As farmers struggle to keep up with the rapid decline in their businesses, a new book from The American Conservatives aims to put the blame squarely on the state’s most powerful farmers.
In the book, titled Maine’s Hog Farm: The Untold Story of the Untold Number, author Kevin O’Donnell argues that the state was “devastated” when Maine’s largest hog producer, Mortimer Farms, went bankrupt in 2016, causing the loss of $200 million in revenue.
The state’s economy has been on the verge of collapse since the collapse of the hog industry and the state had to make some tough decisions, according to O’Connell, whose book focuses on how the state dealt with a crisis that was too big to handle alone.
“The fact that there was a financial collapse and a financial loss at Mortimer that left so many people unemployed, that was the biggest blow to the economy of Maine,” O’Brien told The Associated Press.
O’Neill’s book, which will be released on March 8, also highlights a number of other events that occurred after the collapse: The collapse of a new hog farm in North Brunswick, a major financial event that resulted in the loss or bankruptcy of several smaller farms, the arrest of several top executives at Mortiser, and the arrest and trial of a key executive at Mortisers biggest rival, Paddy’s Creek.
OBrien said he wanted to document the financial and economic turmoil that resulted from the demise of Mortimer, not the state government.
“If you go to Maine, if you go out and you talk to people in the rural areas of the state, they talk about the economic collapse and the loss in economic activity, not how much money they lost,” Ollons book reads.
“This book will be a reminder that this economic collapse was a wake-up call to state officials and that this state needs to focus on rebuilding its economy.”
O’Connor told The AP he was struck by how the book was being written.
“I wanted to see what kind of government had gotten this wrong, and it’s a government that seems to be more concerned with protecting its own interests than it is with the people of Maine.”
Ollys book, published last week, comes just days after a state House committee voted down a bill that would have required more detailed information about the finances of Mortiser Farms before it was approved.
The bill would have provided the state with a list of all the farms that Mortimer farms and other operations in the state operate, including their total revenues and profits, their financial status and the amount of capital they have.
Ollmans bill was supported by the state Agriculture Committee, which is led by Rep. Paul D. McElroy, R-Hampshire, who chairs the committee.
McEllroy said the bill would be an example of how the government should be more open about its financial data, which he said would make it easier for the public to know what’s going on in Maine.
“Mortimer Farms is the largest hog processor in the country, so it’s not a coincidence that it’s been so successful,” McEllry said.
“What I’ve learned from reading this book is the importance of transparency.”
But Olls book has some harsh words for the Maine Department of Agriculture.
“There is no place for secrecy in the public interest,” he wrote.
“In fact, the department is trying to keep the public in the dark by claiming it has been working closely with the farmers and is not doing anything to prevent the losses.
This has left the state in a poor financial position and, if this doesn’t change, it’s likely that the government will not be able to pay for its operations for many years.”
OLLIS BOOKS BOOK: How Maine was ‘devastate’ when a hog farm went bankrupt and how it was rescued by Gov.
Paul LePage (AP) Ollis said he and his wife were forced to leave their hometown in northern Maine and move to an undisclosed location in Pennsylvania.
“It was a difficult decision,” he said.
The Ollises said they now live in the suburbs of Philadelphia and the book includes their experiences in their search for a new home.
“As I have learned in my travels over the last year, when the weather gets bad, you’re more likely to leave your home, and then when the sun comes out, you’ll be in a better place,” he told The Philadelphia Inquirer.
“But this is the truth of the matter.
I’m not here to sell the state of Maine, nor is the book my plea to the public.
This is the fact.
And if I’m wrong, I’m going to be wrong.”
Ollington said he was inspired by stories of the families of the farm workers who died on the farm.
“We are so lucky to be able keep the family of a family that we love,” he added.
The book has already generated some criticism from