Aspiring Maine credit union wants to lend exclusively to farms, food producers

6 years ago

Maine Harvest Credit Project said Monday that it has raised the $2.4 million it needs to become chartered as the Pine Tree State’s 56th credit union.

If its charter is approved, the project claims it will become the first credit union in the country to lend only to farmers and food entrepreneurs with the aim of boosting Maine’s agricultural economy.

“Stronger local food systems are critical for improving environmental, community and personal health,” said co-founder Scott Budde, who co-founded Maine Harvest in 2016 with Scott May. “Our credit union work will be a key part of building that stronger system — one that can be replicated in other regions in America.”

Maine Harvest plans to begin staffing by next spring and to hire a specialized loan officer who understands the needs within the agricultural sector. It expects to open as an approved credit union in its headquarters in Unity by June.

“Our research estimates that there is about a $186 million financing gap among Maine farmers and food producers,” said Amanda Beal, president & CEO of Maine Farmland Trust, an organizing group with Maine Harvest. “Bridging that gap will keep farmers on their land, help others scale and grow and generally act as a catalyst for this entire industry.”

To read the rest of “Aspiring Maine credit union wants to lend exclusively to farms, food producers,” an article by contributing Bangor Daily News staff writer Lori Valigra, please follow this link to the BDN online.