COVID-19 Information for Agriculture and Food Businesses

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, DACF has worked to ensure that functions critical to the agency and industry needs are met and carried out in the interest of public safety and public health. To keep our agricultural producers, businesses, and service providers as up-to-date as possible on health and safety issues with the ongoing COVID-19 situation, DACF will maintain the most recent information and guidance from the Maine Centers for Disease Control and our federal and state partners. We are in contact with producers and agricultural organizations across Maine to try and find effective ways to minimize the negative impact on growers and address your concerns and issues. Please continue to reach out, and we will do our best to respond and share as much information as we can during this time.

On this page:


Essential Public Health Information

  • COVID-19 Vaccine Information (updated 1/14/21)
    • Maine’s strategy for distributing its limited allocation of COVID-19 vaccines has been updated.  The limited vaccine supply will be dedicated first to older Maine residents, beginning with those 70 and older; additional emergency service personnel such as police and firefighters; and people who support infrastructure critical to Maine’s COVID-19 response. The updated strategy also focuses on adults of all ages with high-risk medical conditions that place them at greater risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19.
    • Maine’s revised priority stages for vaccination are:
      • Phase 1a – currently underway and potentially complete by February 2021.
        • Health Care Personnel
        • Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities;
        • Emergency First Responders & Public Safety Personnel
        • Critical COVID-19 Response Personnel (those who make, distribute, process or report COVID-19 tests)
      • Phase 1b – partially underway and potentially completed by April 2021.
        • Adults 70 and Older – vaccination is underway. These individuals may be contacted by their health care providers or can visit this website of vaccine providers and locations.
          • After a significant number of people 70 and older have been vaccinated, or if the supply of the vaccine increases, Maine will move to vaccinate those between the ages of 65-69.
        • Frontline critical workers - Identifying these workers and determining how they will be vaccinated will occur as more information on the vaccine supply in the Biden Administration emerges.
      • Phase 1c  - likely spring/summer 2021.
        • Other critical workers not recommended for vaccination in Phase 1b
      • Phase 2 – likely spring/summer 2021
        • Persons aged 16-64 who are not otherwise eligible during a previous phase.
    • Vaccine distribution is a fluid, evolving process and is currently constrained by an inconsistent supply. For further information, please frequent the following sites: COVID-19 Vaccination in Maine and COVID-19 Vaccination FAQs
    • The Department will update this section frequently.
  • US Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 Information
  • COVID-19 Prevention, Symptoms, FAQs
  • Maine CDC COVID-19 Information
  • Maine 2-1-1 COVID-19 Resources
  • FDA Information Comparing Respirators, Facemasks and Cloth Face Coverings and Appropriate Uses

COVID-19 Operational Guidance

The resources below provide information to farmers and food producers about how to safely provide their services on-farm and in some public-facing situations.

Five Executive Orders have been issued that relate to the wearing of face-coverings in publicly accessible businesses.

Together, these orders require face-coverings to be worn by the public state-wide in public settings, regardless of the ability to maintain physical distance, with some limited exceptions.

In addition, the state has issued guidance for businesses who interact with the public that details face-covering enforcement options.

If you wish to report a potential situation of non-compliance, you may report those details using this form. The information will be reviewed by appropriate agency or agencies and responded to as needed.

Financial Resources

  • Federal Programs
    • The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP): A second round of CFAP funding has been announced by USDA. CFAP 2 will provide up to $14 billion for agricultural producers facing market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19. The payments cover three categories: price trigger commodities, flat rate crops, and sales commodities.
    • The Farm Service Agency (FSA) has several loan and servicing programs aimed at farmers and producers. Please reach out directly to FSA's Maine office to learn more.
    • US Small Business Administration (SBA)
      • The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is offering a second round of loans aimed at helping businesses keep their workforces employed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Small Business Administration (SBA) oversees PPP and offers two types of loans:
        • First Draw PPP Loans for first-time program participants
        • Second Draw PPP Loans beginning January 13, 2021 for certain businesses who have previously received a PPP Loan.
        • PPP Round 2 is funded by the recently passed Economic Aid Act, which provided $284 billion to the program. Companies must employ 300 or fewer people and have had a 25% reduction in gross receipts. Learn more at SBA.
    • The SBA is still accepting applications for Economic Injury Disaster Loans, which apply to farm businesses.
    • SCORE Maine is a resource partner of the SBA and provides business mentorship to small businesses.
  • USDA Rural Development
    • USDA RD’s Business and Industry (B&I) Cares Act Loan Program is available for agricultural producers. $450,000,000 is dedicated to ag businesses. The loan program is for working capital (e.g. supplies, P&I, payroll, rent, feed, seed, fertilizer, marketing, shipping, livestock (excluding breeding), etc.), and loan terms can be up to ten (10) years with deferral of principal payments for up to three years.
    • More information on the scope of the B&I Cares Act Loan Program and how to apply (PDF).
  • State Programs
    • The Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Agriculture and Food Processing Infrastructure Reimbursement Program has closed. This Program offered grants ($1,000-$100,000) in reimbursements to Maine farms, food producers, and supply chain businesses that invested in infrastructure purchases or projects due to COVID-19 caused market disruptions. The Program is administered by Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI). The application deadline for this grant closed December 18, 2020. Applicants will be notified of funding decisions by December 30, 2020. Grant payments will be distributed by the end of February 2021.
    • The Department’s Food Security Network Reimbursement Program has closed. Applications were due on December 18, 2020. The Program offered up to $10,000 in reimbursement to food banks, pantries, and other food security non-profit organizations that serve Maine residents and accrued unanticipated expenses while working to overcome food supply and distribution challenges caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency. The Program is being administered by Catholic Charities of Maine.
    • The Department’s E-Commerce Reimbursement Program has closed.  Applications were due on December 18, 2020. The Program, administered by Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), was open to farm businesses that incurred new, unanticipated expenses directly related to e-commerce infrastructure purchase or subscription after March 1, 2020. Applicants will be notified of funding decisions by December 30, 2020. Grant payments will be distributed by the end of February 2021.
    • The Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) has recently announced a new grant program available to the Maine Tourism, Hospitality & Retail sector. Please visit the DECD website for more information.
    • Economic Recovery Grant Program (ERGP) – Phase 2 grant applications closed on Thursday, October 29, 2020. Grants will be awarded in late November. For additional information about the program, please visit the Department of Economic and Community website.
    • The Maine Department of Labor is accepting applications for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program (PUA). The PUA is a federal program that expands eligibility for unemployment benefits to categories typically not able to receive benefits, including self-employed workers and farmers and independent contractors. More information is available at Department of Labor, and an FAQ is available (PDF).
    • COVID-19 Relief Consumer Loan Program: This program provides no- to low-interest consumer loans through a loan guarantee program involving Maine’s banks, credit unions, and FAME. Interested borrowers should contact their local bank or credit union (not FAME) to see if the lender is offering this program and to apply.
    • IRS Guidance on paid leave tax credits for small/med businesses
  • Other Programs
    • Maine Farmland Trust and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association are offering emergency grants to assist farmers impacted by COVID-19, including those who have experienced sales losses, increased expenses, and/or other challenges during 2020 and who anticipate needing to make further changes and adjustments for 2021. Grants of up to $2,000 per farm will be awarded via a selective process. Applications are due Monday, December 14th at 11:59pm with decisions and notifications of awards expected by the week of December 21st.
  • Resources for Planning & Responding to COVID-19 for Farm and Forestry Producers

    Cleaning and Sanitizing

    Food Safety

    Horticulture

    Livestock

    Farm Labor

    Information for Veterinarians, Shelters, Kennels & Pet Owners

    Find Local Food and Food Assistance

    Other Resources

    Governor’s Office

    Maine Department of Economic Development

    Notice of Temporary Building Closure

    • DACF’s Deering Building, which houses the Bureau of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources, and Harlow Building, which houses the Maine Forest Service, are temporarily closed to the public. Should you require assistance, please call (207) 287-3200. Thank you.