AUGUSTA — Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) Commissioner Amanda Beal announced Julie-Marie Bickford as Maine Milk Commission Executive Director effective December 1. Bickford is assuming the role previously held by Tim Drake, who retired after 13 years of service. Bickford will be responsible for the administration of the Commission and be DACF’s primary liaison to the dairy industry.
“The Department is excited to have Julie-Marie join the Commission in this new capacity. The dairy industry is a complex business that can react to factors that occur at the global, national, or local levels,” said DACF Commissioner Amanda Beal. “Julie-Marie has a strong understanding of how these factors can impact Maine people, whether they be consumers, dairy farmers, milk processing plants, or retail stores. She will be an asset to our farmers, the Commission, the Department, and the state as a whole.”
The Maine Milk Commission is a five-member consumer board established to oversee the milk industry in Maine and support the viability of Maine dairy farms. The Board is responsible for setting state minimum milk prices. As Executive Director, Bickford will administer the Maine Milk Pool Statute provisions, ensure that payments to the Maine Milk Pool are correct and properly distributed, make recommendations on dairy policy, and oversee the performance of audits of retail stores and dairies.
Bickford comes to the Commission with a wealth of dairy industry experience and expertise. For 20 years, she served as the Executive Director of the Maine Dairy Industry Association, advocating for the needs and interests of the state’s dairy farmers. She is a frequent participant in leadership roles on multiple statewide and regional agricultural groups and committees, including the Agricultural Council of Maine. Bickford was the 2020 recipient of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry 2020 Commissioner’s Distinguished Service Award and served in the Maine legislature from 1992 to 1996, representing Caribou.
–Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry