Governor Janet Mills announced today, Nov. 8, that her Administration is investing $20 million in federal funds through her Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan to help Maine farmers and food processers upgrade aging infrastructure. These funds will help our farmers increase the supply of Maine-grown food, meet growing demand, create and sustain jobs in one of Maine’s iconic heritage industries. At the same time, these improvements will strengthen our economy and enhance Maine’s national reputation for food excellence.
The new Agricultural Infrastructure Investment Program will be administered through the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) and will provide grants to Maine farm and food processing businesses. These grants can be used to upgrade harvesting, processing, and manufacturing equipment or packaging and handling equipment. Improving agricultural infrastructure will allow this sector to increase production and storage capacity, enhance supply chain resilience, and drive growth within the state’s agricultural and food economy while enhancing production of Maine-grown foods.
The investment comes after farmers and food producers who were surveyed by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) during the pandemic indicated that storage, processing, and packaging capacity investments were critically important to the strength of the agricultural community and the statewide economy. In fact, according to preliminary results from a 2021 assessment from DACF and University of Maine School of Economics, investments in additional processing infrastructure could result in an estimated 1,367 Maine jobs, $321 million in annual statewide sales revenue, and $62 million in labor income per year.
More on the program here.
PHOTO: Gray Harris of CEI; DACF Commissioner Amanda Beal, Governor Janet Mills, and members of the Brodis family at Brodis Blueberries in Hope.