I was pleased to read your editorial (BDN, Nov. 18) titled “Maine agriculture.” The Sitel and MBNA’s announcement to move north is a major plus for the northern Maine economy. I predict that unless there is a major retrenchment in the telemarketing business in the future, then both companies will be in the County for the long run, for one primary reason, that being the quality of the County work force. In my opinion, it is the best the state of Maine has.
I also find the announcement of Naturally Potatoes exciting. Based on the articles I have read on this new business, it would appear it is extremely market-oriented, a must in today’s world of survival in the business world. It is nice to learn of a new business in the County that is creating a “value added” product for the marketplace and that the company has the foresight to export a portion of their product south of Kittery.
This makes sense for three reasons: A major population center exists south of the Maine border which ofers the business many more consumers for their product; expansion of one’s market beyond Maine borders will hopefully result in the necessary “thru-put” to make their operation cost effective; and expansion of one’s market beyond Maine’s borders should create more Maine jobs as the business goes forward. To assume that a Maine agricultural processor, whether it be potatoes, milk, etc. can maintain its viability within the confines of Maine long term, is difficult at best. Volume is “economic reality” when dealing in food processing of any size. My hat’s off to Naturally Potatoes for their forward thinking as it relates to their marketing strategy, ie. seeking to take their product “where the consumers are.”
I agree with Rep. John Baldacci that organic milk is a niche industry for some of Maine’s dairy farmers, however, to say it is “the only bright spot in the (Maine) dairy industry” is a misstatement and a “slam” to many Maine dairy farmers who, for whatever reason, choose “not to go” the organic route. Maine has many, many dairy farmers who are extremely efficient and will be the “growth engine” of Maine’s dairy industry as we move ahead. To ignore this segment of the market is a mistake. Benjie Grant Brewer