Governor Mills announces launch of forest restoration grant program

Governor Janet Mills today announced that the Maine Technology Institute (MTI) is now accept applications for Phase 1 of the Forestry Recovery Initiative, a multi-phase grant program designed to support Maine’s forest products industry and the people it employs, create and maintain jobs in rural Maine and to strengthen the state economy.

The governor announced the creation of a $ 20 million grant program as part of her Maine Jobs and Stimulus plan earlier this month. MTI is offering $ 10 million in Phase 1 and Phase 2 grants to provide immediate financial assistance to companies in the forest products industry that have suffered the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic to help them maintain the viability of their business.

This new Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan builds on the Mills Administration’s commitment to the Maine forest products industry. The administration has awarded $ 9.4 million in Maine economic stimulus grants to support businesses in the forest economy.

“For generations, hard-working men and women across Maine have carved out their livelihoods in our forests. While the products we make from Maine lumber have changed over time, the importance of the industry has not changed ”, Governor Janet Mills said. “Our forest products industry employs tens of thousands of people in well-paying jobs and generates billions of dollars for our economy every year. It’s the lifeblood of our rural communities, and that’s why I want to make sure we preserve these jobs for generations to come. Maintaining these businesses and supporting new and innovative products will open up new markets, diversify this important industry, create jobs and strengthen the rural economy. I encourage all eligible forest products companies in Maine to take advantage of this opportunity.

“The forest industry is not only the key to Maine’s economy, but also supports our rural communities while our working forest lands play an important role in achieving our climate goals,” said Commissioners Amanda Beal and Heather Johnson. “As part of the Maine Jobs and Recovery program, this investment will directly support existing businesses that have been affected by COVID and help drive the development of innovative products and new markets for Maine’s forest assets. “

“These grants will allow the state to support as many timber-related forestry companies as possible and provide the capital needed to stabilize and assist in the recovery of Maine’s $ 8.5 billion forestry economy,” said Brian Whitney, president of the Maine Technology Institute. “The funding will help us move forward and adapt to meet new market demands for the long-term sustainability of this traditional industry. “

Specifically, eligible uses of Phase 1 grant funds may include, but are not limited to:

  • staff costs and expenses;
  • rent or mortgage payments for commercial facilities (unless otherwise agreed by the lessor or lender);
  • utility payments;
  • purchase of personal protective equipment required by the company;
  • business related equipment;
  • investments that strengthen the company’s ability to mitigate market disruptions associated with the pandemic;
  • expenses incurred to replenish stocks or other necessary reopening expenses;
  • necessary operating expenses.

The deadline to apply is January 31, 2022.

Phase 2 will be a competitive grant program aimed at improving market opportunities for timber from Maine, which has suffered severe declines due to market disruptions from the pandemic. The funding will support forward-looking projects that meet new market demands, provide new sustainable products, or advance the long-term stability of the industry, helping to create and maintain jobs in rural Maine and to strengthen Maine’s economy. Phase 2 funds can also be used for infrastructure upgrades that strengthen the supply chain and help companies move to new products and markets.

Phase 2 is expected to launch in early 2022 and the remaining $ 10 million out of a total of $ 20 million will be rolled out in subsequent phases in late 2022 or early 2023.

The design of the Forest Recovery Initiative is the result of community and stakeholder engagement, including meetings with members of the industry to explore the impact of the pandemic and discuss the types of support needed. .

For more information, please visit MTI website.

The Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan is the governor’s plan, approved by the legislature, to invest nearly $ 1 billion in Federal American Rescue Plan funds to achieve three goals: immediate economic recovery from the pandemic; long-term economic growth for Maine; and the revitalization of infrastructure.

It draws heavily on the recommendations of the governor’s economic recovery committee and the state’s 10-year economic development strategy, turning them into concrete actions to improve the lives of Maine residents and strengthen the economy.

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