AUBURN, Maine — Maine is home to many successful agricultural and natural resource businesses, and Farm Credit East, the largest lender to Northeast agriculture, reaffirms its commitment to supporting the state’s producers. The customer-owned financial cooperative provides $713 million in loan commitments to its Maine customers, including $38.4 million in loan commitments to 327 small farmers across the state.
“Supporting producers of all sizes is imperative to continue Maine’s legacy of a vibrant, entrepreneurial agricultural community,” said Fred Morton, Farm Credit East executive vice president. “At Farm Credit East, we also recognize that in addition to capital, new and small farmers need production and financial management skills to be successful. That’s why we’ve made it one of our core values to assist young, beginning, small and veteran farmers.”
The financial cooperative offers an incentive program specifically for young, beginning, small and veteran farmers. This program, established in 1994, offers participants discounts for up to five years on services such as farm accounting software, tax preparation, consulting and appraisals. These customers can also receive discounts on Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) and USDA loan guarantee fees and interest rate assistance. Since 2015, Farm Credit East has provided over $150,000 in special incentives to young, beginning and small operators throughout the state.
In addition to these incentives, Farm Credit East can provide up to $75,000 investments in startup farm businesses through FarmStart, LLP. Over the past five years, more than $950,000 has been invested in 22 Maine startup businesses. The agricultural cooperative also offers various training and development resources to assist young and beginning producers, such as its GenerationNext seminar series for the next generation of farm operators.
“We feel our training programs, one-on-one mentoring, and consulting and incentives can help make the difference for these young and beginning operators as they develop their businesses,” Morton added.
The future of Maine’s agriculture and natural resources industry is strong for many reasons, including the diversity of the operations along with the wide array of farm and natural resource products they sell. With offices in Auburn and Presque Isle, Farm Credit East looks forward to serving Maine producers for many generations to come, just as it has for the past 100 years.
Farm Credit East extends more than $7.2 billion in loans and has 20 local offices in its seven- state service area. In addition to loans and leases, the organization also offers a full range of agriculturally specific financial services for businesses related to farming, forest products and commercial fishing. Farm Credit East is governed by a 16-person board of directors. For more information, visit FarmCreditEast.com.
–Farm Credit East