A pile of cut wood on the side of a northern Maine logging road. Credit: Josh Keefe / BDN

More than 200 forest companies in Maine will receive $6 million in grants through a state initiative looking to invigorate one of the state’s oldest industries.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills said Tuesday the grants will be administered by the Maine Technology Institute and will mostly go to companies that have 10 employees or fewer. Most will support rural logging and trucking companies that were hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic, she said.

The grants are expected to reach the companies in April. They are designed to help with expenses such as payroll costs, mortgage and utility payments and equipment, Mills’ office said.

Future phases of the state’s Forest Recovery Initiative are expected to bring the awards up to $20 million, the office said.