AUGUSTA — Maine officials say there is a record level of interest among farms in the state to get licenses to sell dairy products.

The state Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Division of Quality Assurance and Regulations says recent requests for inspections “clearly points” to an upcoming substantial increase in the number of retail dairy licenses issued.

The number of licenses issued currently stands at 134.

The state agency says the surge in interest reflects the growing number of farms producing artisanal cheeses and raw milk products.

State agriculture officials say 17 farms have contacted dairy inspectors to have an inspection performed. Another 20 have inquired about – but not yet set up for – an inspection.