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March 20, 2024

Senators Collins, King Announce More Than $1 Million for Developing Maine’s Organic Food Market

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins, Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Senator Angus King, announced that 5 Maine entities will receive a combined total of $1,036,469 through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Organic Market Development Grant (OMDG) Program. These grant awards will fund the development of new and expanded organic markets to help increase the consumption and production of organic agricultural commodities.

The funding comes during National Agriculture Week, which runs from March 17-23, to celebrate and highlight the farmers, ranchers, fishers, and foresters who work every day to feed Americans and strengthen our economy. In a 2020 study, Maine, per capita, ranked second in the country for the availability of organic food. For every 100,000 Maine people, there are 37 organic farms located across the state – with Maine vegetable farms producing the most organic produce in the nation.

“Maine’s organic agricultural industry continues to thrive with the support of the USDA’s grant programs,” said Senator Collins. “This investment will give Mainers access to healthier, better quality foods and help strengthen the resiliency of our state’s food supply chain.”

“As Maine’s organic farmers face increasing challenges from changing global markets, climate change, and more, we must continue to provide resources and support to help them evolve with the times,” said Senator King. “These Organic Market Development Grants will ensure Maine’s organic farmers can continue to respond to these challenges and pave the way for the future of the organic food industry. I am proud to support Maine’s organic farmers as they provide healthy, quality foods to our communities and boost our state and local economy.”

Specifically, the funding has been awarded as follows:

  • Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association – $639,449 for strengthening consumer and institutional demand for local organic dairy products.
  • Aurora Mills & Farm LLC – $100,000 to expand soybean production capacity, strengthening Maine’s food systems, and for the purposes of nitrogen-fixing soils.
  • Crystal Spring Community Farm LLC – $100,000 to increase access to local organic products at large-scale Northeast grocery chains by providing industry standard, cost effective, custom packaging of produce for small organic farms.
  • Balfour Farm LLC – $99,511 to expand farmstead milk processing, which will grow the Northeast organic cheese supply.
  • Blue-Zee Farm – $97,509 to create and grow a niche regional market for fresh and frozen edamame, while utilizing the nitrogen-fixing ability of soybeans for soil health.

According to the USDA, the OMDG program focuses on building and expanding capacity for certified organic production, aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storing, transporting, wholesaling, distribution, and development of consumer markets. OMDG aims to increase the availability and demand for domestically produced organic agricultural products and address the critical need for additional market paths.


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