An Act To Establish the Maine Food System Investment Program To Create Quality Jobs and Support Farms, Fisheries and Food-related Businesses
Sec. 1. 7 MRSA c. 10-C is enacted to read:
MAINE FOOD SYSTEM INVESTMENT PROGRAM
§ 320-A. Maine Food System Investment Program
(1) Identifying the highest priority areas for capital investments, technical assistance and value chain coordination in the food system;
(2) Recommending where and how private, state and other public investments may be used most effectively to address food production challenges and barriers to food infrastructure and distribution needs;
(3) Recommending how State Government, universities, agriculture, seafood and fisheries industries, food-related businesses, nonprofit organizations and industry groups may collaborate to minimize duplication in efforts and programs and bridge gaps in technical assistance, services, education, research and development;
(4) Informing agriculture, seafood and fisheries industry and food system lenders and investors of the information collected under this paragraph to facilitate the financing of sectors in the food system;
(5) Recommending initiatives that improve regulation, marketing or transportation or distribution systems that enable direct sales of food products from producers to consumers in the State; and
(6) Recommending investments, resources or policies to augment or improve state programs, nonprofit organization or industry efforts in building or maintaining value chain coordination and relationships and communication among producers, food processors, distributors, sellers, stakeholders, interest groups and other interested parties.
The program shall review and periodically update the strategic framework based upon an ongoing inventory of the agriculture, seafood and fisheries, food processing and food system financial investment and lending sectors; the supply chain; and assets and other components of the food system and food system analyses or related studies;
(1) Establish state investment priorities that support the outcomes in subsection 3;
(2) Align state policies, rules and resources with each other to support the outcomes in subsection 3; and
(3) Identify additional initiatives, policies and resources necessary to implement the strategic framework under paragraph A, including staffing, provider contracts, the creation of a fund to accept appropriations, allocations, grants, donations and other funds and implementation of a grant or loan program for producers, food businesses and related industries;
Sec. 2. Report. The Maine Food System Investment Program established in the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 7, section 320-A shall:
1. Upon the completion of the strategic framework in Title 7, section 320-A, subsection 4, paragraph A or within 6 months of the effective date of this Act, whichever comes first, submit a report on the progress and activities of the program to the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry; and
2. Within one year of the effective date of this Act, submit a report on the progress and activities of the program, including providing a copy of the strategic framework and any measurable outcomes or actions deriving from the program and an accounting of any funds appropriated or expended by the program to the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.
Sec. 3. Program to seek additional funds. If upon enactment of this Act at least $100,000 is not made available for the initial implementation of the Maine Food System Investment Program established in the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 7, section 320-A, the program may seek other funds from federal, state, public, private and other sources to fulfill the provisions of this Act.
Sec. 4. Appropriations and allocations. The following appropriations and allocations are made.
AGRICULTURE, CONSERVATION AND FORESTRY, DEPARTMENT OF
Maine Food System Investment Program N306
Initiative: Provides a one-time appropriation in fiscal year 2019-20 of $100,000 to implement the Maine Food System Investment Program.
|GENERAL FUND TOTAL||$100,000||$0|
This bill creates the Maine Food System Investment Program under the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to strengthen the food system, including the agriculture, seafood and fisheries and other food sectors and the supply chain, to increase access to new markets and opportunities for producers, processors, small businesses and consumers in the State in the producing, processing, packaging, distribution, marketing, sale and consumption of food products. The duties of the program are to develop and maintain a 10-year strategic framework to carry out the goals of the program by fostering communication, collaboration and coordination among the various sectors of the supply chain, identify gaps in the supply chain and barriers to food infrastructure and distribution needs and work with community development corporations, financial institutions and other investors and lenders in the food system to direct financial investment to the areas of greatest need in the food system. The program is also authorized to make recommendations regarding rules or legislation to the department and the Legislature that will direct investment or establish policies or priorities in carrying out the goals of the program. The program is required to submit a 6-month and a one-year report to the Legislature subsequent to the implementation of the program and an annual report on the progress of and developments regarding the 10-year strategic framework.