Gov. Mills Signs Sen. Trey Stewart’s Potato Marketing Improvement Fund Bill into Law

Senator Stewart Praises Governor Mills for Signing His Bill into Law

April 8, 2021

(Augusta, ME) – State Senator Trey is praising Governor Mills for signing his bill, LD 204: “An Act To Amend the Law Regarding the Interest Rate for State Loans under the Potato Marketing Improvement Fund” into law.

The bill changes the minimum interest rate at 5% to the prime rate and the maximum administrative costs at no more than 1%.

The Potato Marketing Improvement Fund has awarded 350 loans for the storage and pack sheds. $65 million since it began in 1983. These included $29 million from the program, $23 million from commercial lenders, and an additional $13 million in equity from growers.

The law officially takes effect 90 days after the end of the current legislative session.

Don Flannery from the Maine Potato Board: “The success of this fund has been key to greater stability in the Maine Potato industry and its expansion into year-round sales. It has really been the backbone of the industry.”

Sen. Trey Stewart: “With so many pressures making potato growing harder and more unpredictable year after year, these changes to this program help provide needed stability and a source of much needed capital for growers.  I’m so proud to be able to move this important legislation forward with the bipartisan help of our Aroostook County delegation on the ACF committee and sponsor this bill on behalf of the hard-working people in the potato industry in the County.”

Rep. Joseph Underwood (R-Presque Isle): “I am pleased to Co-Sponsor Sen. Stewart’s bill because it is of great importance to our area. This bill will direct more investment funds toward needed projects and less toward interest costs associated with borrowing.”

Co-Sponsor Rep. Sue Bernard (R-Caribou): “The bill’s bipartisan support and unanimously passage by the committee is proof the potato industry is recognized throughout the State as key to our economic recovery. Moving away from the fixed interest rate on loans for packing and storage projects will save growers money while being fiscally responsible to taxpayers.  Many thanks to Senator Stewart for initiating this important legislation.”

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