New loan program, tax breaks available for farmers

Published: Jun. 14, 2018 at 8:26 AM EDT
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Maine is launching a new loan program to help dairy farms be viable in the state.

The state agricultural and financial agencies are hosting an informational meeting in Augusta for dairy farms on Thursday.

The new Dairy Improvement Fund will provide revolving loans to fund capital improvements to Maine dairy farms. The program will help farmers who are commercially producing cow milk or cow milk products.

The maximum loan amount is $25,000, and loans can be taken out at a one percent fixed interest rate for a term of up 30 years. Loans can fund up to 90 percent of projects costing $100,000 or less, and up to 75 percent of projects costing over $100,000.

Borrowers much inject at least 25 percent private funds into projects over $100,000.

A Maine town has voted to approve a tax break program for local farmers.

Under the voluntary farming program, up to 3 percent of Monmouth's taxable land could be eligible for a 75 percent tax refund over the next few years. The Portland Press Herald reports the land must be used for farming and owners must commit to preserving it for 20 years.

Monmouth will be the second town in Maine to create a program like this, following Winslow's creation of a similar program in 2016.

Monmouth residents voted on those proposals on Tuesday, when the Town Meeting was held along with primary elections for state and federal candidates. Residents also passed the town budget in the vote.

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