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USDA invests $2.19 million to help Maine farms, agribusinesses with value-added activities

The Trump Administration announced Thursday that the USDA will invest over $2.19 million in 11 Maine agribusinesses and farms
Credit: NCM

BANGOR, Maine — The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is investing over $2.19 million in 11 Maine agribusinesses and farms, the Trump Administration announced Thursday.

The Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program helps agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and marketing of new agricultural products. The goals of this program are to generate new products, create and expand marketing opportunities, and increase producer income. Examples of activities include conducting feasibility studies and developing business plans for processing and marketing the proposed value-added product. Examples of working capital expenses include processing costs, marketing, and advertising expenses, some inventory and salary expenses.

In Maine, 11 farms and agribusinesses will receive Value-Added Producer Grants totaling $2,192,833 million:

  • American Unagi, LLC, in Thomaston, has received a grant in the amount of $237,900 to produce hotsmoked processed eel. These processed eel products will expand the customer base to serve the smoked fish and prepared food sectors with a new product. This project will allow for a more diversified revenue stream, local job growth, and improvement to US food security.
  • Baker Brook Farm & Creamery, in Windham, has received a grant in the amount of $43,437 to examine the feasibility of establishing their own processing facility for milk and ice cream. The study intends to determine the feasibility of building their own processing facility. Baker Brook Farm will benefit from increases to their customer base and revenue by adding value to their different items.
  • Balfour Farm, LLC, in Pittsfield, has received a grant in the amount of $250,000 to expand the production, marketing, and sales of certified organic aged raw milk cheese, fresh cheese, and yogurt. The project will increase wholesale and retail revenue to the farm, grow the customer base, and allow Balfour Farm to hire staff.
  • Crystal Spring Community Farm, LLC, in Brunswick, has received a grant in the amount of $250,000 to expand the production, marketing, and sales of organic carrots and blueberries. The project will increase wholesale and retail revenue to the farm, grow the customer base, and allow Crystal Spring Community Farm to significantly increase their products in large regional supermarkets.
  • Herbal Revolution Farm & Apothecary, in Union, has received a grant in the amount of $250,000 to expand the production, marketing, and sales of herbal tinctures, tonics, teas, scrubs, and elixirs. The project will increase wholesale and retail revenue to the farm, grow the customer base, and allow Herbal Revolution Farm and Apothecary to hire additional staff.
  • Bee Balm & Nettle, in Waldo, has received a grant in the amount of $12,000 to expand the production, marketing, and sales of herbal loose-leaf teas and bath teas. The project will increase direct sales revenue to the farm, grow the customer base, and allow them to hire additional staff.
  • South Paw Farm, in Freedom, has received a grant in the amount of $250,000 to expand the production, marketing, and sales of organic produce. The project will increase wholesale and retail revenue to the farm, grow the customer base, and allow South Paw Farm to significantly increase their products in large regional supermarkets.
  • Passamaquoddy Wild Blueberry Company, in Columbia Falls has received a grant in the amount of $250,000 to expand the production, marketing, and sales of frozen, branded blueberries. The project will increase retail revenue to the farm, grow the customer base, and allow Passamaquoddy Wild Blueberry Company to significantly increase the value of their raw blueberries by using the Instant-Quick Freeze process.
  • Singing Prairie Farms, LLC/Singing Pastures Farm, in Newcastle, has received a grant in the amount of $176,000 to expand the production, marketing, and sales of pork snack sticks. The project will increase online and retail revenue to the farm, grow the customer base, and allow them to hire additional staff.
  • Toddy Pond Farm, in Monroe, has received a grant in the amount of $223,496 to expand the production, marketing, and sales of cheeses and yogurts. The project will increase wholesale and retail revenue to the farm, grow the customer base, and allow Toddy Pond Farm to hire additional staff.
  • Two Farmers Farm LLC, in Scarborough, has received a grant in the amount of $250,000 to expand the production, marketing, and sales of certified organic produce. The project will increase distributor and retail revenue to the farm and grow the customer base.

“Supporting our Maine agricultural producers in their innovative business activities helps them to remain competitive and thriving as they market their locally-produced agricultural goods," USDA Rural Development State Director Timothy P. Hobbs said.