Pingree Announces Over $2 million in Agriculture Grants for Maine
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree announced today that over $2 million in USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) grants will be awarded to the University of Maine and a Waterville small business to advance Maine’s agricultural economy. FoodCorps, a program that offers food and agriculture education programs in several Maine communities, also received funding.
“These grants will address key challenges in Maine organic farming, dairy processing, and food safety. I’m eager to see the tools and resources that will come out of these projects and the impact they will have on our agricultural economy,” said Pingree. “The bottom line is that this funding will help farmers across the state net more money from what they produce, which is why I have been a strong advocate for the USDA programs that have awarded it.”
The University of Maine is receiving a $1,955,519 Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) grant to help organic farmers improve strategies for managing weeds. (More information here.) Pingree has introduced a bipartisan bill to more than double annual funding for OREI—HR 2436, the Organic Agriculture Research Act.
The University of Maine is also receiving a $73,219 Food Safety Outreach Program grant to find the most effective ways to deliver food safety training to Maine producers. (More information here.)
Atlantic Corporation in Waterville will receive a $100,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant to test and develop resources for small and mid-size dairy farms to start their own small-scale pasteurization and milk processing lines. (More information here.) Pingree wrote a letter of support for this project for the benefits it could have on Maine’s dairy industry, which is challenged by a limited number of processors.
FoodCorps will receive $166,217 from the Nutrition and Agriculture Service Learning program to ramp up its food and education programs in Maine, Mississippi, and Oregon. (More information here.) Pingree was successful in getting funding for the service learning grants appropriated for the first time since it was authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill.
“In Maine, FoodCorps service members have been vital to teaching students healthy eating habits, helping schools and organizations grow more of their own food, sharing local food options with New Mainers, and much more,” said Pingree. “FoodCorps members do a great job helping our communities make closer connections to the food they eat and I’m grateful that this grant will strengthen their presence.”
Pingree is a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, which oversees discretionary funding for the USDA.