Support for Maine specialty crops announced

April 28, 2014

For more information, contact: John Harker at (207) 287-7620

State officials say over $600,000 will support natural resource jobs

AUGUSTA – The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) announced that it has been notified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that it will receive $600,343.41 in Specialty Crop Block Grants for projects that help support specialty crop growers, including locally grown fruits and vegetables, through research, programs to increase demand, and for additional agricultural projects. The DACF is currently accepting proposals (RFP #201403710) from qualified applicants through the State of Maine Division of Purchases until May 20.

“Specialty Crop assistance funds will support science-based research by the DACF, University of Maine and private industry to create and sustain natural resource jobs,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Maine has used these funds to conduct initiatives that assist producers of fresh fruits and vegetables and strengthen markets for specialty crops such as potatoes, wild blueberries, cranberries, other fruits, and horticultural crops.”

DACF Commissioner Walt Whitcomb was equally pleased with the announcement, noting the importance and success of projects already conducted with Specialty Crop Grant Program funds.

“Maine specialty crops are world renowned for freshness, taste, and healthful properties,” said Whitcomb. “Previously awarded grants have supported Maine growers and producers of wild blueberries, potatoes, vegetables, and other specialty crops. Successful Department initiatives have promoted: good agricultural, handling and manufacturing practices; research on ways to control invasive fruit crop pests; enhanced food safety education for organic and conventional producers; and the development of school agricultural programs.”

Details on how to apply:

SPECIALTY CROP BLOCK GRANT PROGRAM (RFP #201403710)

The State of Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Division of Agricultural Resource Development has a requirement for grant proposals which, if approved, will become part of a State of Maine plan submitted for approval and funding from the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. In accordance with State procurement practices, the Department is hereby announcing the publication of a Request for Proposals (RFP #201403710) for proposals from qualified applicants.

A copy of the RFP can be obtained by contacting the Department’s RFP Coordinator for this project: John Harker, Director of Market Development. The RFP Coordinator can be reached at the following email address: john.harker@maine.gov or mailing address: 28 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333. The Department encourages all interested vendors to obtain a copy of the RFP and submit a competitive proposal.

Proposals must be submitted to the State of Maine Division of Purchases, located at the Burton M. Cross Office Building, 111 Sewall Street, 4th Floor, 9 State House Station, Augusta, Maine, 04333-0009. Proposals must be submitted by 2:00 pm, local time, on Tuesday, May 20th, 2014, when they will be opened at the Division of Purchases’ aforementioned address. Proposals not received at the Division of Purchases’ aforementioned address by the aforementioned deadline will not be considered for contract award.

Maine and the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program:

Since 2006, the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, which is administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), has awarded over $2.6 million dollars to the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to support the growing number of Maine specialty crop producers who are selling into local and regional markets.

For more information about the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, go to: http://www.maine.gov/dacf/