimentary distribution. Income from the sale of publications that were charged to the revolving fund and any other moneys the commissioner may receive, from whatever source, consistent with the purposes of this section, shall be credited to the revolving fund to be used as a continuing carrying account to carry out the purposes of the revolving funds. [1983, c. 10, §1 (NEW).]

The commissioner shall review proposed laws and rules that affect agricultural activity for their impact on soil tillage and animal grazing practices and their impact on the storage and use of animal manures and chemical fertilizers. The commissioner shall analyze the qualitative and quantitative impacts of proposed laws and rules that affect agricultural activity and present the analysis in public testimony to the Legislature on the proposed laws and rules. [1989, c. 836, §1 (NEW).]

1971, c. 594, §2 (AMD). 1973, c. 95, §2 (AMD). 1973, c. 598, §1 (AMD). 1975, c. 444, §2 (AMD). 1975, c. 477, §2 (AMD). 1975, c. 584, (AMD). 1979, c. 731, §§5-7,19 (AMD). 1981, c. 372, (AMD). 1983, c. 10, §1 (AMD). 1983, c. 308, §§2,14 (AMD). 1989, c. 501, §DD18 (AMD). 1989, c. 701, §§1,6 (AMD). 1989, c. 836, §1 (AMD). 1989, c. 878, §B7 (AMD). 1991, c. 9, §I6 (AMD). 1991, c. 837, §A13 (AMD). 1995, c. 693, §4 (AMD). 2011, c. 655, Pt. MM, §5 (AMD). 2011, c. 655, Pt. MM, §26 (AFF). 2011, c. 657, Pt. W, §5 (REV). 2017, c. 94, §1 (AMD).