Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King announced that Maine specialty crop growers and the University of Maine will receive a total of $534,303. The funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBG) program and administered through the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry (DACF).
“Agriculture is an integral part of Maine’s rural communities, from newly founded farms to operations that have been passed down from generation to generation,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “These investments will strengthen Maine’s agricultural sector by supporting the development of more resilient fruits and vegetables and boosting farmers’ sales through increased marketing.”
The funding will be allocated as follows:
- Blue Barn LLC will receive $62,800 to market, distribute, and produce a new Maine wild blueberry beverage.
- Daybreak Grower’s Alliance will receive $38,216 to expand its specialty crop sales.
- Maine Maple Producers Association will receive $22,500 to increase the sales of Maine pure maple syrup.
- Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Alliance will receive $64,956 to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops and increase farmer’s compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act.
- University of Maine’s School of Biology and Ecology will receive $84,647 to improve wild blueberry production and resilience to warming and $79,994 to improve pest management practices in Maine wild blueberries.
- University of Maine’s School of Food and Agriculture will receive $52,402 to develop new peach varieties with improved cold hardiness.
- University of Maine’s Maine Food and Agriculture Center will receive $14,595 to expand Maine’s winter squash storage life, $83,321 to conduct pest management on Maine potatoes and $30,872 to expand Maine’s berry industry and improve farm profitability.
- Maine DACF GAP Program will receive $12,000 to administer a pilot project aimed at expanding opportunities for Maine produce growers.
The SCBG Grant Program helps specialty crop growers sell more products locally and globally, protect crops from pests and diseases, and market products to be competitive. Since 2002, the SCBG program has awarded more than $6.5 million to Maine DACF to support the growing number of specialty crop producers who are selling to local and regional markets.