Maine Farms for the Future Program

Maine Farms for the Future Program - Now Accepting Spring 2020 Phase 2 Applications

The State of Maine, Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Bureau of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources offers grants for business plan development (Phase 1) and investment support (Phase 2) to improve “farm vitality” – defined as an increase in long-term, maintainable, farm profitability and net worth - as authorized in the Maine Farms for the Future Program (Title7, MRS Chapter 10-B). 

The current Request for Proposals (RFP#201904076) and Phase 2 Application for Spring 2020 as well as a Question & Answer Summary and all amendments related to the RFP, can be obtained at: Division of Procurement Services. At that website, scroll down to headings for Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and the Maine Farms for the Future Program. Prospective applicants are encouraged to download/review all documents related this grant opportunity.

The Spring 2020 Phase 2 Application is due May 12, 2020. The Phase 1 Application is not being offered in this cycle but will be offered at a future date.

Spring 2020 Phase 2 Applications must be submitted to the State of Maine Division of Procurement Services, via e-mail, to: Proposals@maine.gov. Applications not submitted to the Division of Procurement Services’ email address will not be considered for contract award.

Spring 2020 Phase 2 Application submissions must be received no later than 11:59pm local time, Tuesday, May 12th, 2020, when they will be opened at the Burton M. Cross Office Building, 111 Sewall Street - 4th Floor, Augusta, Maine.

Also see: Agricultural Marketing Loan Fund Website

The Maine Farms for the Future Program is a competitive grant program that provides selected farms with business planning assistance and investment support.

The goal is to provide grants to for farm business owners to conduct research and strategic business planning on their “Ideas for Change” that might increase Farm Vitality, which is defined as, “an increase in long-term, maintainable, farm profitability and net worth."

The Program offers a spring and fall application period for eligible farm business owners who choose to apply.

The Phase 1 grant allows selected farmers to research ideas for change on their farm and work with a certified business advisor, as well as other agricultural and professional service providers to develop an investment-grade business plan. To be eligible to apply for the Phase 1 grant of $6,000 to research and develop a business plan, an Applicant must:

  1. be a private, for-profit company that is owned by individuals, partners or corporations, that grows or produces agricultural products for commercial sale (excluding marijuana farms, except as permitted under 7MRS Ch.406A, Section 2231);
  2. own and operate a Farm Business that has been producing agricultural products commercially in the State of Maine for at least two (2) years (24 months) at the time of application;
  3. have ownership of the land that is being farmed, or be a partner or shareholder in a legal entity that owns the farmland; or if the farmland has been purchased recently, provide evidence of at least two years (24 months) of experience operating a commercial farm operation elsewhere in Maine;
  4. have State of Maine certification or licensure as required for their type of agricultural operation, i.e. Nutrient Management Plan, Commercial Kitchen License, Milk License, etc.

The Phase 2 cash grant and/or low-interest rate on a loan through the Agricultural Marketing Loan Fund (AMLF), assists those farmers selected for Phase 1 between January 1, 2000 and the current year, who have a current business plan with implementing the project(s) described in their Business Plan. In exchange for a Phase 2 grant, each farm must sign a Farmland Protection Agreement that will be valid for 7 years. If a farm is permanently protected with a conservation easement, the farm may only compete for the low-interest rate on the AMLF loan. To be eligible for a Phase 2 cash grant and/or the low interest rate through the Agricultural Marketing Loan Fund, an Applicant must:

  1. be a “Selected Farm” which is a farm that was previously selected for and completed Phase 1 between January 1, 2000 and December 30, 2019; and
  2. satisfy all other eligibility criteria and match requirements listed in the Phase 2 Application Form

Prospective applicants are encouraged to review all documents found on the Division of Procurement Services website that are listed under the heading: Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and the sub-heading: Maine Farms for the Future Program

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