The U.S. Department of Agriculture is giving small businesses in southern and coastal Maine more than a half million dollars to open up new markets, reduce energy costs and cut back on fossil fuel use.
Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree says the grants are Renewable Energy for America Program funds and Value Added Producer Grants that are coming through USDA Rural Development. The grants will go to small businesses in Brunswick, Dresden, Freeport, Newcastle, Sanford and Walpole.
The largest grant is a Value Added Producer Grant that is going to Turtle Rock Farm in Brunswick. Pingee says it will help expand markets for farm products.
Another grant will provide T&D Wood Energy of Sanford with $200,000 to build a wood pellet manufacturing facility.