Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Announces 2020 Agricultural Development Grant Awards

June 17, 2020

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AUGUSTA - Today, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) announced its latest round of Agricultural Development Grant (ADG) program awardees. For 2020, eleven Maine agricultural producers and organizations are sharing a total of $472,736.96. Recipients include Aroostook Hops, LLC; Atlantic Sea Farms; Blue Barn LLC dba Bluet; Daybreak Growers Alliance; Maine Cap 'N Stem LLC; Maine Rice Project; New Roots Cooperative Farm; Somali Bantu Association of Maine (Liberation Farms); Springtide Organics LLC, the University of Maine System; and the Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine. The full list of projects and grant awards are detailed on the ADG webpage. DACF's 2020 ADG call for proposals yielded 45 responses.

"We are excited to provide grant funding for market and technology development at this critical time for Maine agriculture," says Amanda Beal, DACF Commissioner. "These grants are helping agricultural producers to expand and improve production, strengthen their ability to respond to consumer demand, and be more competitive while benefiting a broad community of partners."

"This funding has given us a boost to scale up our wholesale. It means that we will be able to achieve our market goals and reach more people to help the community at large." - Omar Hassan, UMaine Cooperative Development Institute, conveying the comments of ADG recipient New Roots. New Roots is applying its grant funding toward scaling up the Lewiston farm's wholesale and direct-retail marketing operations.

"As a farmer-owned distribution company, Daybreak Growers Alliance seeks to grow market opportunities for over 50 Maine farms and food producers. This year is especially critical as Daybreak enters its second year in business and faces increased challenges due to the COVID19 pandemic. While the pandemic is creating market disruption, it is also creating accelerated growth opportunities for those local food businesses equipped to respond to these changes. This grant will allow us to build our capacity, agility, and efficiency in our response to these market changes." - Colleen Hanlon-Smith, Wholesale Supervisor at Daybreak Growers Alliance. Daybreak Growers Alliance is applying its grant funding to respond to increased consumer demand for a customized CSA delivery program.

"This 2020 ADG grant will allow us to expand the availability of Maine-grown and processed hops by further equipping our hop processing facility not only to increase our efficiency but also to serve other emerging farmers. Our goals are to increase the amount of Maine-grown hops that are included as ingredients in local craft beer for the state's expanding brewing sector, and also to help new growers overcome many of the barriers to entry in Aroostook county." - Krista Delahunty, Aroostook Hops.

Established by the Maine Legislature in 1996, the ADG program funds projects that accelerate new market development, the adoption of improved technology, and the promotion of agricultural products produced in Maine. Grants are awarded every one to two years through a competitive proposal process.

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