PFAS Assistance

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DACF PFAS Relief Funding Programs

DACF’s goal is to support farmers facing PFAS contamination and to help them remain viable. Achieving that goal can be time-consuming, resource intensive, and costly. DACF is currently able to provide financial support in several ways.

Please note that all program policies listed below are subject to change. Payments to producers may be considered reportable income by the IRS and/or Maine Revenue Services, and producers are responsible for payment of all taxes. All programs are subject to DACF PFAS funding availability.

Farm Testing Reimbursement Payment Program +

DACF can reimburse producers who self-test for PFAS at their farms (soil, farm water, and other media, such as milk or feed). The reimbursable costs include third-party contractors who performed the sampling and laboratory fees. However, these test results must be from a DEP-approved laboratory, and they must be shared with DACF. In addition, there must be a verified history of sludge/septage application at the farm, or history that the farm utilized off-farm manure, feed, or other inputs contaminated with PFAS, or be located near a DEP-identified location that received sludge/septage.

For more information, please review the:

Questions about testing reimbursement? Email pfas.dacf@maine.gov.

The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) and Maine Farmland Trust (MFT) also have a PFAS Testing Grant program open to both organic and conventional farms and may be able to assist.

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Farm Water Treatment Program +

This program covers the cost of water filtration systems necessary to reduce a farm's PFAS-impacted water to below the state's current interim drinking water standard of 20 ppt (measuring the sum of 6 PFAS compounds). DACF will cover yearly maintenance, testing, and replacement parts. To qualify, the farm's well water must exceed 20 ppt and be impacting the safety of the farm’s product(s), and DACF staff must be working with the farm to mitigate PFAS impacts. DACF will work with farms on a case-by-case basis to determine when water filtration systems are necessary, and to determine the appropriate size and scope of the system. No application form is required at this point.

For more information, please review the Water Treatment Guidance (PDF).

Questions about installing a water filtration system due to PFAS contamination? Email pfas.dacf@maine.gov.

Residential wells meeting certain criteria are also eligible for water filtration systems, under the oversight of DEP. You can request testing of your residential well. You may also contact pfas.dep@maine.gov with questions and review their guidance.

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Farm Viability Fund (Infrastructure Support) +

This Fund assists farmers in making the investments and pivots necessary to bridge the gap between on-farm PFAS contamination and ongoing viability. Funding examples include DACF assisting with the purchase of clean feed, installing a new well, covering the costs of moving existing fencing (or obtaining new fencing) to secure animals on clean pasture, machinery required to harvest new PFAS-tolerant crops, etc.

To qualify, the farm must have DACF-confirmed unsafe levels of PFAS contamination on its farm. Further, DACF and the farm must be working together to determine the farm's scope of PFAS, with DACF conducting additional sampling to measure the effects of mitigation efforts. Requests for farm viability support will be subject to additional criteria and review, including but not limited to the overall cost of the request, timing considerations, alternative options, risk factors, and more. In some instances, a farm viability request may be contingent on the farm first receiving business planning assistance, paid for by DACF, to assess the feasibility of the requested viability activities.

Questions regarding eligibility and scope? Email pfas.dacf@maine.gov.

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Farm PFAS Income Replacement Program +

This program is intended to support producers by providing financial support when income is lost due to PFAS contamination at their farms. DACF will provide direct financial support to these farms, potentially equivalent to up to one year of lost gross income, subject to various criteria. Determining the ultimate amount of financial support is predicated on several factors, including whether the farm can return to some level of production that generates income. To qualify, the farm must have DACF-confirmed unsafe levels of PFAS contamination on its farm. Further, DACF and the farm must be working together to determine the farm's scope of PFAS, with the farm providing access to DACF to conduct additional sampling.

Questions about this program? Email pfas.dacf@maine.gov.

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Livestock Depopulation Funding +

PFAS contamination on farmland can lead to animals becoming contaminated at levels that will be extremely difficult to depurate (reduce) in a timely or economically feasible manner. In some instances, DACF may determine that it is in the best interest of the farm to humanely euthanize the impacted animals. This fund provides compensation for the value of those animals, with rates set by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Note that DACF's funding may not cover dairy cows, as dairy producers who participate in the USDA's separate Dairy Indemnity Payment Program (DIPP, outlined below) will have the ability to seek such assistance under that program.

Questions about livestock depopulation? Email pfas.dacf@maine.gov.

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Other Financial Resources +

Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) and Maine Farmland Trust (MFT) are actively working to support Maine farmers on a variety of levels. MOFGA and MFT may be able to assist farms in the near term through their grant programs and be reimbursed by DACF.

DIPP: For dairy farms with milk contamination, the USDA's Dairy Indemnification Payment Program (DIPP) may be an option to receive compensation for the loss of income due to stopping milk production. The DIPP Program provides payments to dairy producers when a public regulatory agency (like DACF) directs them to remove their raw milk from the commercial market due to contamination by toxins (including PFAS). DIPP’s indemnity payment is calculated by multiplying the number of cows milked, times the number of days milk is off the market, times base production in terms of pounds per cow per day, times the farm price for milk less hauling and promotion fees received by the producer. DIPP may also pay producers for the value of their animals if they are depopulated.

To learn more or to participate in DIPP, Maine producers should contact their local USDA Service Center or email Amanda May, Agricultural Program Specialist at Amanda.May@usda.gov.

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Fund to Address PFAS Contamination

The Fund to Address PFAS Contamination, or simply the PFAS Fund, will provide additional assistance. The $60 million dollar fund was established by the Maine Legislature in 2022 to provide a suite of programs to assist commercial farmers impacted by PFAS contamination of their land and/or water. See the authorizing statute (PDF).

The Department worked with an advisory committee through the winter and spring of 2023 to draft a plan to:

  • provide financial and planning assistance to commercial farmers,
  • purchase PFAS-contaminated farmland farmland from interested sellers,
  • fund research on topics such as the movement of PFAS through soil, plants, and animals and the correlation between levels of PFAS in blood and in meat, and
  • pay for blood testing and medical monitoring for eligible communities.

The Advisory Committee adopted the final plan (PDF) on July 10, 2023. The PFAS Fund anticipates that it will assume responsibility for income replacement payments by fall 2023 and will gradually launch other programs once policies, rules, and contracts are established.

Contact Beth Valentine with questions: (207) 313-0962, beth.valentine@maine.gov

Mental Health Assistance

PFAS contamination can be extremely stressful for farmers, farm families, and farmworkers. Please refer to DACF’s list of mental health resources. Additionally, the following organizations can provide direct support and/or referrals to additional services.

Cultivemos

Cultivemos is dedicated to advancing the well-being of agricultural producers, workers, and their families through accessible and effective mental health care and assistance programs.

PFAS Farmer Wellness Fund

The PFAS Farmer Wellness Fund is intended to holistically support Maine farmers and farm workers impacted by PFAS contamination by providing up to $500 per person to pay for wellness expenses. The fund is managed by MOFGA and funded through the PFAS Emergency Fund co‐administered by MOFGA and Maine Farmland Trust.

Eligibility and prioritization:

  • All commercial farms are eligible. A farm does not need to have confirmed high PFAS test results though those farms and farm workers will be prioritized,
  • Farmworkers based on a farm affected by PFAS, and
  • Indigenous food and medicine growers providing for their community.

For more information, please visit mofga.org.

Maine Mobile Health Program

Maine Mobile Health offers mental health counseling and referral for farmers and farm workers and offers services in English, Spanish or Haitian Creole. You have to be registered with the Maine Mobile Health network. Call (888) 351-9634, or email mmhp@mainemobile.org.

UMaine Cooperative Extension

UMaine Cooperative Extension’s Wellness and Resilience Programs offer a variety of resources to assist farmers in managing stress. For instance, its website includes links for:

  • Crisis help lines for when it feels hard to cope, as well as information about non-crisis support resources and tips,
  • Resilience resources (e.g., Farm Aid’s Farmer Resource Network),
  • Farm coaching (e.g., supporting relationships for farm success, personal and financial health), and the
  • Maine Agricultural Mediation Program (i.e., a confidential process for resolving disputes and creating a “custom built” path forward).

Additional information


Information Disclaimer: The information provided on this web site is only intended to be general summary information for the public. While the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry strives to make the information on this website as timely and accurate as possible, the department makes no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the contents of this site, and expressly disclaims liability for errors and omissions in the contents of this site.