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Five Farms in Maine Secure Over $1M in USDA Grants

Leigh Hallett
Release Date

Businesses in Cape Elizabeth, Dresden, Pittsfield, Pittson, and Union 
win highly competitive Value-Added Producer Grants 

Bangor, Nov. 29, 2023U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Maine State Director Rhiannon Hampson announced today that USDA is awarding five Maine agricultural businesses more than $1M in grant funds. The Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG) will help the businesses develop and promote their products, making more local agricultural goods available to Maine residents and wider markets. Cured meats, prepared fruits and vegetables, soaps, herbal health products, and a blueberry confection are among the products to be developed.

“When we help create processing opportunities for Maine farms, we shorten the local supply chain,” said Director Hampson. “This results in more choices for Maine consumers, as well as more opportunities and revenue for farmers. The Rural Development grants announced today offer businesses a chance to sustainably jumpstart growth, create jobs and enhance the ‘multiplier effect’ of the dollars being awarded. These continued Biden-Harris administration investments in farmers and rural entrepreneurs are creating better economic opportunities across the whole of Maine.”

The VAPG program is competitive, and USDA evaluates applications at the national level. This year five Maine farms submitted winning proposals:

  • Balfour Farm ($249,917) will use its working capital grant funds to expand the processing, marketing, and sales of its frozen fresh sausages and cured meats, creating one new job. The organic dairy farm and creamery is in Pittsfield, and its products are available at farmers’ markets and retail sites.
  • Fields Fields Blueberries ($10,000) secured planning grant funds to assess the feasibility of expanding the market for its blueberry crisp (currently available from the “Crisp Cart” at special events). The business will explore options for co-manufacturing and other aspects of increasing production. Its current line includes wild blueberry leaf teas, chips, powders, and tincture in addition to the dessert. The family-run organic wild blueberry farm is in Dresden.
  • Herbal Revolution Farm & Apothecary ($250,000) will use its working capital grant funds to expand the production, marketing, and sales of herbal tinctures, tonics, teas, scrubs, and elixirs. The project will increase wholesale and retail sales and allow the business, located in Union, to hire up to four additional staff.
  • Ledgeway Farm ($249,975) will use its working capital grant funds to expand processing, marketing, and sales of its diverse array of goat milk soap bar products. This project will allow the Pittston farm to grow its customer base and create two new jobs.
  • William H. Jordan Farm ($250,000) will use its working capital grant funds to expand processing, marketing, and sales of its shelf-stable products and frozen vegetables. This project will attract more customers to the farm store and expand its line of frozen and shelf-stable products offered through retail and wholesale channels. The fifth-generation Cape Elizabeth farm expects to add two jobs because of the project.

This round of awards illustrates the diversity of the USDA’s Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program. It helps agricultural producers expand their businesses and increase their incomes by developing new products and reaching wider markets. Farmers, producer groups, farmer-cooperatives, and others are eligible to apply for this program. For more information contact Ivana Hernandez Clukey, Loan Specialist, Business & Cooperative Services (ivana.hernandezclukey@usda.gov or 207-990-9127).


Read comments from the grant recipients: https://www.rd.usda.gov/media/20301/download



USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.




Today’s funding builds on prior investments made by USDA under President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to increase competition, enhance independent meat and poultry and other diversified food processing capacity, strengthen local and regional food systems and expand domestic, innovative fertilizer production. 

USDA is making investments in 185 projects worth nearly $196 million to create new and better market opportunities for producers and entrepreneurs in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming and Puerto Rico.

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