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Maine Farms for the Future Program
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:
- 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);
- 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;
- 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;
- 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:
- 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
- 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
Helpful Links and Tools
- USDA NRCS Web Soil Survey - Provides soil data and information produced by the National Cooperative Soil Survey. Soil maps and data available online for more than 95 percent of the nation’s counties and anticipates having 100 percent in the near future.
- Outline of Contents for Phase 2 Business Plan (DOCX)
- Farms selected for Maine Farms for the Future – Phase 1 from 01/01/00 to 12/31/2019 (PDF)
- Stephanie Gilbert