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76 Maine farmers receive Maine Farm Emergency Grants

May 12, 2020

Maine Farmland Trust and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association have awarded grants to 76 Maine farms through the Maine Farm Emergency Grants program. The two organizations collaborated to raise funds and administer the grant program in response to the needs of Maine farmers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

Nine Waldo County farms received grants, according to a spokesperson, but she was unable to identify the farms because of privacy issues.

The grants range in amounts from $325 to $2,000, with a total of $141,100 being distributed through the program, according to a news release. Farms in nearly every county received funds, and include various types of farm businesses — from dairy farms to mixed vegetable growers, wild blueberry producers, orchardists and a hopyard. A key qualifier for the grant was that farms must have participated in a MOFGA or MFT program; many of the farm recipients have interacted with both organizations.

The farms that received emergency grants are all adapting their businesses in multiple ways to meet changing markets and adjust to uncertainty this season. Current challenges include the loss of sales resulting from the closure of restaurant accounts, time spent reconfiguring business plans and finding new ways to deliver products to customers, inconsistent farm labor, and the time, labor and supplies spent on new tasks, such as extra sanitization and packaging steps.

 

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