PRESQUE ISLE — A U.S. Senate committee has signed off on a funding bill that would provide help to Maine’s potato industry as well as other rural enterprises.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins says the bill includes $2.75 million for potato research grants. She’s a member of the Appropriations Committee, which has passed the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies funding bill for fiscal year 2020 with a unanimous vote.

Collins says the bill would also boost other industries important to rural Maine’s economy, including aquaculture, craft brewing and organic agriculture. She says the proposal “would assist our nation’s farmers, invest in critical agricultural research” and support rural development projects.

The bill includes $20 million for an integrated pest management program that will support work at the University of Maine.

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