Maine DACF launches new agricultural infrastructure investment program

ROCKLAND – As part of the Mills administration Jobs in Maine and Stimulus Package, the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) is preparing to launch the new Agricultural Infrastructure Investment Program (AIIP).

The Mills Administration has invested about $ 20 million in federal funds to help Maine’s farmers and food processors improve critical infrastructure. This funding will allow farms and agribusinesses to pursue upgrades that will mitigate the adverse effects of COVID-19, increase the supply of Maine-grown foods, improve supply chain resilience, and help develop and to maintain one of Maine’s heritage industries.

The DACF has partnered with Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) to administer the AIIP. Applications will be accepted from January 14, 2022.

Program guidelines and an application template are now available on the AIIP website. Two information webinars on AIIP are planned for interested applicants. The first webinar will take place on Tuesday January 4, 2022 at noon. The second webinar will take place on Tuesday January 11, 2022 at noon.

The webinars will be recorded and viewable after each session. Pre-registration is required. Interested candidates can register online here.

A range of funding will be available through ACAP, including smaller grants for on-farm improvements and larger grants for project processing. There will be no correspondence required and no minimum claim amount.

Some examples of eligible investments include capital improvements, including modifications to existing buildings and the construction of new buildings. They also include upgrades to utilities (including water, electricity, heating, refrigeration, freezing and waste treatment facilities); cultivation, processing and manufacturing of equipment and construction; packaging and handling equipment; technology that helps increase business capacity or resilience (including software and hardware related to business functions, logistics, inventory management, plant production and supervisory controls, to allow prolonged or year-round production); and technical assistance, including market research and feasibility studies, construction engineering and planning, land use planning, facility design and configuration planning, and other services that directly support the future implementation of infrastructure-related capacity building projects.

To learn more about AIIP, visit DACF Agricultural Resource Development Division Grants Web page, or CEI Web page. For questions, e-mail [email protected].

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