LISBON — Gov. Janet Mills traveled to Springworks Farm in Lisbon on Tuesday to publicize the state’s new economic development model, the Dirigo Business Incentive Program. It replaces a two-decades-old Pine Tree Development Zone, and received bipartisan support in the Maine Legislature for its inclusion in the budget signed into law by Mills earlier this month.

The new program was designed to address two major challenges facing Maine’s economy — a lack of skilled workers and a need for increased capital investment.

Sierra Kenkel, vice president of Springworks Farm in Lisbon, and her brother, Trevor Kenkel, founder and president, stand in one of their greenhouses in Lisbon. Submitted photo

“It will spur private sector investments that put more Maine people in the workforce, create new jobs, and help business start, relocate, or expand right here in Maine,” said Mills. “This program will keep Maine competitive with other states that are working aggressively to attract businesses.”

Springworks Farm is in the midst of a six-year plan to add 500,000 square feet of greenhouse space and add more jobs. It is the largest aquaponics greenhouse in the Northeast.

“Maine’s innovation economy is the reason we have been able to create 40 full-time positions, while producing over two million heads of local organic lettuce and 75 tons of fish a year,” said Springworks founder and chief executive officer, Trevor Kenkel.

The Dirigo Business Incentive Program — which will take effect in 2025 — will offer up to a $2,000 tax credit per worker trained to businesses that pay to train three or more workers in an approved training program. Business across the state would also be eligible for up to a 10% tax credit for capital investment, targeting manufacturing, agriculture, fishing, forestry, freight, software and scientific research.

Editor’s note: The previous version of this story stated businesses would be eligible for up to a 15% tax credit, based on information issued by the governor’s press office in error.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.