Agricultural Development Grant

2023 Update: The Maine Agricultural Development Grant program is temporarily closed. Please sign up for Ag Grants News to stay informed of grant announcements and updates.

This program provides cost-share grants to conduct market promotion, market research and development, value-added processing and new technology demonstration projects. The Agricultural Development Grant program was created in 1999, capitalized by the interest earned from the Agricultural Marketing Loan Fund bond.

Past ADG Projects

2021 Awards +

2021 Awards

Organization Award Amount Project Name Description
Crystal Springs Community Farm $32,770 Expanding Access to Cold Storage, Wholesale Packaging, and Distribution Networks for Maine Farms Expanding access to diverse markets for more Maine farmers by providing refrigerated cold storage and adding value with custom retail product packaging.
Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center $36,000 Enhancement of Business Development Services for Improved Sustainability and Profitability of Maine Aquaculture Producers. Enhancing MAIC's business program for Maine aquaculture businesses by providing them with market research services tailored to their specific needs and goals for expansion.
Maine Cheese Guild $30,000 Development of Industry Assessment to Identify Improved Opportunities for Maine Cheesemakers Primary markets and key segments will be identified, regional to global, and will elaborate insights gathered through consumer feedback and stakeholder survey interviews. The resulting comprehensive Maine Cheese Industry Report will identify opportunities for cheesemakers of all size in challenging agricultural markets.
Maine Farmland Trust $49,987 Business of Farming: Helping Farmers Access New Markets and Build Resilience to Market Fluctuations Two business planning programs, Business of Farming and Farming for Wholesale, will help farmers develop capacity to expand their businesses into new markets, respond with flexibility to market instability, and to explore a variety of improvements that boost profitability
Maine Grains $50,000 Maine Grains, Inc. Expansion to Add Baking Mixes and Easy-to-Prepare Local Grains Maine Grains will design packaging and purchase equipment to launch two new value-added, grain based production lines to meet the growing consumer demand for easy-to-prepare, nutritious meals and expand the market for Maine grown grains
Thirty Acre Farm $50,000 Thirty Acre Farm Demonstration of COBOTIC (Robot Assisted) Filling and Capping Operations Installation and demonstration of a COBOTIC (collaborative robot) arm and a progressive cavity pump, allows multiple farmers from different food sectors to evaluate the cost/benefit of owning or co-packing with this equipment. Adoption of this technology will expand access to regional markets and provide infrastructure opportunities.

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2020 Awards +

2020 Awards

Organization Award Amount Project Name Description
Aroostook Hops, LLC $50,000.00 Expanding Maine hops production by increasing Aroostook Hops processing and harvesting facility The goal is to enhance Aroostook Hops harvesting and processing facility to expand availability of Maine-grown and processed hops through three main objectives: 1) to expand harvesting access throughout Aroostook County while increasing harvesting efficiency at Aroostook Hops; 2) further equip a full-scale processing facility at Aroostook Hops to service emerging farmers, and 3) provide technical assistance to farmers as they plan and establish hops production, harvesting, and drying capacity.
Blue Barn LLC dba Bluet $47,500.00 Bluet Maine Wild Blueberry Sparkling Wine: Expanding the market, benefiting growers, building an industry This project will grow the company in two ways: 1) Through strategic marketing and promotion, we will increase awareness of our brand, products, and the connection between those products and our grower/suppliers, while elevating the new category of 21st century low-intervention sparkling wine made from 100% Maine wild blueberries, 2) Through sales and distribution activities, we will increase sales in Maine, three existing national markets, five new national markets, and three new international markets.
Daybreak Growers Alliance $49,739.96 Increasing Daybreak Growers Alliance capacity to respond to consumer demand for customized CSA delivery program This project will increase DGA CSA membership to 600 Maine households, 30 centralized delivery locations and home delivery options. Daybreak's CSA currently serves 250 households, 18 delivery locations throughout Maine with products from 25 Maine farms. On average, each household purchases $1250.00 through Daybreak annually. This projects represents a growth of 350 households and $437,500 in Maine grown food sales annually. This will result in increased sales for DGA's existing 25 suppliers and the ability for DGA to purchase from 20 additional suppliers.
Maine Cap N Stem LLC $48,000.00 Competitive mushroom substrate development project Maine's mushroom substrate industry (mushroom starts) has been rapidly growing, but is under great pressure- production-standard protocols, technology, and energy consumption all conspire to make locally-made substrate less competitive for some products when compared to mushroom substrate produced in other countries (in particular Brasil and China.) The Project is designed to address this by radically changing how mushroom substrate producers produce and deliver substrate to mushroom farms.
Maine Rice Project $15,458.00 Introducing and optimizing novel small-scale grain hullers and transplanters This project will purchase, import, optimize, and distribute five grain hullers and five rice transplanters in Maine. Access to this equipment will directly impact the ability of small-scale (0.5 - 3 acre) grain growers to enter the burgeoning local grains market, by removing barriers to entry such as reliable access to appropriately scaled technology. Otherwise unavailable in the United States, this equipment will be made accessible to Maine farmers, homesteaders, and educational institutions through innovative tool lending libraries, as well as outreach events.
New Roots Cooperative Farm $30,000.00 Scaling up wholesale & direct retail New Roots Cooperative Farm will efficiently supply Ethnic and American product to wholesale and retail customers in Maine including ethnic markets and restaurants, schools, stores, food pantries and a 150 person CSA. To reach these markets, New Roots will develop a new food-safe wash and pack station and cold storage facility and build a small on-farm market so that they can provide direct retail to customers in an open air environment. This new infrastructure will support NRCF in expanding farm operations, complying with all food safety regulations, and better supply food in the face of pandemics or climate crisis.
Ocean Improved inc $50,000.00 Increasing production capabilities to meet demand, and increase supply for sea vegetable products This funding will be used to retrofit and purchase first-of-its kind seaweed processing equipment to remain competitive and continue to expand national demand for our first-to-market products. We aim to help diversify Maine’s coastal incomes by recruiting, providing technical assistance, and buying guarantees to 24 partners farmers - mostly fishermen - as the Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 99% of oceans worldwide. Kelp aquaculture also helps locally mitigate some of the effects of ocean acidification. Despite rapidly increasing demand for our product, our current manual processing is inefficient and limits our capacity to grow and amplify our impact. 
Somali Bantu Community Association of Maine $39,976.00 Expanding with resiliencies: Increasing market access for refugee farmers while mitigating climate change This project will increase overall projected sales of Liberation Farms by 10 percent with a focus on institutional markets. There will be an increase in resource-sharing and collaboration among new American farming groups to build capacity and leverage access to higher volume markets. Also it will improve food safety standard operating procedures to expand market access and support environmental sustainability. By June 2022 improve food quality, crop health, and yields through strategic soil fertility investments including increasing organic matter in soil by three percent to sequester six tons of carbon.
Springtide Organics, LLC $50,000.00 Development of innovative processing methods and analysis for farmed seaweed crops in Maine This project will develop and test two seaweed processing methodologies that will produce high value fresh and dried seaweed products, as well as conduct full analysis of processed products for marketing, promotion, and food safety. This production feasibility study will produce a handling, processing, and marketing strategy the twill allow processed farmed seaweed crops to be sold as high-value ingredients into arger food, agricultural, beauty, and pet markets. This will provide the physical knowledge infrastructure required by seaweed farmers and processors to being their products to market
University of Maine System $49,455.00 Development of nutrient-loaded biochar pellets using Maine's biomass waste to improve wild blueberry production The objectives of this project are to 1) develop a new forestry biomass-based product (i.e. nutrient-loaded biochar pellets) using an effective pelletization process and 2) evaluate the effects of this new product on the improvement of water-retention and nutrient-retention capacity of sandy soil for wild blueberries. The anticipated results are: 1) optimal pelletization parameters for making two types of biochar pellets: fertilizer-loaded and compost-loaded biochar pellets; and 2) scientific results of how the nutrient-loaded biochar pellets affect the soil health and growth of wild blueberries and potential berry yield.
Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine $45,608.00 Increasing market connectivity for Maine's Wild Blueberry growers and processors by leveraging information technology This project employs and tests two web marketing platforms for Maine's 485 wild blueberry growers and processors to increase connectivity to local and regional markets, and elevate brand awareness through the web; and pilot a model of connecting Maine's wild blueberry growers and processors to state institutional buyers to realize the goals of LD 1167. These platforms will provide high-value market opportunities to participants across scales. The pilot model will increase institutional purchasing of Maine wild blueberries by the Maine Department of Corrections and the MaineGeneral Medical Center and will be scalable and replicable.

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2018 Awards +

2018 Awards

Organization Award Amount Project Name Description
Blue Sky Produce $10,000 Fresh Wild Blueberry Demonstration Project Introducing consumers to fresh Maine wild blueberries is a terrific opportunity to create awareness and drive sales for fresh and frozen wild blueberries
Lajoie Growers LLC $50,000 Investing into equipment and packing materials for value-added products The company is investing into necessary equipment and packing material to develop a value-added product with our crops and market them on a global scale.
Tide Mill Organics $50,000 Beoming a Maine State inspected poultry processing facility Becoming State-Inspected will allow Tide Mill Organics to process more than 20,000 birds per year and develop value-added products, such as ground turkey and chicken, poultry sausages and pet food.
University of Maine $27,735 Ensuring Safety of Maine wild blueberries Maintaining and continually improving the margin of food safety in processing Maine’s wild blueberry crop is a priority for growers and processors.
Circle B Farms $19,000 Purchase and demonstrate the efficiencies and economic benefits of a small root peeler and carrot stick cutter. The purchase of the equipment will allow Circle B to process the 22,000 pounds of finished products needed for the schools and colleges requesting these products, which they are not currently able to offer because they are hand processing
Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine $50,000 Wild Blueberry School Foodservice Program 2.0 Facing low prices and stiff competition, entering new markets is key for the industry and school foodservice is a bright market opportunity

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2017 Awards +

2017 Awards

Organization Award Amount Project Name Description
Maine Landscape & Nursery Association $50,000 Plant a pollinator Garden! Promotion to support Maine's Nursery Industry Starting in Spring 2017, the grant will enable MELNA to participate in the MFS as an elite sponsor with premiere exhibit space to showcase the Plant a Pollinator Garden! promotion. For 3 years, MELNA plans to put coded mystery pollinator seed packets (with web link for info) into the hands of about 10,000 show visitors
Maine Aquaculture Co-Op $46,000 Maine Scallop Aquaculture: Development of Ear-Hung Scallop Aquaculture Infrastructure through Cooperative Model and New Technologies The Maine Aquaculture Co-op (Co-op), the first aquaculture cooperative in Maine, and with a membership comprised primarily Maine fishermen, seeks to develop scallop aquaculture infrastructure to support the ear-hung method of growing scallops, as a mechanism to diversify income opportunities for Maine fishermen and realize economic opportunity for Maine. Ear-hung scallop aquaculture is new in the U.S. but has been successfully practiced in Japan since the late 1950s and involves hanging scallops on vertical lines in pairs, allowing scallops better access to nutrients and accordingly, better growth
Undine Marine LLC $50,000 Construction and Beta Testing of the Modular Mark II Submersible Mussel Raft Successful engineering and performance of the Mark II Maine Modular Submersible Mussel Raft will result in a new aquaculture equipment company and create annual additional farmed mussel sales of over $1 million by 2020.
Maine Cap N Stem LLC $32,600 Project to Increase Production Capacity of B2B Mushroom Farm to Meet Maine Demand We will (with increased production) be able to diversify the types of our business-to-business customers to include smaller fruiting farms (and also more out of state customers) – in particular we would like to advocate for small scale start-ups of fruiting facilities that could provide additional income for existing traditional produce farms and meet the needs of localized communities.
Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine $50,000 Wild Blueberry School Foodservice Program The Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine proposes to launch a campaign during USDA’s National School Breakfast Week promoting Wild Blueberries as an ideal school food. The results will be a measurable increase in sales and the creation of a stable market channel for Maine Wild Blueberries.
The Hop Yard, LLC $19,775 Creating Viable Commercial Hop Bales The Hop Yard, LLC proposes to bring a European style “RB60” hop baling machine into the state in order to allow local growers to preserve product, open new market opportunities, and ensure storage of hops is on par with other hop growing regions.

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2016 Awards +

2016 Awards

Organization Award Amount Project Name Description
Apple Ridge Farms Inc $22,000 New Technology Vinegar Acetator for Increased Production, Dependability, and Efficiency in Natural Vinegar Production Increased Production, Dependability, and Efficiency in Natural Vinegar Production
Appleton Creamery $13,040 Appleton Cheese Trail Development of Cheese Trail in Appleton, Maine
Aroostook Hops LLC $37,573 Creating a hop pelletizing facility to produce Maine-grown and pelletized hops Technology development for Hops Market Development
Bartlettyarns, Inc $12,937.50 Commercial Wool Baler Technology Improvement purchase to increase efficiency and safety of operations.
Coastal Enterprises, Inc $36,068 Ethnic Produce: Crop Diversification for Maine Farmers to Reach New Markets Market research to increase demand for locally produced ethnic produce in the local marketplace.
LaJoie Growers, LLC $50,000 Diversifying Farm Products with Cold Storage Capacity Implementation of refrigeration to expand market season
Lakeside Family Farm $27,106 Farm-to-Workplace: Bringing More Maine Food to Maine People Design and Implement Farm to Workplace program.
Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine $50,000 2016 Wild Blueberry Metro Marketing Program Targeted market promotion to bring Wild Blueberries to New York City.

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2015 Awards +

2015 Awards

Organization Award Amount Project Name Description
AgMatters, LLC $55,000 Food Safety Information for Regional Distributors, food hubs and other Maine food holding systems Food Safety Education for Maine Crop Distribution Systems
Aurora Mills & Farm LLC $50,000 Diversification for Grains Cleaning Establishing Cover Crop Seed Cleaning Capability inside the State of Maine, with associated demonstration of growing practices
Buck Farms $50,000 Local Malting Facility with Local Barley for Local Breweries Maine Malt House
Crooked Face Creamery $20,950 Market Research and Cold-Smoking Technology Market Expansion of a National Award Winning Artisan Creamery
Downeast Salmon Federation $31,200 Mobile promotion and local outreach Downeast Salmon Federation Mobile Smokehouse
Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine $50,000 Technology Upgrades for Food Safety Around Year Round Local Fruits and Vegetables Modern Storage Facility for Year-Round Distribution of Local Farm Produce to Food Insecure Mainers
Maine Agriculture in the Classroom $10,000 Creation and Printing of Educational Books on Agriculture Increasing Maine Agricultural Markets & Nutritional Awareness of Maine Crops through Elementary Education
Peaked Mountain Farm $31,115.74 Diversified and alternative plantings for pollination Commercial Propagation of Common Milkweed and Butterfly Weed
Tide Mill Organics $50,000 USDA Poultry Processing Developing Retail Markets for Maine Organic Poultry
University of Maine System $29,590 Plum Research Increasing Local Plum Production for Farm Market Diversification
Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine $50,000 Alternative Marketing Campaign 2015 Wild Blueberry Real Foods Pick Wild Trade Program

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