A bill recently approved by a legislative committee would funnel revenues from the Oxford Casino to a loan program to aid the state's dairy farmers.
The Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee supported a bill to create a revolving low-interest loan fund that farmers could use for equipment purchases and other capital needs, according to the Maine Public Broadcasting Network. Sen. Debra Plowman, R-Hampden, sponsored the bill because she said farmers are suffering from low milk prices and don't have access to capital or it is prohibitively expensive. For the first year, 1% of revenues from the Oxford Casino currently under construction would be transferred to the state's dairy stabilization fund, which helps farmers during times of low milk prices. After one year, the money would be split between the stabilization fund and the loan program.
The amount of money dairy farmers could see is still under debate. Plowman said 1% could be as much as $1 million a year, but Agriculture Commissioner Walt Whitcomb pegged the amount at around $350,000.