In this issue: 

Commissioner's Letter

Forefront

Business

Upcoming Events

News from USDA

In Every Issue


Commissioner's Letter 

Image of Scott Soares

Dear Friends,

Massachusetts Agriculture Day is always a favorite at the State House and this year’s April 8th event was no exception. With over 50 commodity groups and associations present, it was a striking reminder of the rich diversity of Massachusetts agriculture. Farmers and agriculture supporters met with legislators to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the agricultural industry today. Secretary Ian Bowles of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs was on hand and spoke highly of the inroads the agricultural community has been making on both the alternative energy and land preservation front. Former 4-H member Weston Brown gave a great speech about the positive impact the 4-H organization has had in helping young people discover their potential in agriculture, public speaking, science, community service, and more. It is heartening to know that outstanding young men and women like Weston may one day be the new torch holders of Massachusetts agriculture. Congratulations to all who participated for an outstanding day and a job well done!

Meanwhile April has been a prime example of the often unpredictable forces to which the agricultural community must always adapt. The first week of April brought record rainfall followed by multiple days of warmer than usual temperatures. We’re all watching carefully to see how crops -- especially fruit trees -- may be impacted this growing season as a result of some early blooms. Farmers who have experienced impacts or losses to their land or property due to the heavy rain should contact their county (FSA).

We also received disappointing news from the maple sugaring industry with indications that harvest levels were down by 70-80% this year. The USDA FSA has been compiling maple disaster assessment reports from the Counties of Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden, and Worcester and I expect to know more the outcome the week of April 26th. In the meantime, I’d like to draw your attention to a new emergency preparedness planning tool that has been developed by our Animal Health Division. You’ve likely heard the saying “failing to plan is planning to fail” and although we can’t plan for every emergency, including certainly those brought by Mother Nature, it’s in our best interest to be as well prepared as we can before such unexpected events occur. To that end, we’re hopeful that our new Farm Emergency Preparedness Template that you’ll read about below will be a helpful tool!

The good news for our farmers is that while Mother Nature may be fickle, consumer interest for locally grown is showing no signs of abatement. The good news too is that the word is getting out to wider audiences and to critical acclaim. As mentioned in this report below, over the last few months I have been speaking to business entrepreneurs at Chamber of Commerce engagements throughout the Commonwealth about agriculture’s positive economic trending which includes: shifts in valuation of and focus on specialty crops; food safety; environmental health and sustainable farming “best” practices; alternative energy; public and individual health; and consumer demand. The feedback from these speaking engagements has been very positive and has often included phrases such as “I never knew how much agriculture had an impact in my community.” We look forward to continuing to explore opportunities that may spark new and interesting business endeavors for the agricultural sector. We also continue to forge and strengthen partnerships at the local, state, and federal level to good effect.

To further enhance our promotional initiatives at MDAR, I am excited to let you know about the just-launched Beta version of the newly revamped MassGrown & Fresher website. The new site features a Google mapping system that will help consumers easily find farms, farmers’ markets, nurseries, and agri-tourism destinations. It also features links to upcoming events, fun facts, and more. I hope you’ll take an opportunity to view and provide any comments about the new site which over the next few months we will be working to make the premier gateway that connects consumers to locally grown Massachusetts agricultural products and services.

I hope too you’ll enjoy reading below the many other exciting things going on in the Bay State’s farming community. Happy Growing Season!

Best,

Image of Soares Signature

Scott J. Soares, Commissioner
www.twitter.com/AgCommishSoares

[back to table of contents]


Forefront


Energy News

FY 2010 Ag-Energy Grant Program Awardees

MDAR is pleased to announce twelve (12) awardees from the over thirty (30) responses received for our MDAR Ag-Energy Grant RFR for FY2010 (July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010). The grant funds agricultural energy projects in an effort to improve energy efficiency and to facilitate adoption of alternative clean energy technologies by MA farms in order that farms can become more sustainable and the Commonwealth can maximize the environmental and economic benefits from these technologies. FY2010 awardees, a combination of energy efficiency and renewable energy construction projects, included:

Amesbury – Cider Hill Farm: $30,000 - To fund a photovoltaic system.
Amherst – Simple Gifts Farm: $26,000 - To fund a photovoltaic array.
Ashfield – South Face Farm: $6,256 - To fund a reverse osmosis upgrade.
Granby – Red Fire Farm: $30,000 - To fund a solar array.
Harvard – Carlson Orchards Inc.: $15,000 - To fund a refrigeration upgrade.
Ipswich – Appleton Farms: $29,750 - To fund a solar hot water heater and biomass outdoor wood boiler.
Raynham – Olson’s Greenhouses: $20,000 - To fund a thermal blanket to improve greenhouse energy efficiency.
Sudbury – J.P. Bartlett Company Inc.: $30,000 - For the installation of gas condensing boilers.
Shelburne – Biscuit Hill Farm LLC: $25,000 - For the installation of a photovoltaic system.
West Brookfield – Ragged Hill Orchard: $20,000 - To fund a photovoltaic system.
Westhampton – Mayval Farm: $10,445 - For the installation of a vacuum pump, heat recovery system and in line plate cooler.
Worthington – Justamere Tree Farm: $5,673 - To fund a reverse osmosis upgrade project.

Reminder: The FY2011 Ag-Energy Grant Program is in preparation and will be announced shortly in conjunction with MDAR’s AEEP and FVEP Programs. Please stay tuned to MDAR’s electronic media and website for upcoming announcements.

Massachusetts Farm Energy Program (MFEP):

The MA Farm Energy Program (MFEP) just completed a statewide series of energy workshops in collaboration with MDAR, BPRC&D, USDA NRCS, USDA FSA, USDA RD and MA Woodlands in order to prepare MA farms for this year’s energy incentive programs. Programs overviewed included:

  • The Massachusetts Farm Energy Discount Program of MDAR
  • Electric and gas public utility energy conservation & efficiency programs
  • USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)
  • USDA’s related NRCS and FSA programs
  • The Clean Energy Center, formerly known as Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust (MRET), Initiatives
  • MFEP Technical Assistance and Incentives
  • Energy related regulations such as net metering, SRECs, Federal Section 1603 tax credit to cash option, etc.

Through MFEP’s “AUDITS & INCENTIVES PROGRAM”, the MFEP will make referrals to existing audit and incentive programs, provide “targeted” energy audits and/or renewable energy assessments, and provide financial incentives for implementation of audit recommendations. Higher priority will be given to farmers with less access to other audits and incentives programs. MFEP audits, assessments, and consultations will be paid at 75% with the applicant responsible for the remaining 25%.

USDA’s REAP for this year is anticipated to be announced shortly. Farm preparation, particularly pertaining to an energy audit or assessment, is critical to be ready for the program announcement and the ability to apply. Please visit MFEP’s website at www.berkshirepioneerrcd.org/mfep/energy.php to see how the MA Farm Energy Program can help you.

Reminder: DPU Order Allows Start of Wind and Solar Power "Net Metering" on December 1, 2009

As noted last month, net metering for wind, solar and agricultural energy installations, a provision of the Green Communities Act designed to encourage development of renewable power, took effect last December 1, 2009 under an order adopted by Dept. of Public Utilities (DPU) on Friday, November 13, 2009. The distribution companies required to comply with the net metering order are NGRID, NSTAR, WMECO and Unitil. If you own an existing renewable energy system and are in any of the distribution company service territories, you should have received a net metering application form so you can apply for net metering. If you haven’t received any notice you should contact your distribution company immediately and request to speak to their net metering contact person, and apply as early as possible. Contact Gerry Palano, Energy Coordinator, MDAR, if you have any questions, Gerald.Palano@state.ma.us, 617-626-1706, or visit the Dept. of Public Utilities at www.mass.gov/dpu website for more details.

Reminder: New Solar Carve Out Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) Effective Jan 1, 2010

The new state solar renewable energy credit program is in effect. Created by DOER and the Clean Energy Center, the program provide significantly higher value for associated Renewable Energy Credits, that is, the environmental attribute financial incentives for new solar PV projects, that were installed after Jan1, 2008 and did not receive MRET Commonwealth Solar 1 or significant ARRA funding. If your farm installed a solar PV system that meets these requirements you should contact MA DOER at www.mass.gov.doer’s website for more information on how to enroll and apply.

New Block 2 Clean Energy Center Commonwealth Solar II and Solar Stimulus Programs

The Clean Energy Center’s (CEC) recently announced their April 9, 2010 Block 2 Funding launch (see MDAR’s April 1st E-Blast). This included their Commonwealth Solar Rebate II and Solar Stimulus programs. Solar Rebate II is for PV residential and business projects up to 10 kW while Solar Stimulus is for businesses only and greater than 10 and less than or equal to 200 kW. Solar Rebate II had $1 million available; Solar Stimulus had $4 million. Both programs launched at 11:00 AM on April 9th and by noon the $4 million for Solar Stimulus program was completely assigned!!! As of the publishing of this F&MR, Solar Rebate II funds were still available.

This was the 2nd of two $4 million funding blocks for Solar Stimulus for a total of $8 million now assigned. At this time we are not aware of further Solar Stimulus funds for this year through CEC. Meanwhile this is the 2nd of four $1 Million funding blocks for Solar II Rebate with 2 more $1 million blocks to be announced. Please visit CEC’s website at and find out any other details or email them at cs@masscec.com.
Contact: Gerry Palano, MDAR Renewable Energy Coordinator, Gerald.Palano@state.ma.us, 617-626-1706.

[back to table of contents]


MDAR Launches MassGrown & Fresher Beta Website - "Agri" -Google Mapping
Feature Makes Finding Destinations Easy
 

Image of MassGrown for Farm & Market Report

The new MassGrown & Fresher website is a one-stop gateway that connects consumers to the great diversity of Massachusetts’ agricultural offerings. The site features an "Agri"-Google mapping tool that makes it easy for consumers to find fresh produce, agri-tourism destinations, nursery products, farmers’ markets, and much more with just a click of a mouse.

The new MassGrown & Fresher website is the second phase of MDAR’s initiative to leverage new technologies to promote agriculture in the state. Over the last year, MDAR has refurbished the agency website and has started using social networking tools such as The Great Outdoors blog site and Follow Commissioner Soares on Twitter to bring news about agriculture to larger audiences.

Let us know what you think as we get ready for the official 1.0 Release of the MassGrown & Fresher website in about a month from now. If you have suggestions or would like to be listed, please contact Rick LeBlanc at Richard.LeBlanc@state.ma.us or 617.626.1759.

[back to table of contents]


New Land Preservation Regulations
Facilitate the Protection of Farmland in Massachusetts
 

Many years of collaborative work between the MDAR and agricultural stakeholders have culminated in the announcement of new Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) regulations. The APR program is aimed not only at the preservation of agricultural resources but of farming as an economically viable career opportunity. The new regulations clearly provide for a standardized and transparent application process as well as offering clear guidance to farmers on how their APR farms can participate in and contribute to a green energy future made possible by the Green Communities Act.

“These regulations are welcome news,” said Cris Coffin, New England Director for American Farmland Trust. “Farmers need to trust the APR Program—to know what the rules are and how they will be applied—to be comfortable enrolling their land in it. These new rules should increase that comfort level considerably, which we anticipate will lead to more participation in the APR program and more farmland protected.”

The new regulations spell out the process through which APR owners can implement all varieties of farm improvements including installation of contemporary energy generation technologies that are made a part of the agricultural business. These technologies include wind turbines, anaerobic digesters, biomass, and more which equip Massachusetts farmers with on-farm energy alternatives. Under the agricultural net-metering section of the Green Communities Act, excess energy that is above the energy needs of the farm’s enterprise can diversify the revenue sources of the Commonwealth’s producing farms.

In 2009, the MDAR’s land use staff reached a watermark high to close a record 33 projects. This brings the total permanently protected farmland to 64,000 acres. For more information about the APR program and to get a copy of the Program’s regulations, visit www.mass.gov/agr/landuse.htm on MDAR’s website. An official copy of the regulations is located at the office of Secretary William Francis Galvin of the Commonwealth’s office.

[back to table of contents]


MDAR Announces New Farm Emergency Preparedness Template Available Now for 
Download on its Website
 

An emergency can strike your farm at any time. It is important to be prepared with a plan of action should the need arise. Part of that plan should include information to assist emergency responders and others if called upon should a disaster such as a fire, flood, or disease outbreak occur. Your farm may present unique challenges in an emergency situation. Ensuring that public safety officials and emergency response planners in your community are aware of your specific needs will serve to reduce the impact of an emergency on you and your property.

MDAR’s Animal Health Division has created a guide and easy-to-use emergency plan template which can be downloaded at Farm Emergency Plan

For more information, contact Leslee Colucci at leslee.colucci@state.ma.us or 617-921-9507. Or, you can contact Megan Megrath at megan.megrath@state.ma.us or 617-626-1798.

[back to table of contents]


Savor Massachusetts Update 

Savor Mass Logo "One taste at a time"

Promote your farm events to a new audience!

The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT) has begun a new email marketing campaign. Each month MOTT will send out targeted emails to thousands of visitors who are interested in visiting Massachusetts farms. If you have an event taking place between June 1 and October 31 that you would like included in their marketing campaign, please send a 1-2 sentence description of the event including the date, time, cost if any, and a website where more information can be found. Email the information to julia.grimaldi@state.ma.us by May 12, 2010.

[back to table of contents]


2010 Massachusetts Fairs Brochure - Now Available! 

2010 Fair Brochure

May marks the opening of the Massachusetts fair season in the Commonwealth. Whether you are visiting your local agricultural destinations or simply looking for a good time to enjoy memories with community, family and friends, do not forget to mark your calendars for this years' Massachusetts Agricultural Fairs! With over 40 fairs in the Commonwealth, Massachusetts farmers are bringing their best and brightest to their local fairs to promote and showcase what Massachusetts agriculture is all about.

If you would like a copy of the 2010 Fairs Brochure or more information on Massachusetts Agricultural Fairs, please contact Ellen Hart at 617-626-1742 or email: ellen.hart@state.ma.us.

[back to table of contents]


Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) Outreach Efforts Reach
Worcester Science Fair
 

Zuran Samonte ALB Outreach Efforts Reach Worcester Science Fair

Zuran Samonte was interested in doing a project about Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) for his school’s science fair in Worcester and contacted MDAR’s Crops & Pest Services Division for information. Asian Longhorned Beetle is an invasive pest of hardwood trees, including maple, birch and elm. The spread of this pest would cause serious negative impacts to the maple sugaring, nursery, tourism and forest product industries, as well as to our state's forest, park and street trees.

Congratulations to Zuran and his team; they placed 4th in the “Data Analysis” category! Here is the text of the letter he sent to Jennifer Forman-Orth, MDAR’s state survey coordinator:

Dear Ms. Forman-Orth,

My project won fourth place in the Data Analysis category in the City-Wide Science Fair. I got an award and me and my parents are very proud. My group mates weren't there though because they had something to do and they couldn't attend. I just want to thank you again for all the help you gave me on this project. You were a huge help. Me and my dad are actually looking for volunteering opportunities for the tree surveys.

Thank you again for helping me with my project.

Zuran Samonte

[back to table of contents]


Business


Chamber of Commerce Speaking Series Good Venue to Tout Agriculture's Positive
Impact on the Commonwealth's Economy

Economic growth for Massachusetts agriculture is making a significant contribution to the Commonwealth’s local and regional economies. How? As a business sector, agriculture has become more diversified and certainly more innovative as farmers respond to and leverage market demands and consumer values. Examples include award-winning wines, delectable artisan cheeses, and new products forged by non-typical partnerships such as Island Creek Oysters and Harpoon Beer to create an ‘Oyster Stout.’ Massachusetts is also leading the pack both in New England and nationally for agri-tourism growth. Pick-your-own farms, trail hikes, hayrides, corn mazes, maple syrup making, and more are attracting locals and visitors from far and wide.

Chamber of Commerce Speaking Series Good Venue to Tout Agriculture Positive Impact on the Commonwealth Economy

Over the last few months, Commissioner Soares has been speaking at Chamber of Commerce business forums across the state as part of a new initiative to inform business groups about agricultural entrepreneurial opportunities. The goal is to engage businesses by promoting partnerships with the agricultural community. From Greenfield to Cape Cod to Newburyport and all points between the business community has been sharing positive viewpoints. Melissa Farrell, VP of Business Development at the Community Bank of Cape Cod said, “The presentation was outstanding. I look forward to meeting and discussing with Commissioner Soares how our bank can partner with various agricultural business projects presented.”

For more information about these forums, contact Jack Kowalski at 617.626.1738 or Jack.Kowalski@state.ma.us. [Pics]

[back to table of contents]


Open Application Period and Information Meetings for
MDAR Grants Including
New Program for Beginning Farmers
 

Over the next couple of months, MDAR will be accepting applications from farmers who wish to participate in Department programs in Fiscal Year 2011. Interested farm operators are encouraged to review these options on the web pages of the Department www.mass.gov/agr/programs or by attending one of upcoming MDAR Grant Workshops announced below.

Farm Viability Enhancement Program

This popular business planning and technical assistance program provides management advice and grants of up to $75,000 to implement farm growth and sustainability strategies. Farm operators not only receive upfront cash awards for signing a 5 or 10 year Agricultural Covenant, but also receive valuable consultations and visits from a team of experts to discuss farm production and management, marketing, and business planning. Typical uses of funds from the Farm Viability Program include building or repairing farm structures, modernizing field equipment, purchasing delivery vehicles and tractors, improving marketing structures or food processing capacity, and establishing a farm website.

Applications and program information are available by clicking on this link AGR- FVEP-11-18 doc format of AGR-FVEP11-18.doc
, or on line at the Agricultural Resources web site Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources , or you can request a copy of the application by calling the Farm Viability Program at 617-626-1723. The deadline for submitting applications is Thursday June 24, 2010.

APR Improvement Program

The purpose of the APR Improvement Program (AIP) is to help sustain active commercial farming on land protected by the Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program. AIP provides technical assistance and business planning to improve farm productivity with the goal of enhancing the significance of APR farm operations and their contribution to the state’s agricultural industry. The program assists with issues of economic viability, environmental sustainability, resource conservation, ownership control, modernization of infrastructure and other issues that may enhance the long term continued use of the agricultural resource. The AIP uses a process of providing services to participant farms including technical assistance, business planning, and access to capital.

Eligibility requirements include: an applicant must own APR land (or co apply with the owner) that they have been actively farming for at least the last three years; Current owners who are the original owners of the APR are eligible if their APR was closed or recorded on or before December 31, 1999; Successors in title to the original APR owner are eligible if successors have owned the APR since December 31, 2004 or before.

The current Request for Response with application is available by clicking here RFR# AGR-AIP11-2 doc format of RFR_AIP11-02.doc
or by calling the APR Improvement Program at 413-268-8269. Responses must be received by June 30, 2010.

New - Grant Program for Beginning Farmers in MA

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) is pleased to announce an open application period for a pilot program aimed at providing farm viability funding to new and beginning farmers. The purpose of the Matching Enterprise Grants for Agriculture (MEGA) Program is to help with business expansion on new and beginning farms. MEGA will provide technical assistance and business planning help, and then provide funds for farm improvement strategies. Funding provided from this Program will be made available on a one to one matching grant basis and the maximum award shall be $10,000.

It is the objective of MEGA to assist farmers whose goal is to raise agricultural products and who aspire to develop their farms into commercially viable operations. Priority will be given to new and beginning farm enterprises that have operated commercially as a new or beginning farm for 1 to 5 years, have knowledge or have direct experience in agriculture, and have a potential to expand productivity or commercial significance with the infusion of additional technical support and capital.

MEGA applications and program information are available by clicking on this link AGR- MEGA-1, or on line at the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources website Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources , or you can request a copy of the application by calling 617-626-1723. The deadline for submitting applications is June 15, 2010.

Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program

Applications for the Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program (AEEP) will be available shortly. Please follow this link for updates: http://www.mass.gov/agr/programs/aeep/index.htm or contact Laura Maul at 617-626-1739.

Agricultural Energy Grant Program

Applications for the Agricultural Energy Grant Program will be available shortly. Please follow this link for updates: http://www.mass.gov/agr/programs/energy/index.htm or contact Gerry Palano at 617-626-1706.

Meeting to Provide Information on MDAR Grant Programs

Please come join key staff and program coordinators from the MA Department of Agricultural Resources as they provide information on these Department programs.

  • Farm Viability Enhancement Program
  • APR Improvement Program
  • Matching Enterprise Grants for Agriculture
  • Agricultural Environmental Enhancement program
  • Agricultural Energy Grant Program

Applications will be available.

Wednesday May 5, 2010, 6:00 PM DAR Amherst Office
101 University Drive, Suite C4, Amherst
Directions

Wednesday May 12, 2010, 6:00 PM Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC),
Weiss Conference Center, Room 102, 75 NorthDrive, Westborough, MA 01581.

If you can’t attend but still want to learn more about these programs, visit the http://www.mass.gov/agr/programs/index.htm

[back to table of contents]


Agri-Tourism As a Way to Diversify Your Farm Business 

Agri-tourism presents great opportunities for farmers interested in expanding their business model. According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Agricultural Census, the value of agri-tourism activities, although reported for only 2% of the Commonwealth’s farms, increased from just under $665,000 in 2002 to over $5.6 million in 2007; that’s an 800% increase in just 5 years! Such activities can include fruit and berry “pick your own”, educational activities at farm stands, as well as farm tours to name a few.

But before you get started, there are a few things to consider. For instance, if you will be offering horse-drawn hay rides, pony rides, trail rides or horseback riding lessons, you’ll need a license issued by MDAR’s Animal Health Division. Contact Sandy Pepe at 617.626.1797 or Sandy.Pepe@state.ma.us for more information about equine licensing.

You might also consider networking with other businesses through your local area Chamber of Commerce to identify potential cross-business opportunities.

If you are interested in being listed as an agri-tourism destination, MDAR’s new MassGrown & Fresher website will make it easy for consumers to find you through its new Agri-Google map application. Simply type in an address and find agri-tourism farms within a stipulated radius. To get listed, or for more information, contact Rick LeBlanc at Richard.LeBlanc@state.ma.us or 617.226.1759.

[back to table of contents]


Specialty Crop Block Grant Program for 2010 - May 10th Deadline 

Through the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) is soliciting grant proposals for projects that specifically address the goals the United States Department of Agriculture has for solely enhancing the competiveness of Specialty Crops. Specialty crops are defined by the USDA as fruits and vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, horticulture (including maple syrup and honey), nursery crops (including floriculture). The USDA is the final approval and funding entity for the Specialty Crop Grant Program. Although, MDAR will make the initial review and award recommendations to the USDA, the USDA will make the final decision concerning grant awards. Grants awards are intended to be made in amounts up to $100,000.00. The deadline for grant proposals is May 10, 2010.

If you have any questions, please email Mr. Daniel Rhodes at daniel.rhodes@state.ma.us.

[back to table of contents]


Farm Foundations NFP Small Grants Program Seeking Proposals 

The Farm Foundation is seeking proposals for small grants that stimulate new ideas and build networks of resources. The grants should address one of the Foundation’s six program areas:

  • Agriculture in the Environment
  • Energy and Agriculture
  • Food, Agricultural and Trade Policy
  • Agricultural and Food System Productivity, Research and Technology
  • Food Quality, Safety and Consumer Perceptions
  • Viability of Rural Regions

Farm Foundation's Small Grants Program has been reduced to only ONE round of grant applications for the Foundation's FY2011 (May 1, 2010 through April 30, 2011). The deadline for applications is April 30, 2010. Responses will be issued by June 15. There is an interactive application form on their website.

[back to table of contents]


Farmers' Markets Seeking Vendors 

Many farmers’ markets are seeking additional vendors for the upcoming season. Opportunities exist at new and existing markets for all types of market vendors. Contact the market managers for more detailed information about each market. For general information on selling at Massachusetts farmers’ markets, contact David Webber at 617-626-1754 or David.Webber@state.ma.us.

Click here for new and existing markets seeking vendors pdf format of farmers-markets-seeking-vendors.pdf
.

MDAR's Farmers' Market Resources for Farmers page: Farmers' Market Resources for Farmers

MassDot's Farmer's Market Program Begins

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s Farmers' Market Program will begin on Friday, May 21, 2010, and invites local Massachusetts farmers

 to take advantage of free space at our 18 Service Plazas along various Massachusetts highways to sell their home-grown produce and made-in-Massachusetts products.

Complimentary vending space is made available on a first-come, first-served basis at the following locations: (Please note that 7 new service area locations are available this year) I-90 (Mass Turnpike) located in Lee, Blandford, Ludlow, Charlton, Westborough, Framingham and Natick. Rte. 128/I-95 locations in Newton, Lexington and Beverly. Details here pdf format of dot-2010.pdf
.

[back to table of contents]


Upcoming Events


Low-Cost Rabies Vaccination Clinics Continue Throughout Spring

MDAR, in partnership with the Massachusetts Animal Coalition, is coordinating rabies vaccination clinics in communities across the Commonwealth. Most clinics take place this spring. For more information about a clinic near you, go to: Spring Rabies Clinics .

MDAR’s Division of Animal Health started a program in 2000 to raise awareness of rabies and increase compliance with state vaccination laws. Under Massachusetts state law, all cats, dogs and ferrets living in Massachusetts are required to be vaccinated against rabies. Pet owners can choose from clinic locations across the Commonwealth. Vaccination costs vary, but all clinics strive to be affordable.

Rabies is an infectious and contagious disease that can be transmitted to humans through the saliva of an infected animal. Transmission usually occurs through a bite or scratch from the infected animal. The virus is considered to be 100 percent fatal if untreated. To protect animal and public health, any pet owner who suspects that their pet may have been exposed to rabies should contact their veterinarian immediately.

For more information, contact Patricia Cabral at 617.626.1786 or Patricia.Cabral@state.ma.us.

[back to table of contents]


Farmers' Market Coupon Program Training for
Growers and Market Managers
 

Three training sessions will be held for the Farmers’ Market Coupon Program at the following times and locations below. Trainings are required for all growers and market managers new to the program this season. Coupons cannot be accepted or redeemed prior to training and signing an agreement. If you are unable to attend any of these sessions and would like to begin accepting coupons at your farmers’ market please contact Lisa Damon at (617) 626-1731 to make other arrangements. Growers and market managers returning to the coupon program do not need to attend a training session. Recertification for returning growers and managers is conducted through the mail.

Upcoming trainings for new growers and market managers will be held:

Date: Times Location

  • Thursday, April 22nd, 2010 3:00 pm & 4:00pm UMASS Experiment Station, 240 Beaver Street, Waltham, MA
  • Thursday, April 29th, 2010 4:00 pm & 5:00 pm UMASS Cranberry Station Library, 1 State Bog Rd, East Wareham, MA
  • Wednesday, May 5th, 2010 3:30pm & 4:30 pm MDAR Amherst Office, Suite C4, 3rd floor, 101 University Drive, Amherst, MA

RSVP required. To sign up and attend one of these trainings please contact Lisa Damon at MDAR, (617) 626-1731 or Lisa.Damon@state.ma.us

[back to table of contents]


MA Farm to School - "Shoptalk Time" 

Mass. Farm to School Project - Join Us For "Shoptalk" Time! 9:30 - 2:45pm, LaCava Center, Bentley College, Waltham, MA
College and School Food Service Directors will gather to:

  • hear successful buyers and distributors talk about how they work together to get local foods;
  • get an update on new Mass. legislation that will impact public colleges and school districts;
  • discuss the idea of contract farming or "CSA's" for school customers;
  • hear from local dairy farmers about their products for colleges and about the "Keep Local Farms" project;
  • explore a new phenomenon: farm and school garden collaborations;
  • showcase local foods "best practices" at several universities.

Registration is required. Registration Form pdf format of registration_form_4_27.pdf

[back to table of contents]


Massachusetts Envirothon on May 13th 

Massachusetts Envirothon, Otter River State Forest in Baldwinville, MA

Some 250 Bay State high school students from more than 40 public and private schools and youth organizations across the commonwealth will demonstrate their environmental knowledge when they compete in the 23rd annual Massachusetts Envirothon on Thursday, May 13th at Otter River State Forest in Baldwinville, MA.

The 2010 Current Issue is “Groundwater Protection,” which teams are researching now in their own community. Through their research, students will develop an understanding of the importance of urban and environmental planning to protect groundwater as a sustainable resource in terms of quantity and quality. Teams will identify plans and actions that have been adopted and implemented by their community, and recommend groundwater protection opportunities they believe their communities should pursue. Details at: www.maenvirothon.org.


News From USDA


Massachusetts FSA Receives ECP Allocation 

Massachusetts State Executive Director Richard Burke announced that the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Massachusetts has applied for and received an initial allocation of funding to provide monetary assistance to producers under the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) for the repair, restoration and cleanup of areas affected by the heavy rains and resulting flooding from March 13–30, 2010.

Cost share assistance for eligible damage may be available for repairing conservation structures on cranberry bogs and farmland, along with repairs to farmland that was severely damaged by the heavy rains and resulting flooding.

Agricultural producers who suffered damage to their farmland from the heavy rains and flooding should contact their local FSA Office immediately to see if they qualify for assistance. The counties approved for assistance in Massachusetts are: Bristol, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth and Worcester. A signup deadline of May 21, 2010 has been set for agricultural producers to apply for ECP assistance.

[back to table of contents]


Organic Production 

The USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service is accepting nominations for upcoming vacancies on the National Organic Program Board. USDA seeks nominations to fill five upcoming vacancies including organic producer (two positions) consumer public interest (two positions) and a certifying agent. Appointed individuals will serve a five year term. If you are have questions or are interested in applying contact Ms. Katherine E. Benham, (202) 205–7806; katherine.benham@usda.gov.

New data on organic farming: Organic farming has been one of the fastest growing segments of U.S. agriculture for over a decade and all 50 States in the U.S. have some certified organic farmland. ERS collected data from USDA-accredited State and private certification groups to calculate the extent of certified organic farmland acreage and livestock in the United States. Data are presented at both the national and State levels for over 40 commodities. Data updated in March 2010 include the number of certified operations, as well as certified acreage and livestock, by State and by commodity, for 2006-08.
www.ers.usda.gov/Data/Organic/

[back to table of contents]


In Every Issue

Classified Ads 

  • Free Compost for anyone, particularly farmers who grow food: Brick Ends Farm, S. Hamilton, 978-468-2733, cell 978-979-0979.
  • Wool Available- Local grown sheep wool available in Agawam. Call Cindy for details: 413-786-7717
  • Certified Organic Dairy Farm For Sale - Barre, VT area. 150 acres. Two modern electric windmills. Gorgeous fields. Not mountain but rather level to rolling. Beautiful. www.loopnet.com/Listing/16626901/437-Lambert-Rd-Washington-VT/
  • Roslindale Farmers' Market seeking market manager for 2010. To apply, please send cover letter and resume by April 25 to: director@roslindale.net OR Jody Burr, Executive Director, Roslindale Village Main Street, 2A Corinth Street, Roslindale MA 02131
  • Hay, 600lbs. and $30each, Lunenburg, Paul Harris, 978-534-0484.
  • For farmers markets and farm stand displays, new wooden bushel Apple Boxes/Tomato Flats/StrawBerry Trays/Custom Wooden Boxes. Local made onsite in Greenfield NH. Made out of white pine that is sawn on site. All joints are stapled and glued so very sturdy and light. Starting around $7-$8 a box.Quantity discounts. 603-554-6921 or www.greenfieldapplebox.yolasite.com

How to Place a Classified Ad

Classified ads are accepted free-of charge on a first-come basis. Be sure to include a phone number. No display ads will be accepted. Only one ad per business/individual per issue, unless space permits. Ads may run in consecutive issues, space permitting. Ads must be of interest to Massachusetts farmers. The Massachusetts Dept. of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) reserves the right to refuse any listing it deems inappropriate for publication. E-mail, fax or mail ads to: Farm & Market Report, MDAR, 251 Causeway Street, Suite 500, Boston, MA 02114, fax: 617-626-1850, Richard.LeBlanc@state.ma.us.

[back to contents]


Calendar 

  • April 14: USDA Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Training Program - 1:00pm to 5:30pm, UMass South Deerfield Research Farm, River Road, So Deerfield, MA. Sponsored by: UMass Extension, UMass Dept. of Nutrition and the MDAR. Please contact Shirley at 413-545-4420 or email at mietlicki@umext.umass.edu
  • April 17: Cape Cod Horticultural Conference, Barnstable High Performing Arts Center, Hyannis, 8 - 4pm. Questions? Call 508-375-6690 or visit www.capecodextension.org.
  • April 27: Mass. Farm to School Project - Join Us For "Shoptalk" Time! 9:30 - 2:45pm, LaCava Center, Bentley College, Waltham, MA
  • May 13: Massachusetts Envirothon, Otter River State Forest in Baldwinville, MA. www.maenvirothon.org
  • May 19th: A Vintner's Harvest, Great Food! Great Fun! Great Wine! Bring a friend and enjoy the Eastern States Exposition Foundation's annual fundraiser in the historic New England Grange Building on the grounds of Eastern States Exposition, W. Springfield.

*** If you have events you would like listed to our Ag industry calendar webpage, www.mass.gov/agr/events/coming_up, or
Consumer events at: www.mass.gov/agr/events, email Rick LeBlanc at richard.leblanc@state.ma.us.

[back to contents]


About the Farm & Market Report 

Published bi-monthly by:

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, Governor
Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, Ian Bowles, Secretary
Department of Agricultural Resources, Scott J. Soares, Commissioner

Boston Office:
251 Causeway St., Suite 500,
Boston, MA 02114
617-626-1700, Fax: 617-626-1850
Amherst Satellite Office:
101 University Drive, Suite C4
Amherst, MA 01002
413-548-1900, Fax: 413-548-1901
Division Directors

Next issue to be published for June / July. Please send news, calendar and/or classified information by May 28th to Richard.LeBlanc@state.ma.us, or fax to 617-626-1850. To unsubscribe or change your address, send an e-mail message to Richard.LeBlanc@state.ma.us or call 617-626-1759.