Focus Industries


Become a renowned producer of high-quality, traceable food.

Potential impact in Maine

New jobs by 2025:

Traded jobs: 2,500–4,200

Indirect jobs: 6,000–10,080

Total jobs: 8,500–14,280

Additional net exports by 2025:

Global trends

  • Agriculture is the world’s largest industry.
  • A growing traceable food movement is creating a rising demand for food products to be locally sourced and responsibly cultivated.
  • Consumers are willing to pay more for foods traced to regions with a strong branding of quality (e.g., Maine lobster, Maine wild blueberries).
  • There is a nascent diversification of supply chains away from the water-scarce American West and Southwest.

Maine's advantages

  • Maine has a low projected water stress (World Resources Institute).
  • There is an increasing value of agricultural products in the state, as well as the potential to build on existing market-leading crops (potatoes, wild blueberries and chicken eggs) and diversity into new crops.
  • The recognition and demand for Maine’s authentic, high-quality, locally produced food is building. Portland has been highlighted as a top food destination by Bon Appetit, Zagat and CNNMoney.
  • Maine has seen a substantial growth in the number of young farmers — the number of farmers aged 34 and younger grew by nearly 40 percent from 2007 to 2012.
  • Maine has seen an increase in 1,326 agricultural jobs from 2007 to 2012, a period during which there was a decline in jobs across almost all other industries.


Become a renowned producer of high-quality, traceable food.

Potential impact in Maine

New jobs by 2025:

Traded jobs: 2,000–6,000

Indirect jobs: 3,800–11,400

Total jobs: 5,800–17,400

Additional net exports by 2025:

Global trends

  • Global commercial fisheries are static or in decline, with some stocks under threat due to overexploitation, pollution, invasive species and climate change.
    • Demand for fish protein is expected to increase by ~25 percent by 2030, due to population growth, rapid economic development in developing countries and healthier diets in developed countries.
    • U.S. fish consumption has risen by 23 percent since 1990, and the U.S. imports almost 90 percent of select fish products, most of which are farm raised.
    • A growing traceable food movement is creating a rising demand for food products to be locally sourced and responsibly cultivated.

Maine's advantages

  • A heritage of high-quality fish production, with a concentration of labor in fish-related industries.
  • A robust coastline (a top five state by miles of shoreline: ~3500) and nutrient-rich, clean and cold waters that could support diverse species.
  • Strong research institutions focused on the marine space.
  • Leading product providers in the aquaculture supply chain.
  • Nascent activity in mollusks and algae, with established production in salmon (No. 1 in U.S.)


Build a world-class biopharmaceutical development and manufacturing environment.

Potential impact in Maine

New jobs by 2025:

Traded jobs: 600–1,700

Indirect jobs: 3,720–10,540

Total jobs: 4,320–12,240

Additional net exports by 2025:

Global trends

  • Manufacturing has been moving closer to idea generation: select industries which garner innovation from production processes are moving/keeping production close to home.
  • There has been 10 percent annual growth in pharmaceutical contract research and manufacturing from 2005 to 2011.
  • Pharmaceutical companies are seeking to be more flexible in R&D and are manufacturing closer to their R&D locations.
  • A third of Massachusetts’ R&D spend in 2012 (about $4 billion) was in pharmaceuticals and medicine, and Massachusetts pharmaceuticals were the largest recipient of venture capital funding from 2010 to 2014.

Maine's advantages

  • Proximity to the strong biopharmaceutical cluster and R&D in Massachusetts.
  • Strong Maine sources of related R&D and production of inputs to R&D (mice production and genomics research at The Jackson Laboratory and IDEXX, and pharmaceutical research at Kennebec River Biosciences).
  • Favorable regulatory environment at the intersection of animal health and biopharmaceuticals.

Signature Industries Crosscutting Enabler Focus: Knowledge Worker

Develop a set of strategies to foster, grow and attract knowledge professionals and entrepreneurs, which could have wide-ranging benefits for the state if Maine could establish a modern knowledge economy.

FocusMaine seeks to accelerate the state’s economy through the growth of the identified traded-sector signature industries, which present the highest potential for growth and employment expansion in Maine.

In April 2015, FocusMaine hired a global consulting company to conduct an in-depth analysis of global trends and market opportunities, Maine’s industrial competitive advantages and weaknesses related to those opportunities, and on-the-ground perspectives from Maine business leaders, economic thought leaders, investors, entrepreneurs and policymakers. This led to the focus on traceable foods, biopharmaceuticals and the knowledge workers enabler.


The signature industries were chosen based on:

High job-creation potential in a traded, high-export sector;

Strong direct and indirect value (e.g., net exports, multiplier effect on suppliers);

Reasonable resources required, including infrastructure and capital requirements;

Attainable policy changes required; and

Reasonable expectations for Maine to compete nationally and internationally.

The selection process included:

A robust research review of Maine’s competitive advantages and disadvantages;

An in-depth analysis of nine global and national trends with the potential for strong job creation;

A competitive and feasibility analysis for each of ten potential focus industries; and

The engagement of 200 stakeholders in Maine.

We plan to coordinate with these sectors to:

Set and measure progress toward bold job growth and export goals over 10 years;

Coordinate and accelerate workforce development and entrepreneurship in the sectors;

Build and fund the execution of comprehensive 10-year sector growth implementation plans; and

Provide professional staff and sector leaders to help drive the plans with sector coordination.