Last fall, after receiving our acceptance into the Land for Maine’s Future program, we applied for the Maine’s Farms for the Future grant. In November, we were notified that Rivard Farm was one of 15 farms (in Maine) state-wide to receive the grant. Our application scored third highest of the 15 farms, scoring an 89 out of 100. 81 points was the cut-off.
The Farms for the Future Program is a two-step program that helps Maine farmers increase the long-term economic viability of their farm.
In Phase 1, farmers apply to receive a package of services, worth up to $6,000, to work with skilled professionals in developing a detailed business plan. Applications are accepted once a year in late summer. Most of the research and writing of the business plan takes place during the fall and winter months.
Farmers who have completed business plans during Phase 1 are eligible to apply for a competitive grant to implement the changes identified in their business plans. Farmers who are awarded a Phase 2 cash grant receive 25 percent of the cost to implement the changes in their plan. Grants are limited to $25,000 and farmers are responsible for the remaining 75 percent, which may include cash, low-interest loans, other grants, and in-kind services.