BANGOR, Maine — The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced that it will award a $600,000 Conservation Innovation Grant to the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA).
This award will help promote natural resources protection through the development of specialized loans to farmers, and pilot the use of a new web-based natural resources assessment tool.
“This Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) is one of 33 similar NRCS grants nationwide designed to ensure future conservation efforts are effective and lasting,” NRCS State Conservationist Juan Hernandez said. “I see this as a good example of what happens when like-minded organizations partner to make Maine better. And from my perspective it is much more than a $600,000 grant; it is a wise investment in the time, talents and dedication of our partners at MOFGA. This extends and amplifies NRCS’s ongoing mission to address natural resource concerns on private lands.”
The award was lauded by Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, who in a press release called it “a great initiative to invest in sustainable agriculture, which is a growing area of opportunity for Maine’s rural economy.”
The grant will enable MOFGA to assist farmers in initiating on-farm activities designed to promote environmental protection through specialized loans aimed at stimulating and rewarding conservation practices. The grant also creates incentives for Maine farmers to participate by bundling these activities with financial products to be offered by a specialized credit union being formed by the Maine Harvest Credit Project (MHCP).
“The award is a phenomenal boost to our efforts to encourage innovation in approaches to conservation and environmental protection,” said MOFGA Executive Director Ted Quaday said. “We will combine technical conservation assistance to farmers with access to credit to help increase the number of environmentally sensitive farming operations in Maine.”
—USDA NRCS Maine
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