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Farmers and food processors get 20 million dollars in grants to expand production and processing

Sixty-four Maine farmers and food processors are receiving 20 million dollars in grants from the state to expand in-state production and processing for dairy, grains, vegetables, fruit, meat and poultry. The Agricultural Infrastructure Investment Program aims to increase the supply of Maine-grown food, meet growing demand, and create and sustain jobs.

The grants will support harvesting, processing, manufacturing, and packaging equipment. Michael Roux, Jr., an 8th generation farmer in Shapleigh, says the grant Roux's Farm received means he can now buy a vat pasteurizer that will allow him to produce more than the raw milk he currently sells.

"It's going to allow me to expand my market, into making pasteurized milk which I can sell in bigger markets throughout the state of Maine," Roux said.

Roux says he plans to make cheese and yogurt and pasteurized milk, and already has businesses lined up to take his products when they become available. With the new equipment Roux says he can work full-time on dairy and no longer need a second job to make ends meet.

Grants of up to 500 thousand dollars were made through Governor Mills' Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan and funded by the federal American Rescue Plan.