Media report on $1M federal grant for farming research

The Portland Press Herald, Bangor Daily News and WABI (Channel 5) reported the University of Maine has been awarded $999,120 to study pioneering farming technology and practices. U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King announced the award in a press release. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded the collaborative research grant to UMaine to help Maine farmers and regional partners meet a growing market demand for organic grains through extensive research on production methods, marketing strategies, food safety practices, socioeconomic conditions, and farm business management, according to the press release. “The University of Maine’s innovative research strengthens our agricultural sector, which is a cornerstone of Maine’s economy, and furthers Maine’s rich farming history,” the senators said in a joint statement. “This grant funding will play a crucial role in supporting Maine’s university system as it works to empower entrepreneurs, increase outreach, upgrade machinery, and preserve Maine’s tradition of small and diversified farms and businesses.” Ellen Mallory, a sustainable agriculture Extension specialist and associate professor in plant, soils, and environmental science at the University of Maine, said the four-year grant will focus on grains such as spelt, barley, rye and oats, for uses ranging from baking and brewing to producing animal feed, the Press Herald reported. UMaine will work with the University of Vermont and industry partners in the region, the release states.