Dairy Improvement Fund

The Dairy Improvement Loan Fund (DIF) provides financing to help Maine agricultural businesses undertake projects to enhance the viability and vitality of the farm, and improve the manufacturing, marketability and production of their products.

DIF provides eligible Borrowers direct loans of up to $250,000 at a 1% fixed interest rate for capital improvements.

Eligible Borrower

An eligible Borrower must:

  • Be a dairy enterprise, dairy, dairy farm, or business making milk products;
  • Keep cows that contribute milk to your products;
  • Be located in the State of Maine and currently producing milk products that are sold commercially; and
  • Propose a project that is an eligible use of the fund.

Eligible Uses of the Fund

The Fund may be used to:

  • Design, construct, or improve milking parlors, dairy barns and structures, and dairy feed storage structures; or
  • Purchase, construct, or renovate buildings, land and equipment to maintain and enhance the viability and vitality of an established dairy enterprise, dairy, dairy farm, or business making milk products, located in the State of Maine.

Ineligible Uses of the Fund

The Fund may not be used for:

  • Working capital; or
  • Refinancing projects commenced, costs incurred, or expenses paid prior to loan application. However, the Borrower may submit a written request for a waiver. Such waiver must be approved in writing by the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF).

Project Eligibility Process

  • 1. Before you complete any forms, take time to update your business plan, budget & financial projections to include the proposed project.
  • 2. Submit completed Project Eligibility Form (PDF) to DACF.
  • 3. The DACF will review your Project Eligibility Form and may contact you to conduct a telephone interview and make a site visit.
  • 4. The Commissioner will then either issue a Letter of Eligibility for your project or recommend that you revise and resubmit your Project Eligibility Form for reconsideration.
  • 5. If the Commissioner issues a Letter of Eligibility for your project, then you, as an Eligible Borrower, may submit your completed DIF Loan Application and FAME Personal Financial Statement to FAME. You must do this within 90 days. Please see FAME Dairy Improvement Fund webpage for more details and forms.