Twelve Farms Awarded 2023 Maine Farms for the Future Program Grants

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DACF News Release

Fore Immediate Release
May 5, 2023

Media contact: Jim Britt

Twelve Farms Awarded 2023 Maine Farms for the Future Program Grants

Augusta, ME – The Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry (DACF) announced twelve recipients of the 2023 Maine Farms for the Future (FFF) Program. The farms were awarded technical assistance and $6,000 in business development funding through Phase 1 of the program. Three farms were approved for Phase 2 and have been awarded a $25,000 cash grant and the opportunity for a subsidized 2% interest rate loan to be borrowed from DACF’s Agricultural Marketing Loan Fund.

FFF is a long-standing grant program intended to support agricultural businesses. Since its inception in 2000 by the 119th Legislature, more than 200 farms have benefited from tailored technical, planning, and financial assistance. FFF intends to help implement business plans written to improve business operations and profitability. More than $2 million has been distributed through FFF, enabling infrastructure, equipment, market development, and business and strategic planning investments.

“Each year, the Farms for the Future program provides valuable support to a cohort of Maine farms, from business planning to budget forecasting, putting each participating farm on more solid footing as they contemplate the future of their business, said DACF Commissioner Amanda Beal. “I am excited for the farms selected to participate in the program in 2023 to receive tailored technical assistance to match their needs.”

This year’s selected farms are in eight counties and produce vegetables, milk, goat dairy products, cut flowers, pork, and fruit.

FFF Phase 1 selections

  • Buckle Farm – Unity
  • Calyx Farm – Morrill
  • Conant Acres – Canton
  • Dandy Ram Farm – Monroe
  • Hall Brook Farm – Thorndike
  • Sheepscot General – Whitefield
  • Six River Farm – Bowdoinham
  • Springtide Seaweed – Gouldsboro
  • Three Charm Farm – Alfred

FFF Phase 2 selections

  • Dogpatch Farm – Washington Plan: Expanding on-farm charcuterie production and pork processing capacity
  • Little Ridge Farm – Lisbon Falls Plan: Development of a multi-use agricultural space to improve wash/pack processes and create deeper community connections
  • Tender Soles Farm – Richmond Plan: Constructing a new storage and processing facility to increase farm revenue

“Farming is hard, and farmers know best the kinds of resources and technical assistance they need to level up their farm operations,” said Maine Bureau of Agriculture, Food & Rural Resources Director Craig Lapine. “Farms for the Future plays a valuable and vital role in Maine’s agricultural landscape, with its targeted support and funding. We are proud to have this year’s group of farms join the long list the program has assisted over the years.”

“As Maine farmers continue to adapt to a changing economy and climate, Farms for the Future supports ideas and initiatives directly targeted at improving outcomes for Maine growers,” said program Coordinator Alex Redfield. “It’s exciting to see the novel approaches that farmers bring to this program to improve their business and, even more exciting, to help bring those ideas into reality.”

About the FFF process
Phase 1 grants allow selected farmers to identify, explore, and test “Ideas for Change” to make their operations more sustainable, efficient, and profitable. Those chosen for Phase 1 grants receive $6,000 and work with a team of agricultural and business service providers to explore the viability of their ideas and innovations. Phase 2 includes a $25,000 cash grant and an opportunity for a low-interest rate loan from Maine’s Agriculture Marketing Loan Fund. Phase 2 is open to those farmers selected for and awarded the Phase 1 grant and who have completed a business plan and are implementing a project, or projects, identified in that plan. In exchange for a Phase 2 grant, each farm must sign a farmland protection agreement.

Applications for 2024 FFF grants will open in the fall. For more information, visit https://www.maine.gov/dacf/ard/business_and_market_development/farms_for_future/ or contact Alex Redfield at alexander.redfield@maine.gov or (207) 592-0640.