The Mills administration is launching a $20 million grant program to help Maine farmers and food processors upgrade their aging infrastructure.

The funds will help farmers increase the supply of Maine-grown food, meet growing demand, and create and sustain jobs in one of Maine’s iconic heritage industries, the administration said in a news release.

“When we grow and raise our own healthy food, in our own fields and waters, and sell it through our own shops to our own neighbors and friends – that’s a recipe for a healthy people and a healthy economy,” Gov. Janet Mills said in the release. “Our farmers and food processors have told us they can deliver Maine-grown food to more people if they can upgrade their equipment.”

The new Agricultural Infrastructure Investment Program relies on federal funds and will be administered through the state Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, and will provide grants to Maine farm and food processing businesses. The agency will begin accepting applications in December.

Grants can be used to upgrade harvesting, processing and manufacturing or packaging and handling equipment. Improving agricultural infrastructure will allow the sector to increase production and storage capacity, enhance supply chain resilience and drive growth within the state’s agricultural and food economy while increasing production of Maine-grown foods, according to the release.

There are roughly 7,600 farms of varying size in Maine. For more information, visit the agriculture department’s website at maine.gov/dacf/ard/grants/index.shtml.


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