Northern Maine Community College (NMCC) officials, representatives of the Maine Community Foundation (MCF) and about 30 Somali immigrants from southern Maine will be touring farm operations in Aroostook County Saturday, Aug. 19.

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The purpose of the tour is to introduce the Somalis to smaller-scale agricultural opportunities in the region.

This effort stems from ideas germinated at a conference at the College back in March of 2016. The purpose of the conference was to start a conversation with leaders of area businesses and organizations about being proactive in the face of continuing workforce decline.

Maine’s aging workforce is retiring faster than younger workers can replace them, economists have said. Also, Aroostook County has faced significant outmigration since the early 1990s.

NMCC President Tim Crowley said they want to consider ways to welcome pretty much anyone who wants to work hard and find a home here, including migrant workers, college students from abroad, transplants from other parts of the United States and immigrants.

In addition to NMCC and MCF, other area organizations and individuals are assisting in the effort, including Aroostook County Action Program and Northern Maine Development Commission.

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