A Fall Favorite
The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry is the State’s lead agency dealing with all aspects of the food system from the field to the table. The Department maintains a mission of fostering opportunities for the agriculture community and of promoting stewardship of Maine’s natural resources.
Maine farmers are the stewards of 1.25 million acres. The land provides the public benefits of open space and recreation. They are the cornerstone of food security for Maine people.
The industry has a $1.2 billion impact on the Maine economy.
Welcome to the Division of Agricultural Resource Development
(formally the Division of Market & Production Development)
ARD is responsible for developing and implementing programs and policies to ensure that agricultural businesses remain profitable and sustainable. Our programs focus on business development, market promotion, education and regulation to assure that agricultural practices are economically and environmentally sound.
Market and Production Business Development
ARD provides educational and technical assistance programs for business plan development and support. ARD also provides technical support for market development and promotion, new business development, labor, irrigation, potato and vegetable storage and packing, and foreign trade assistance.
Farm Viability and Farmland Protection
ARD helps farmers and communities plan how to keep working farmland available for farmers and protected from development. We administer the Maine Farms for the Future grant program to help farms increase vitality and profitability. We also provide technical assistance to farmland owners seeking to enroll in the Farmland Property Tax Program, register their farmland, or sell agricultural conservation easements.
Financial Assistance Programs
A number of grant and loan programs are available to help producers adopt new technology, promote products or conduct market research. Each program has it's own eligibility criteria and reporting requirements.
ARD promotes agricultural businesses through the popular "get real. get maine!" promotional program. The website, www.getrealmaine.com features a searchable database of farms which list apples, berries, specialty foods and other farm products, and provides directions and maps to find Maine food and farm producers.
The Division also produces various brochures and wholesale buyers’ guides to promote sales of Maine food and farm products.
Maine’s agricultural fairs showcase the diversity of Maine’s 6000 farms. The Agricultural Trades Show is the annual event for producers in January. Many other special events occur throughout the year.
The Department is the designated agency for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) a federally supported program that provides donated federal commodities to local voluntary feeding programs across Maine. There are over 250 participating programs in the statewide network. The Food Assistance Program works in conjunction with the Community Action Programs of Maine to coordinate the distribution of the donated USDA commodities to the local voluntary feeding programs.
Maine Senior Farmshare Program
Thanks to a grant from the USDA, the Senior FarmShare program provides low-income seniors the chance to receive fresh vegetables and fruits from Maine farmers during the growing season.
Hunters for the Hungry
A cooperative program between Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and The Food Assistance Program, provides a means for hunters to donate all or a portion of their hunt to a local food pantry. This program has been a boon to our citizens providing meat to those who may no longer be able to hunt, to those who have a medical necessity of having natural low fat meat and to others who visit their local emergency feeding organization. Those wishing more information on this program may call toll free 1/888-4DEER-ME.
Animal Health regulations is to prevent the introduction and spread of contagious diseases among poultry and livestock, promote public health and food safety as it relates to zoonotic disease, to enhance the quality and health of livestock, and to maintain fair practices in the buying and selling of poultry and livestock.
Animal Health's objective is disease control through regulation and education. We ensure the health of animals to ensure the public health. We provide technical assistance and law enforcement to control livestock and poultry diseases. Enforcement of permit regulations, prompt diagnosis of disease, surveillance testing programs, a reportable disease list, the accreditation of veterinarians, licensed livestock and poultry dealers and auction sales are key activities. The movement of livestock and pets entering Maine is regulated.
Plant Health is Maine's plant regulatory agency, responsible for protecting the state's plant resources from the introduction and spread of regulated insects and diseases. The Division provides technical information and support to agricultural producers in the state and also issues a number of licenses and permits for individuals to conduct certain business in the state.
The mission of the Division of Quality Assurance and Regulations is to provide marketing assistance and consumer protection for Maine’s agriculture, industry, and citizens. The Division ensures that a safe, high quality food supply is maintained, that weighing and measuring devices used in commerce are correct, and that standards used in law enforcement are properly calibrated and accurate.
The Quality Assurance Program enhances marketing opportunities for Maine companies and producers by ensuring that Agricultural commodities produced in Maine meet or exceed minimum quality standards. This assurance results in increased consumer confidence, fostering an increase in business and profitability.
This program ensures that commercial potato growers (those who plant more then one acre) plant certified seed, reducing disease content and improving the over quality of the Maine potato crop.
The Division of Plant Industry is Maine's plant regulatory agency, responsible for protecting the state's plant resources from the introduction and spread of regulated insects and diseases. The Division provides technical information and support to agricultural producers in the state and also issues a number of licenses and permits for individuals to conduct certain business in the state.