Funds will Assist Maine Aquaculture Businesses Struggling from COVID Impacts
USDA Rural Development State Director Timothy P. Hobbs today announced a Rural Business Development Grant in the amount of $64,885 to the Maine Aquaculture Association. The Rural Business Development Grant will assist the Association with providing direct assistance to Maine aquaculture producers.
USDA Rural Development State Director Timothy P. Hobbs said, “This vital grant to the Maine Aquaculture Association is going to be used where it is needed most- assisting the Maine aquaculture businesses who provide our state with shellfish, fin fish, and sea vegetables. Supporting our Maine fisherman will ultimately help the industry as a whole to thrive, while sustaining aquaculture-related jobs and businesses in Maine.”
This Rural Development investment will be used to directly help Maine aquaculture businesses. The Maine Aquaculture Association will work directly with Maine aquaculture business owners, meeting one-on-one, to provide training, assistance, and COVID-specific tools to help producers strategize and plan the business, financial, and production aspects of their farms. The program’s immediate focus is to help farmers create a plan detailing how to survive the next two years of COVID impacts, with a secondary focus being placed on thorough 5 and 10-year growth plans. The funds will also be used to help business owners navigate the programs designed to mitigate the impacts of COVID.
In 2014, Maine had 107 aquaculture business industry providers according to Maine Aquaculture Economic Impact Report from the Aquaculture Research Institute at the University of Maine, with a statewide economic impact of $136.7 million in output, $56.1 million in labor income, and 1,078 full- and part-time jobs.
The Maine Aquaculture Association (MAA) is a non-profit trade association that represents the Maine aquaculture industry at the state, federal, and international levels. Its members grow fin fish, shellfish, and sea vegetables. Since 1978, MAA has worked to support Maine’s aquatic growers in developing economically and environmentally sustainable business practices, promoting the benefits of aquaculture in the local food system, and preserving Maine’s heritage of a vibrant working waterfront. On any given year, MAA members represent between 80 and 90% of the active sea farming companies in the state. For more information contact MAA at (207) 622 0136, email@example.com or go to www.maineaqua.org.
USDA Rural Development’s Rural Business Development Grant Program provides grants to entities such as towns, communities and nonprofits to provide technical assistance and training for small rural businesses. For more information please contact Brian Wilson, Business Programs Director, at (207) 990-9168 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/me.
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