Maine Farms for the Future Program

Maine Farms for the Future Program – Now Accepting Applications for Phase 2

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). 

Phase 1 Applications are currently closed. Please subscribe to the “Ag Grant News” bulletin on the top right corner of this webpage for information about the 2022 Phase 1 Cycle. Please feel free to contact Alex Redfield at alexander.redfield@maine.gov with general questions about the FFF program, to learn more about if it is a fit for you and your farm, and other opportunities/resources that might help support your farm business planning needs until 2022 Applications are open again.

Phase 2 Applications are due on January 10, 2022. Please refer to the Division of Procurement Services Grants Page for the application materials and related information (Scroll down to find the package for Farms for the Future.). Phase 2 applicants will also need to utilize the Business Plan Template linked below in the “Helpful Links and Tools” section of this page. The Q&A on Phase 2 eligibility and applications is also currently published on the Procurement Services Grants Page.

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 includes a cash grant and/or low-interest rate on an Agricultural Marketing Loan. Phase 2 is open to those farmers selected for and awarded the Phase 1 business planning grant between November 2017 and October 2021, who completed a Business Plan, and are implementing a project(s) identified within that 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; 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

Helpful Links and Tools