Five Maine small businesses are in line to a total of $471,571 in federal Value Added Producer grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The money is designated for food producers to expand operations, find new markets and develop new products, according to a press release from the office of U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, who announced the grants.
The money was included in the 2014 Farm Bill, which sets the nation’s agriculture policy every five years and was signed into law by President Obama earlier this year.
The Maine projects are estimated to save 46 jobs and create 21 new jobs. They are:
• Maine VitaminSea LLC in Buxton, $99,988 to provide working capital for a marketing program to increase sales of seaweed based foods, snacks and health products harvested in Maine. VitaminSea LLC intends to retain three jobs and create three new jobs.
• Maine Farming Fungi LLC in Sanford, $49,912 to provide working capital to market organic mushrooms in compostable packaging for resale in local grocery store chains and food distribution companies. Farming Fungi LLC intends to retain six jobs and create two new jobs.
• Maine Apple Acres Farm Inc. in Hiram, $200,000 to provide working capital to expand the sales of fresh apples, apple-based products such as doughnuts and cider, and locally grown foods to more than 120 wholesale and 20,000 retail customers. Fourteen jobs are expected to be retained and five new jobs created.
• Maine Marble Family Farms in Farmington, $49,998 to provide working capital for a market expansion of their pre-cooked and blast-frozen pocket meal. Two jobs are expected to be retained and two new jobs created.
• Maine Maine Fresh Sea Farms LLC in South Bristol, $71,673 to study the feasibility of delivering fresh, aquacultured sea vegetable products to the market using existing agricultural produce and seafood distribution systems. Twenty-one jobs are expected to be retained and 10 additional jobs over the 10 years are expected to be created.