Commissioner Walter Whitcomb announced 11 Agricultural Development Grant Program awards totaling over $422,855 at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show today. The preliminary selections were chosen by a review committee from 47 proposals submitted in response to a formal Request For Proposals (RFP) in November. The projects address needs in the agricultural industry for accelerating new market development, adoption of improved technology and promotion of agricultural products produced in Maine.

“The last Census of Agriculture found that the market value of Maine agricultural products has increased 24%,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “The awards announced today will allow Maine agriculture to continue its momentum by helping farmers and producers realize their full economic potential to supply consumers in Maine, New England and beyond. The investments being announced today support job creators and continued growth of our natural resource economy.”

Commissioner Walt Whitcomb highlighted the efforts of the review committee and its careful selection of projects from dozens of competitive applications.

“Selected proposals incorporated one or more of four priorities: market development for the processing of animals/livestock throughout Maine; improved utilization and profitability of Maine grown grains; market enhancements for nutrition and/or food safety; and projects that focus on alternative markets or diversification,” said Whitcomb. “The selection committee was charged with identifying projects that can start immediately upon acceptance.”

Out of the total 47 proposals received and reviewed by a committee in the competitive review process, 11 projects have been tentatively identified pending approval by the State of Maine Purchases Division and the successful completion of a State of Maine contract. These projects have been identified as:

AgMatters, LLC (Vassalboro) – Food Safety Education for Maine Crop Distribution Systems
Aurora Mills & Farm LLC (Linneus) – Establishing Cover Crop Seed Cleaning Capability inside the State of Maine, with associated demonstration of growing practices
Buck Farms (Mapleton) – Maine Malt House
Crooked Face Creamery (Norridgewock) – Market Expansion of a National Award Winning Artisan Creamery
Downeast Salmon Federation’s Aquatic Research Center (E. Machias) – Downeast Salmon Federation Mobile Smokehouse
Good Shepherd Food Bank (Auburn) – Modern Storage Facility for Year-Round Distribution of Local Farm Produce to Food Insecure Mainers
Maine Agricultural in the Classroom (Augusta) – Increasing Maine Agricultural Markets & Nutritional Awareness of Maine Crops through Elementary Education
Peaked Mountain Farm (Holden) – Commercial Propagation of Common Milkweed and Butterfly Weed
Tide Mill Organics (Edmunds Township) – Developing Retail Markets for Maine Organic Poultry
• University of Maine (Monmouth) – Increasing Local Plum Production for Farm Market Diversification
Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine (Orono) – 2015 Wild Blueberry Major Metro Enhancement Program