Dairy Improvement Fund
The Dairy Improvement Fund is a new revolving loan program to help Maine dairy farms and enterprises make capital improvements to maintain and enhance the viability of their farms. The program was developed by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, and is administered by the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME). The program operates in accordance with three core principles to:
- Provide financial support for sound business propositions
- Offer funds at reasonable rates and terms
- Encourage private sector participation
Funds may be used for design, construction* or improvement of milking parlors, dairy cattle housing, silos, grain bins, feed sheds, or the construction* or renovation of buildings, or equipment, located in the State of Maine and used in connection with a dairy enterprise. This includes but is not limited to:
- The purchase of new dairy production or processing equipment; or
- The expansion of an existing dairy enterprise; purchase and remodeling of existing buildings; building construction*, additions or renovations; leasehold improvements; purchase and installation of machinery and equipment (both traditional, and new and innovative)
Funds may be used for implementation of design, construction* or improvement of approved equipment and building purchases.
* If the DIF loan involves construction (and if FAME has approved a DIF Application) the Department will require the prospective DIF borrower to secure an outside construction lender to oversee the construction budget, interim invoices and lien waivers, and project inspections; and provide official acknowledgment of project completion from the DIF borrower and other construction lending sources, stating that the construction completion has been verified. After which FAME will provide DIF dairy-related construction take-out financing.
Loan funds may not be used for working capital unrelated to project implementation, or to finance or refinance projects commenced, costs incurred, or expenses paid prior to the date of submission of a completed application, and such costs and expenses shall not be considered eligible project costs for determining the matching financing or private funds requirement. However, such requirement may be waived for good cause, as determined by the Commissioner in his or her discretion, upon a written request for a waiver made at the time of the submission of the completed Eligibility Form.
- Up to 90% of the total project cost if the eligible project cost is $100,000 or less where the borrower must inject at least 10% in private funds into the project
- Up to 75% of the total project cost, if the eligible project cost is over $100,000 and the borrower must inject at least 25% in private funds into the project
- The maximum loan amount is $250,000
- Origination fee of 1% is charged at closing for all DIF Loans greater than $100,000
- The borrower is responsible for all legal costs of closing the DIF Loan
Interest Rate 1% Fixed Rate
Payment Deferred principal and interest payments may be available up to 24 months; interest accrues beginning at closing.
Term Up to 30 years and determined by the useful life of the assets being financed.
Security Adequate collateral to fully cover the amount of the loan, typically includes the project being financed and may also include other real estate, machinery and other items acceptable to the Department.
The DACF Eligibility Form requires financial statements and business plans that show the potential for the loan to be cash flowed over the term of the loan period.
To be eligible for the loan program, a business or individual located in Maine must:
- Be identified by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry as being engaged in the commercial production of cow milk or cow milk products
- Submit a completed Eligibility Form (PDF) along with attachments specified in the Eligibility Form to the Yvette Meunier at Yvette.Meunier@maine.gov
If the project is deemed eligible, DACF will notify the prospective applicant and forward the Eligibility Form to the Finance Authority of Maine.
- The prospective borrower must then complete and submit the Dairy Improvement Fund Application (PDF) along with attachments specified in the Application Form to FAME.
For more information:
Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
Agricultural Resource Development Division
Dairy Improvement Fund Eligibility Form (PDF)