Second Round of Forestry Recovery Initiative Builds upon $6 Million Already Awarded
Governor Janet Mills announced today that 19 Maine forestry companies have been awarded grants totaling $14 million from the final round of the Forest Recovery Initiative of her Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan.
The $20 million Forest Recovery Initiative, announced by Governor Mills in November 2021, aims to support Maine’s forest products industry and the people it employs, create and sustain jobs in rural Maine, and strengthen the state’s economy. In March, the first round of awards provided financial relief to 219 forest products industry businesses that experienced negative impacts from the pandemic to help them sustain the viability of their business.
Awards made through the second and final round of the program will support forward-looking industry projects that address new market demands, provide new sustainable products, or otherwise advance the long-term stability of the forestry industry.
“Maine’s forest products industry is not only a key part of our state’s heritage, but also a cornerstone of our economic future. These grant awards will help Maine forestry companies on the cutting edge compete on the world stage,”said Governor Mills. “My administration will continue to work to ensure that our forest products sector remains strong for the years to come.”
“The Forest Recovery Initiative has already helped hundreds of Maine forestry businesses navigate the lasting impacts of the pandemic. Through Phase Two of the program, the Mills Administration is investing directly in the future of the sector and new uses for Maine wood fiber,” said Commissioner Amanda Beal of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, and Commissioner Heather Johnson of the Department of Economic and Community Development.
“Governor Mills’ announcement today demonstrates her administration’s continued support for the full breadth and statewide depth of Maine’s outstanding forest products industry,” said Steve Schley, Chair of Forest Opportunity Roadmap/Maine (FOR/Maine). “The 19 awards are aimed at the pulp & paper and solid wood bedrocks of the industry, and the remarkable opportunities we have developing forest based bioproducts; renewable packaging, biochar, biofuels, and an ever-expanding array of value-added solid wood products.”
“The Maine Forest Products Council thanks Governor Mills for her vision for and support of the industry. Through private and public investments, our industry will continue to adapt, thrive and create opportunities throughout rural Maine,” said Pat Strauch, Executive Director of the Maine Forest Products Council.
The program is one of three initiatives of the Governor’s Jobs Plan to support the recovery of Maine’s heritage industries –forestry, fishing and farming – from impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, the Governor’s Jobs Plan has awarded approximately $41 million in recovery funds to 392 businesses in these heritage sectors across all 16 counties in Maine.
The Forest Recovery Initiative is administered by the Maine Technology Institute, which accepted applications for the program in September and October 2022. 62 applications were received prior to the deadline seeking $77 million in funding. After reviewing and scoring the proposals in a competitive process, 19 projects were awarded funding. The awards span projects across 10 Maine counties from York to Aroostook and the $14 million dollars in funding will leverage more than $625 million in private sector matching funds, a 44:1 ratio of private to public funding.
The Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan is the Governor’s plan, approved by the Legislature, to invest nearly $1 billion in Federal American Rescue Plan funds to improve the lives of Maine people and families, help businesses, create good-paying jobs, and build an economy poised for future prosperity.
Since the Jobs Plan took effect in October 2021, the Mills Administration has delivered direct economic relief to nearly 1,000 Maine small businesses, supported more than 100 infrastructure projects to create jobs and revitalize communities, and invested in workforce programs to offer apprenticeship, career and education advancement, and job training opportunities to 22,000 Maine people.
Since the onset of the pandemic, the Mills Administration has allocated more than $288 million in assistance to support Maine small businesses.
For more about Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, visit maine.gov/jobsplan.