AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage has ordered that the state of Maine Flag be flown at half-staff on Saturday in remembrance of Russell Libby, the tireless organic farming advocate.  

Libby, 56, died Sunday after a battle with cancer. He was the executive director of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association for 17 years. The governor’s order directs flags to be flown at half staff within the town limits of Mount Vernon from sunrise to sunset on Saturday. 

“Russell Libby has been Maine’s small farm and organic farming champion,” LePage said in a statement. “His vision has influenced virtually every aspect of our agricultural industry from farm to table. All of us who enjoy Maine’s bountiful harvests will remember his contributions and leadership.”

Libby was also an official with the Maine Department of Agriculture. His advocacy for organic farming was considered crucial to Congress changing the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 to make it easier for organic farmer to comply with food regulations. 

LePage’s order was issued the same day that Libby’s obituary ran in the New York Times.