July 17, 2018

$228K in federal grants awarded to two farms for business development

Two Maine farms have been awarded a total of more than $228,000 in federal grants to expand operations and launch new product lines, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District Maine, said in a news release.

Fredrikson Farm of South China will receive nearly $225,000 to expand the production, marketing and sale of its goat milk cheese. The project will allow the farm to hire new employees, grow its customer base and ultimately increase revenue, Pingree said.

The Goronson Farm of Scarborough will receive $3,750 to produce a business plan and conduct a feasibility study on selling handcrafted, organic fresh and hard apple ciders. These documents will help guide the farm's future expansion plans, according to the release.

Both grants will be matched with private funding from the farms.

The grants come from the Department of Agriculture's Value-Added Producer Program, which competitively awards funds to growers for developing and marketing new products. The grants can be used as working capital or to conduct economic planning.

A total of at least $18 million in Value-Added Producer Grants will be awarded this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The program was enacted in 2000 and over the next 15 years provided more than 2,300 grants, with a total value of $318 million.

"Farmers are always thinking about how to improve their bottom line — getting just a little more money for their product can make all the difference between breaking even or not," Pingree said. "Value-Added Producer Grants have proved vital in helping Maine farms succeed by improving their business plans, hiring workers and marketing new products. I'm glad these local farms will be able to use funds to grow their businesses and enter new markets."


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