Maine Farms for the Future Program

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.

FFF Phase 2 RFA offers an investment support cash grant of up to $25,000 and/or the opportunity to apply for a subsidized 2% interest rate loan from the Department’s Agricultural Marketing Loan Fund. To be eligible for a FFF Phase 2 investment support cash grant and/or the low-interest rate through the Agricultural Marketing Loan Fund, an Applicant must:

  1. have been awarded a Phase 1 Business Planning grant in the last 4 years, but have not been awarded a Phase 2 implementation grant in that timeframe,
  2. be seeking these funds to implement (a) project(s) identified within their completed FFF Phase 1 Business Plan (see template below)
  3. satisfy all other eligibility criteria and matching contribution requirements listed in the FFF Phase 2 application form.
    In addition, the implementation support cash grant component of this RFA is only available to Applicants who own at least 5 acres of land in agricultural use and who agree to sign a 7-year Farmland Protection Agreement.

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

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