Maine Farmland Trust (MFT) announced the award of six matching grants totaling $300,000 to Ironwood Farm, in Albion, and five other farms across the state upon their completion of MFT’s Farming for Wholesale program, a two-year program that offers up to 100 hours of individualized business planning and technical assistance to farmers who are seeking to grow their operations. The six farms will implement business plans focused on scaling up for wholesale by investing in equipment and infrastructure to streamline their production, improve their ability to sell to wholesale markets, and make their businesses more profitable.
The 2022 grantees are Apple Creek Farm in Bowdoinham; Bahner Farm in Belmont; Bumbleroot Organic Farm in Windham; Farmer Kev’s Organics in West Gardiner; Ironwood Farm in Albion; and Pumpkin Vine Family Farm in Somerville.
Each farm was awarded $50,000, and will match the grants with $50,000 of their own investments, introducing a total of $100,000 of new funding to grow their businesses. All six farms participated in MFT’s Farming for Wholesale program and worked with business advisors to research and define robust business plans that focused on scaling up for wholesale markets. These grants are competitive and applications undergo an extensive review process by a committee of MFT staff and industry consultants.
In their business plan, Nell Finnigan and Justin Morace of Ironwood Farm, an organic diversified vegetable farm in Albion, planned to scale up their best crops to help them grow sales to a level where they can support full-time, year round employees who are paid equitably, as well support a living wage for the farm owners. Finnigan and Morace plan to do this by using grant funds to construct new vegetable-handling facilities and cold storage.
Another award recipient was Anil Roopchand and Kelly Payson-Roopchand’s Pumpkin Vine Family Farm, a goat dairy and farmstead creamery, in Somerville. Their business plan identified a need to increase the size of their goat herd, as well as the capacity of their on-farm infrastructure, so their farm can sell products to diverse markets, including expanding their ability to provide wholesale goat milk to other local creameries. As a result, Roopchand and Payson-Roopchand plan to use grant funds to buy new equipment, as well as investing in an expansion of their barn and a manure pit.
Learn more about MFT’s Farming for Wholesale program here: https://www.mainefarmlandtrust.org/farm-viability/workshops/.
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