In this issue: 

Commissioner's Column - Scott J. Soares
Special Guest Column - Kipton Kumler

Forefront

BusinessUpcoming EventsNews From USDA

In Every Issue


Commissioner's Column

Dear Friends,

On the first of every month our MDAR website features the agriculture photo winner. For April, you'll find on our Homepage a beautiful fruit tree blossom complemented by an inquisitive honey bee. Mother Nature had of course other plans in store and not for the first time her April Fool’s joke was a Bay State blanket of snow. Fortunately, the frosty folly was short lived and soon the time will be right to move the greenhouse starts out to their fields and the livestock onto their pastures.

Speaking of calendar winners, if you’d like to participate in our 2011 photo contest, we are looking for your entries depicting the broad diversity of our agricultural community.

Always much anticipated, Massachusetts Agriculture Day is Thursday, April 7th. This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase our rich agricultural diversity in the Commonwealth. As it is billed, Agriculture Day is also the premier annual event for members from every aspect of our agricultural community to meet with legislators so that they can discuss matters of importance to our Commonwealth’s agricultural interests. Importantly, statistical trends are showing that there is a great deal to discuss as agriculture continues to have a positive impact on the health of our economy, our communities and our community members. And as many of us are seeing of late, agriculture knows no borders; it is contributing to our green energy future, providing employment opportunities and supporting working landscapes across Massachusetts. It also spans urban garden rooftops to the working landscapes across the state. All have a place and are an important source of fresh, local food.

Promoting and gaining greater access to local agricultural products remains a key initiative of the Department. In fact, we have just announced funding opportunities in partnership with the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) for equipment and program support to help farmers’ markets process payments by low-income residents who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. To that end, the partnership established last year with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, Wholesome Wave, the Federation of Massachusetts Farmers Markets and our sister agency DTA has again yielded benefits to farmers and community members alike through and infusion of additional resources that will further “the cause”. Click here for more.

And then there is the much anticipated Public Market in Boston which when completed, will provide city residents and visitors thousands of square feet of access to a wide array of locally grown and produced products. Shortly, we will be reviewing the results of the study by the Project for Public Spaces (PPS) that has been tasked with a proposal of the governing structure and daily operational structure of this future market. The results of this study will be available soon after which we will launch a formal search to establish the appropriate management structure and build-out of the market. You can follow the latest updates at www.mass.gov/publicmarket.

To close this letter, I would like to join so many others who have extended sympathy to the victims in Japan who have suffered as a result of the recent devastating earthquake and its aftermath. Amongst the many challenges Japan now faces, the fate of agricultural lands in affected areas is but one. Unfortunately disaster can strike anywhere at any time. In terms of emergency preparedness and response, Japan’s current challenges could not make clearer the vital importance of the responsibilities of state agencies and other emergency response teams to remain proactively vigilant to safeguard the continuation of Massachusetts’ food system. In addition to the emergency response plans that the Department has developed to aid in the mitigation of losses and hasten recovery efforts, I urge each of you to review your own emergency response plans as a way to enhance your preparedness; as the saying goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail”. Our MDAR website offers a farm emergency plan template to help guide you through the process.

It’s about balance! This letter highlights the exciting. It also highlights a necessary circumspection. Here’s looking forward to this growing season with both in mind. Happy Spring!

Best,

Scott J. Soares, Commissioner
https://twitter.com/mdarcommish 

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Special Guest Column

One of the best kept secrets in Massachusetts is its fledgling wine growing industry. Four years ago there were nineteen wineries in the commonwealth; today more than forty are federally licensed here.

Growing wine grapes and making wine is the fastest growing agricultural commodity in Massachusetts. Indeed, one can make the argument that wine grapes have some important differences from other agricultural products and, intrinsically, are not commodities. After all, prices per ton of wine grapes can range from the low $100's for native american grapes to over $8000/ton for the ultra-premium Stagecoach Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. The industry here in Massachusetts is characterized by its diversity: from hybrid to vinifera grapes to marvelous ciders, from small boutique operations to destination wineries such as Truro and Nashoba.

The Farm Act of 1978 encouraged farmers to consider wine-growing because of its inherent profitability as a vertically integrated activity (growing grapes, making wine) and made farm wineries an exception to the Three-Tier Distribution system, allowing farm wineries to sell and distribute their own products directly to consumers, stores and restaurants. The most recent development has been the liberalization of legal statutes to permit farm wineries to offer for tasting and to sell bottles of wine for consumption off-premise at farmers' markets. This is a very recent development but, with a month of weekend experiences at the Somerville Winter Market and The Mass Winery Day at the Wayland Winter Market (Russells Garden Center), it appears that the inclusion of farm wineries in these markets is boosting attendance and generating a great deal of excitement. The participating wineries are doing a brisk business and one can begin to see that farmers' markets may be a key component in the newer, smaller farm wineries' business model.

Within even this short period of time, the grassroots support for offering wines from farm wineries at farmers markets has been astonishing. It should also be noted that this recent expansion of market opportunities for farm wineries could not have happened without the support and tutlelage of MDAR and Commissioner Soares. The farm wineries all over the commonwealth are grateful. For more information, go to masswinery.com or contact Kim Lafleur, Executive director at 508-737-8110.

Kipton Kumler
Chairman
Massachusetts Farm Wineries & Growers Association

Kip Kumler was born in Ohio and grew up in Texas. He received undergraduate and graduate degrees in electrical engineering from Cornell University and an MBA from Harvard University. Following service in the U.S. Navy and over twenty years in the technology and industrial sectors, in 1999, Mr. Kumler founded the Turtle Creek Winery with the goal of producing world-class wines on a small scale in Lincoln, MA.

Kip and his wife Kally have been married forty one years and have three daughters and a son. They have lived in Lincoln since 1984.He is the Chairman of the Massachusetts Farm Wineries & Growers Association and serves on the board of WineAmerica.

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FOREFRONT


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MDAR Announces Open Application Period for Grant Programs

Over the next couple of months, MDAR will be accepting applications from farmers who wish to participate in Department programs in Fiscal Year 2012. Interested farm operators are encouraged to review these options on the web pages of the Department found at www.mass.gov/agr/programs

Farm Viability Enhancement Program

This popular business planning and technical assistance program provides management advice and grants from $25,000 up to $75,000 to implement farm growth and sustainability strategies. Farm operators not only receive up front 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, and improving retail marketing structures or food processing capacity.

Applications and program information are available by clicking on this link AGR- FVEP-12-19, or on line at the Agricultural Resources website 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 23, 2011.

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. The current Request for Response with application is available by clicking here RFR# AGR-AIP12-3 or online at the Agricultural Resources website by calling the APR Improvement Program at 413-268-8269. Responses must be received by June 23, 2011.

MEGA - Grant Program For Beginning Farmers in MA

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-2, or on line at the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources website, or you can request a copy of the application by calling 413-559-0949. The deadline for submitting applications is June 23, 2011.

AEEP

The purpose of AEEP is to support the mitigation and/ or prevention of negative impacts to the Commonwealth’s natural resources that may result from agricultural practices. By providing reimbursement directly to agricultural operations that implement eligible projects that prevent, reduce or eliminate environmental impacts, the program achieves its purpose and goals of minimizing environmental impacts from these operations for the benefit of the public.

AEEP is a competitive, reimbursement grant program that funds the acquisition of materials only. Labor costs and the rental of equipment are among the costs not eligible for reimbursement.

Practices funded include those that prevent direct impacts on water quality, ensure efficient use of water, and address agricultural impacts on air quality. All projects where the primary focus is renewable energy or energy conservation would need to apply to the Massachusetts Ag-Energy Grant Program.

Reimbursement will be awarded on a competitive basis depending on need. Persons submitting successful proposals will be required to sign a contract with Agricultural Resources. All projects must be completed by June 30, 2012, subject to Department funding sources. Satisfactory receipts for costs of approved materials must be submitted to Agricultural Resources.

Links for AEEP grant applications will be available soon on MDAR’s website.

Ag-Energy Grant

The purpose of the MDAR’s Ag-Energy Grant is to assist agricultural operations in an effort to improve energy efficiency and to facilitate adoption of alternative clean energy technologies in order that they can become more sustainable and the Commonwealth can maximize the environmental and economic benefits from these technologies. Reimbursement grants will be awarded on a competitive basis. All projects must be completed by June 30, 2012.

As noted last year, MDAR is soliciting proposals for both the Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program (AEEP) and Ag-Energy Program during the same timeframe. Projects with a primary focus to improve air and water quality and to conserve water need to apply to AEEP. See the AEEP for respective program’s details. All energy efficiency and renewable energy projects need to apply to Ag-Energy. Applicants CANNOT apply to and receive funding from both programs (AEEP and Ag-Energy) for the same project but must select the appropriate program based on the RFR information provided for each program.

Though all farm related energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that meet Ag-Energy Program requirements will be considered, higher priority project proposals should focus on either of two (2) specified categories and respective technologies listed:

Energy Efficiency:

Dairy - Plate/Coolers, Heat Recovery and VSD Vacuum Pumps
Greenhouse/Nurseries - Thermal blankets, roof venting modifications to eliminate mechanical ventilation needs, efficient heating distribution modifications – e.g. bench/soil in combination with staged control, electronic controls
Higher Efficiency Advanced Low Emissions Indoor Furnaces or Boilers - Condensing type, central or unit heater utilizing conventional fuels, maple sap evaporator wood furnaces
Other Technologies - High efficiency refrigeration, optimally with heat recovery, Reverse Osmosis equipment for maple sugaring operations, process heat recovery, energy efficient Technologies advancing urban food gardens

Renewable Energy: All Sectors

  • Photovoltaics
  • Wind
  • Solar Thermal
  • Geothermal
  • Bio-fuel crops for those shown to be grown on marginal soils or used in crop rotation
  • Bio-fuel Production provided demonstration of all federal, state and local process permits and approvals are identified and will be provided as part of the project installation, including but not limited to product pre- and post- storage, hazardous materials, and process effluents
  • High Efficiency Advanced Gasification Biomass thermal boilers or furnaces intended for indoor use only, utilizing wood pellets, wood chips or kernel corn, meeting all current federal, state and/or local construction, emission and efficiency standards, and regulations and certified for MA installation
  • Advanced biomass (gasification) Outdoor Wood Boilers (OWB), meeting all current federal, state and/or local construction, emission and efficiency standards, and regulations Requirements that must be met include a demonstration that the OWB system shall:
  • Renewable Technologies advancing urban food gardens

Links for Ag-Energy Grant applications will be available soon on MDAR’s website.

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Energy News

MA Effort to Promote Organic Composting & Anaerobic Digesters Now Under Way!

As a result of a combination of efforts, predominantly spurred by the MA Department of Environmental Protection’s (MassDEP) draft 2010-2020 Massachusetts Solid Waste Master Plan, as well as recently surging interest in large-scale proposed and in construction anaerobic digester (AD) projects such as the agricultural AGE LLC and Pine island Farm projects highlighted in the last F&MR issue, the MA Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs (EEA) has established a Task Force on Building Organics Capacity. This Task Force, composed of representatives from MA DEP, EEA, the Department of Energy Resources (DOER), the MA Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and MDAR will help develop recommendations for overcoming barriers to the sitting and development of additional anaerobic digestion, composting and recycling capacity in Massachusetts. The Task Force recommendations will identify what needs to be done, who needs to do it, and how each action should be structured. As the appropriate state agencies implement these recommendations, all participants are strongly encouraged to continue to stay involved and provide review and advice.

The draft 2010-2020 Massachusetts Solid Waste Master Plan sets goals of reducing the quantity of waste disposed of by 30 percent (2 million tons) by 2020, and by 80 percent (5.2 million tons) by 2050. The Master Plan also sets a sub-goal for 2020 of diverting an additional 350,000 tons of organic material from disposal by that year, over the 650,000 tons that were diverted in 2009. Meeting this goal will require significant increases in in-state capacity at anaerobic digestion, composting, and recycling facilities.

These aggressive targets are consistent with the recently released Massachusetts Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020. Achieving the goals of both of these plans will produce important environmental benefits. An expansion of in-state recycling/processing capacity will also create jobs and economic development opportunities. Expanding in-state capacity to process diverted organic material will have important co-benefits for Massachusetts farms and will help anaerobic digesters at Massachusetts wastewater treatment plants operate more efficiently and economically.

The Task Force charge is:

  • Review and update the list of barriers to advancing anaerobic digestion, composting and recycling capacity in Massachusetts and the list of opportunities for advancing this capacity that were identified by Solid Waste Master Plan discussion groups in Spring 2009.
  • Develop guiding implementation principles to ensure that a) there is appropriate public participation in the siting process, and b) facilities are designed, constructed, and operated in a manner which protects public health and the environment.
  • Recommend specific actions that can be undertaken to overcome these barriers and take advantage of these opportunities, and identify the entities that should be charged with implementation.

The first stakeholder meeting was held March 4, 2011 and was very well attended with over 80 participants ranging from developers to municipals to engineers. As a result of the first meeting, a number of sub-groups have been created which will meet in the next couple of months to further discuss these needs. Everyone is invited to participate. The goal is to have recommendations completed by May 31, 2011 and any required draft DEP regulations in process. The following is information relative to the first meeting, sub-group meetings and how you can sign up to participate.

Task Force Website: www.mass.gov/dep/public/committee/adtfinfo.htm

Summary of the March 4 meeting and slides: www.mass.gov/dep/public/committee/adtf.htm (scroll to the bottom of the page)

Meeting schedule for smaller workgroups: www.mass.gov/dep/public/committee/tfsubgps.htm#1.

Please sign up for one (or more) workgroups by emailing dep.recycl@state.ma.us.

Contact: Sarah Weinstein, Deputy Assistant Commissioner, MassDEP Bureau of Waste Prevention, Telephone: 617-574-6862

Wind Turbines Proposed on Plymouth and Wareham Cranberry Bogs

Two separate wind turbine projects involving cranberry bogs have been proposed in Plymouth and Wareham. From their fact sheet, the Bog Wind Power Cooperative project (“Bogwind”) is a renewable energy and agricultural preservation project in Wareham, MA designed to produce up to 15 megawatts of clean energy. Bogwind includes six utility-scale wind turbines located on five separate cranberry bog properties throughout Wareham that would generate up to 2.5 megawatts each for some 40,000 MW of clean energy each year, an amount sufficient to power about two-thirds of Wareham’s households. Bogwind has been designed to help address the region’s energy needs, meet the Commonwealth’s wind energy goals, stimulate a clean-energy economy, preserve local agricultural and open-space land uses and contribute to the cranberry growing industry. Three Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) meetings have been held to date, the latest March 23, 2011. A final meeting and decision is expected to be in May.

Meanwhile, Future Generation Wind LLC is an effort of Keith and Monica Mann to implement 4 wind turbines of 2 MW each on their cranberry bog upland property in Plymouth, MA. Building Commission and ZBA meetings have been held since last summer. To date three turbines have been approved, though under appeal, while a 4th awaits a final decision. The next meeting is scheduled for April 6, 2011 at 8:00 PM in Plymouth Town Hall, 11 Lincoln St., Plymouth MA.

The MA Department of Energy Resources (DOER), the MA Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and MDAR have been actively participating in these hearings and articulate support of these projects.

MDAR FY2012 AgEnergy Grant Coming Soon!

MDAR’s FY2012 AgEnergy Grant Program is expected to be announced this April. Similar to last year the program will prioritize funding assistance for selected energy efficiency (EE) and renewable energy (RE) projects. Now in its 4th year, AgEnergy last year contributed $450,000 in awards to 42 EE & RE projects.

Massachusetts Farm Energy Program (MFEP) – Winter Energy Workshops/Grant Writing Workshops Completed

The Winter Energy Workshop series on technical assistance and financial incentives for farms and forest product businesses has been completed as well as the follow-up grant writing workshops. Attendance was very good.

If you are still interested in technical and/or financial assistance for an upcoming energy project on your farm this year, please contact our MA Farm Energy Program at www.berkshirepioneerrcd.org/mfep/index.php at 413-256-1607 or Gerry Palano at 617-626-1706, Gerald.Palano@state.ma.us.

Meanwhile, USDA’s NRCS’ EQIP energy offerings are still available with an overall EQIP deadline of April 15 – AgEMPS and conservation practices including greenhouse thermal blankets, HAF, solar and Wind can be applied for. NRCS website has latest info - www.ma.nrcs.usda.gov

MDAR/EEA Participate in MIT’s Annual Energy Conference

MDAR along with representatives from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs were privileged to be invited to MIT’s 6th Annual Energy Conference to present and speak on the Food-Water-Energy Nexus panel session held Friday afternoon, March 4, 2011. We were able to present the relevant achievements and plans of our own administration, such as how MDAR is a microcosm of this nexus where we as agency offer support in all three areas in parallel. The Massachusetts Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020, statewide organic reuse/anaerobic digester efforts, and the combining of Energy and Environment under one Secretariat were also presented and discussed. See our energy blog on this at http://energy.blog.state.ma.us/blog/green-living/

Federal 30% ITC Cash Option Reminder

For those still interested in pursuing the Federal Investment Tax Credit Cash Option for selected renewable energy technologies, the original deadline of December 31, 2010 for “Beginning Construction” for this opportunity was extended until December 31, 2011 by the lame duck session congress at the end of last year. Enacted as part of the 2009 ARRA stimulus package, this option provides non-residential commercial projects the opportunity to receive cash at the completion of the project in lieu of receiving a tax credit. Eligible renewable energy projects must now need to have been completed in calendar years 2009, 2010 or 2011 OR meet the are eligibility provisions for those initiating the project by the end of December 31, 2011, including executing a financial contract, executing an installing contractor contract and demonstrating at least 5% project expenditures by this date. This means if you can at least begin implementing an eligible renewable energy project by the end of this year you could still be eligible for the tax credit cash option. For more details on all eligibility requirements and other information please see: www.treas.gov/recovery/1603.shtml.

At the same time, MDAR encourages those in our agricultural community who favor such a tax incentive to contact your local U.S. congressional representatives and senators to request this extremely beneficial cash tax equity option be extended beyond this year’s end as part of the new agenda of our new Congress in Washington, D.C.

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MassGrown & Fresher Warms Up April -- see what's NEW!

MassGrown & Fresher continues its great traction course. The site was developed last year as a resource that connects consumers to locally grown products and farmers to new consumer bases.

Upcoming Plans: CALLING ALL HONEY PRODUCERS!

Buzzzzzz….Buzzzzzz…..
If you have honey that is produced in Massachusetts and would like to be part of our MassGrown & Fresher Agri-Google Map and increase your direct $$$$. Joining our online interactive farm map is fast and free and a great way to reach out to new audiences. Looking for MassGrown marketing materials for your honey farm? Please contact Melissa Guerrero at 617-626-1730, Melissa.Guerrero@state.ma.us for more details.

Farmers (retailers and wholesalers): As part of our on-going marketing efforts, we highlight Massachusetts farms and agricultural businesses through various publications, special events, B2B opportunities, and most importantly, on our website, www.Mass.gov/Massgrown. Helping you find profitable markets for your products is an important part of our mission. As a Massachusetts producer, you are entitled to the many different listings on the MassGrown website and brochures. If you would like to be included, or update your information, please complete our Farm Marketing Survey.

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Savor Massachusetts Update


Savor Massachusetts is a culinary must-have resource for even the most discerning palate. Don’t forget to take advantage of our new and improved Culinary and Agricultural Events Calendar. Our new format now allows us to include a detailed event description, a Google maps feature and a link to your website. Keep us posted on your major farm and agricultural events all season long! To submit a culinary or agricultural event, email to Chris Brack at Chris.Brack@state.ma.us.


 

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Low Cost Rabies Vaccination Clinics Available Across the State

Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), in a combined effort with the Massachusetts Animal Coalition has begun coordinating 2011 rabies vaccination clinics in communities across the Commonwealth. Massachusetts law requires all dogs, cats and ferrets living in Massachusetts be vaccinated against rabies. Low cost vaccinations are offered to protect pets and the public at large against rabies and to assure pet owners an affordable solution to be in compliance with state law.

Most of the clinics open their doors to all Massachusetts residents. As a matter of convenience, pet owners may choose from the many clinics scheduled throughout the Commonwealth to have their pet vaccinated for rabies. The costs for the vaccinations vary but all are affordable. Some clinics offer additional services such as other routine vaccinations, dog licensing and microchipping.

For a list of participating communities, visit www.mass.gov/agr/animalhealth/rabies/clinics.htm

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Now Accepting Entries for the 2011 Agriculture Photo Contest

Photographers who enjoy capturing images of the Bay State’s farms and farm and horticultural products are invited to enter the 2011 Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar Photo Contest. Winning entries will be published in the 2012 Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar. The contest and calendar are sponsored by Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom, Inc., the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

We are seeking photos that represent the traditional (maple sugaring, cranberries, dairy cows, flowers/plants, fall fruits, farmers and farm families), as well as the new and dynamic, such as on-farm renewable energy systems and urban agriculture. For farmers, its a great way to promote your farm! View last year’s winners here.

Winning photographers will be credited in the calendar and will be invited to a ceremony at the Eastern States Exposition (The Big E) in West Springfield this September (tickets to the fair included). Winning photos will be featured on MDAR’s home page during the corresponding month. Click here for Entry Form[pdf]. Deadline June 1, 2011.

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BUSINESS


Farmers’ Market Coupon Program Certification for Growers
and Market Managers

The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program provides WIC families and low-income older adults with coupons to purchase fresh produce at farmers’ markets. In order to accept these coupons both farmers and market managers must be certified by the MDAR. Coupons cannot be accepted or redeemed prior to training and signing an agreement. If you would like to be certified to join the program please contact Lisa Damon Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program Coordinator at lisa.damon@state.ma.us or 617-626-1731.

Growers and market managers returning to the coupon program do not need to attend a training session. Recertification for returning growers and managers will be conducted through the mail.

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Grant Opportunity for Massachusetts Farmers’ Markets and Organizations Supporting Hampden County Farmers Market

MDAR is soliciting proposals for projects that expand the use of SNAP (formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) benefits at Massachusetts farmers’ markets. Grant funds may be used to purchase or rent wireless point of sale (POS) terminals for the purposes of electronic benefits transfer (EBT), and for outreach to SNAP participants. Funds may also be used for advertising, promotion and incentives to increase SNAP participants’ use of program benefits at participating farmers’ markets. Farmers’ markets or organizations that manage or sponsor farmers’ markets in Massachusetts may apply for funding. Up to $2,000 may be awarded for each farmers’ market. Farmers’ markets that received an EBT grant from MDAR in 2010 are eligible for a maximum of $1,000. Organizations that sponsor more than one farmers’ market are eligible for a maximum award of up to $3,000.

MDAR is also soliciting proposals for projects to assist the Hampden County Healthy Incentives Pilot (HIP) program in developing protocols and systems that will allow Hampden County farmers’ markets and farm stands to participate in the HIP program. In addition, project proposals should also support the purchase or rental of wireless point of sale (POS) terminals for the purposes of electronic benefits transfer (EBT) for Hampden County farmers markets participating in SNAP (formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) and the HIP program. HIP funds can only cover the cost of wireless service for the 14 months in which HIP is implemented.

For more information and copies of the RFRs, please visit: www.mass.gov/agr/markets/farmersmarkets/index.htm

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Farmers' Markets Seeking Vendors – 2011

For more information on Massachusetts Farmers’ Markets, contact David Webber, 617-626-1754 or David.Webber@state.ma.us

New/Proposed Farmers’ Markets:

  • Allston/Cambridge Street, Contact Alana Olsen, 617-254-7564 or Alana@allstonvillage.com
  • Attleboro/Our Lady of LaSalette, Friday, 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm, June 3 to October 28. Contact Marie Pray, 508-336-7681 or oakdalefarm@juno.com. Seeking cheese, baked goods.
  • Burlington, Mid- July to October, Contact Rachel Dutton, farmersmarket01803@gmail.com.
  • Chelmsford/Mahoney’s, Saturdays, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm, July 2 to September 3, Contact Pamela Vasques, 781-820-3917 or pvasques@comcast.net
  • Falmouth/Mahoney’s, Saturdays, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm, June 18 to September 3, Contact Pamela Vasques, 781-820-3917 or pvasques@comcast.net
  • Hull, Fridays, Contact Judeth Van Hamm, 781-925-5665
  • Needham, Contact Jeff Friedman, 781-400-1036 or friedmanesq@aol.com
  • Sudbury, Sundays, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm, Contact Stella Richards, 978-443-0058 or stellarichards@verizon.net
  • Webster, Fridays, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm, Contact Cathleen Liberty, 508-949-3800, x 1003 or cliberty@webster-ma.gov.
  • Westboro, Thursdays, 1:00 pm- 6:00 pm, June 9 to September 29. Contact Dave McMahon, 508-799-9389 or cmsdismashouse@aol.com. Seeking poultry, honey, seafood, dairy, gourmet dog treats.
  • Williamstown, Contact Lori Garvie, 413-664-4907 or selfstorage@delftree.com
  • Woburn, Sundays, 9:00 am – 1:30 pm, June 5 to October. Contact Paul Medeiros, 781-938-0297 or paulderman@verizon.net. Seeking all types of vendors.

Existing Markets: Click here for Complete List [PDF]

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MassDOT’s Farmers' Market Program Begins

This year’s annual Massachusetts Department of Transportation Farmers’ Market Program will begin in May 2011 and goes through the Fall. We invite all Massachusetts farmers to sell their freshly grown fruits and vegetables as well as their made-in-Massachusetts products, on a first-come, first-serve basis. The farmers' market program has been very popular for the last ten years on the Masspike and for the second year, MassDOT has decided to offer the Farmers' Market at all eighteen service plazas on State of Massachusetts’ Highways. Along with the original eleven Masspike service plazas, MassDOT has added seven new service plaza locations. The Farmers' Market Program offers our Massachusetts’ farmers a unique opportunity to sell and market their wonderful locally grown products. Farmers can sell their goods as long as they do not compete with the service area stores and restaurants.

The service areas available for the Farmers’ Market are located in Lee (east/west), Blandford (east/west), Ludlow (east/west), Charlton (east/west), Westboro(west), Framingham (west) and Natick (east), Interstate 95 in Newton, Lexington, Route 128 in Beverly, Route 24 locations (north / south ) in Bridgewater, Route 3 in Plymouth and Route 6 in Barnstable.

If you are interested in participating in this year’s program or have any questions, please contact David Fenton at 413-572-3171 or via e-mail at Dave.Fenton@state.ma.us.

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Free Growing Tip Fact Sheets for Garden Retailers

University of Massachusetts Extension and The Massachusetts Flower Growers Association have teamed up to provide on-line fact sheets to Garden Retailers on a wide assortment of gardening topics with funding provided by a grant from Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. The fact sheets are free and available at: www.umass.edu/umext/floriculture/retailers/ and www.massflowergrowers.com.

• Short (1-2 pages) Easy to read in black and white
• Print, copy, fold accordion style and give to your garden retail customers
• Let our fact sheets help to answer questions from home gardeners

Click here for links to all pdf Tip Fact Sheets.

1 Asian Longhorned Beetle
2 Planting Tomatoes
3 Growing Tomatoes
4 Hydrangeas: Pruning for Blooms
5 Hydrangeas: Color and Fertilizing
6 Watering New Plantings
7 Fall Flowers: Mums and Annuals
8 Fall Planting Trees and Shrubs
9 Fall Plantings: Successful Care
10 Holiday Plant Care Fall & Winter
11 Holiday Plant Care Spring
12 Pruning Flowering Shrubs
13 Growing Herbs
14 Easy Herbs
15 Preserving Herbs
16 Starting Seeds Indoors
17 Caring for Seedlings
18 Plan a Vegetable Garden
19 Planting a Vegetable Garden
20 Deer Resistant Plants
21 Perennials, Continuous Color
22 Annuals for Shade
23 Annuals for Sun
24 Colorful Container Gardens

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Export Marketing Forum in Boston for Food and Agricultural Products

Plan to attend the Export Marketing Forum in Boston on September 27th and 28th 2011. Register early to save $100. Sponsored by Food Export USA Northeast to which MDAR is a member, the Forum offers an efficient opportunity to learn about exporting logistics and explore international markets, as well as network with other food and agricultural businesses and industry experts. You will get a chance to join hands-on workshops to learn practical exporting logistics; meet U.S. suppliers that have grown their business in international markets; hear from industry experts about hot topics affecting the U.S. and global food trade; meet one-on-one with In-Market Representatives, pre-qualified buyers, and trade experts about your product’s potential in global markets; showcase your products to international buyers and explore businesses providing products and services to support your exporting needs

Sign up now and save $100. Contact Bonita.Oehlke@state.ma.us for additional information.

UPCOMING EVENTS


Massachusetts Agriculture Day at the State House - April 7th

Thursday, April 7, 2011

From the Berkshires to the Cape, to the farmers’ markets in Boston, each year this exciting event draws hundreds of farmers, agriculture officials, legislators, and industry leaders from across the Commonwealth. Participants gather at the State House to acknowledge not only the positive impact and economic growth of agriculture in Massachusetts but also to discuss issues and legislation affecting their farms and communities.

The event includes a speaking program, ‘Agriculture Day’ awards, informational exhibits and a reception featuring Massachusetts’ farm and specialty food products. Please join MDAR and many others from the agricultural community in recognizing the contributions of Massachusetts’ farmers; learn more about the department’s current and new programs and its efforts to maintain the long-term viability of Massachusetts’ agriculture; and celebrate Massachusetts agricultural products which benefit all Massachusetts residents.

For more information, contact the MA Agricultural Promotional Board at agpromoboard@mfbf.net, "Save the Date" flyer, click here.

Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom (MAC) Updates

Volunteer Training April 19 and 20: MAC is looking to expand our outreach to the public through exhibits and hands-on activities for children at Agricultural Fairs, Farmers' Markets, educational events and even school fairs. We are looking for volunteers to help represent MAC at these public events. We will offer two training opportunities for volunteers this year. The first will be held on two days during the April School Vacation on April 19 and 20 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Marlborough. The second will be held in July. This is a great opportunity to increase your knowledge of Massachusetts agriculture and MAC's programs and also to help support our organizations. There will be workshops on Botany, Beekeeping, Pollination, Dairy, Chickens, Nutrition, Fibers and more. We hope you will consider joining our band of volunteers during the April or July Training. Volunteer Training is sponsored by a grant from the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture. Once trained we will provide opportunities to represent MAC at fairs, festivals and farmers markets around the state, accompanied by a MAC board member or other volunteer. For more information or to volunteer, send an e-mail to Debi Hogan at debi.hogan@earthlink.net

Summer Graduate Course: We are planning our popular Summer Graduate Course, now in its sixth year; held in collaboration with Fitchburg State College. This three-credit graduate course, titled "Growing Agriculture in the Classroom," uses Massachusetts farms as the classrooms. Teachers are immersed in agricultural-literacy training through fun, hands-on study and investigation of agriculture education resources. The course will meet on Tuesdays, June 28 and August 16 at the Brigham Hill Community Farm in North Grafton from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Each registrant must attend both sessions and also participate in six additional workshops during the summer, selected from approximately twelve workshops on a variety of topics on farm locations across the state(we are now planning those twelve workshops and will post them to our website over the next few weeks). Participants will keep a journal of their agricultural journey and develop a classroom project, which they will present to their peers on August 16. Farm workshops may cover topics such as farm animals, local foods, nutrition, plant science, soils, technology, water, sustainable agriculture and more. The fee for this eight-day course is $500 and includes all materials, farm workshops, meals and three graduate credits. Partial scholarships of $200 are available to new teachers and those from urban schools. Any workshop may also be taken individually (there is a fee of $30).

Scholarships for New and Urban Teachers: A limited number of full or partial scholarships are available for all 2011 MAC programs including our Summer Graduate Course, Each of the Summer Workshops on the Farm and the Fall Greening the School Conference. These scholarships will be awarded to those who have need and are new to teaching (within the past 5 years) and to teachers from urban schools. The funds for these scholarships were provided through a generous donation from an AgEnhancement Grant from Farm Credit East. For more information on eligibility for these scholarships, check out our website at www.aginclassroom.org and click on the Annual Winter Conference Link or Workshops Link.


¡Siembra! - A Nuestras Raíces Workshop Series for Growers

Come together for the Nuestras Raíces series of workshops for farmers and gardeners. Unite with urban, rural, and suburban growers, learn from agricultural experts, and farmers with years of experience around the world! All trainings are both English and Spanish. The series will cover topics of insect, disease, and weed management, direct marketing strategy, and much more. All workshops will be held at the Nuestras Raices Farm, 24 Jones Ferry Rd. in Holyoke, MA.

Check our website, and our facebook page for regular updates.

April and May events (one page flier):

  • Regulations for Small Livestock Farmers – April 16th, 9-12pm
  • Weed Management – April 30th, 9-12pm
  • Farmers Market 101 – May 4th 10-12pm
  • Setting up a Market Stand – May 11th, 10-12pm
  • Relationships = Sales! – May 18th, 10-12pm

Workshop fees are $26 for non-members and $20 for members of Nuestras Raíces. Call Amy at 413-535-1789 for more information. Nuestras Raices is a non-profit organization in Holyoke MA that promotes community, economic and human development through projects related to food, agriculture, and the environment. Details and updates at www.nuestras-raices.org.


Better Process Control School at the University of Massachusetts Amherst

Better Process Control School, June 27-30, 2011. Food Safety is a major concern in the United States. Each year dozens of outbreaks and recalls are outlines on televisions and newspapers. It is estimated that we have 76 million cases of food borne illness annually at a cost of $152 billion.

The Department of Food Science at the University of Massachusetts will be offering a Better Process Control School this coming summer. This course will train food processors principles of acidification, and container closure evaluation programs for low-acid and acidified canned foods as required by FDA regulations in CFR 108, 113 and 114. The purpose of these regulations is to help ensure the safety of consumers by training producers. This course will satisfy both USDA and FDA requirements.

Better Process Control School will be co-taught by three faculty members from the Department of Food Science at UMass Amherst. Profs Sam Nugen, Lynne McLandsborough, and Julie Goddard bring together industry experience as well as expertise in food microbiology, processing and packaging.

Please click here for more information.


NEWS FROM USDA


MA Farmers and Forest Land Owners Encouraged to Apply for Federal Conservation Assistance by April 15

Massachusetts farmers and forest land owners who would like to address soil and water conservation concerns on their land are encouraged to apply by April 15, 2011 for financial and technical help through the federal Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

While EQIP sign-up is continuous throughout the year, land owners are encouraged to apply now in order for their applications to be reviewed and ranked for possible funding should additional monies become available for Massachusetts projects.

Call or visit a local USDA service center to schedule a time to complete paperwork and begin the conservation planning process. USDA service center locations are listed on-line at http://offices.usda.gov or in the phone book under Federal Government, U.S. Department of Agriculture. General program information is available on the NRCS Massachusetts website at www.ma.nrcs.usda.gov. Details here.


Massachusetts State and Local Governments, Non-governmental Organizations and Tribes May Apply for Federal Farmland Protection Program

The MA state office of the US Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is now accepting applications from state and local units of government, federally recognized Tribes, and non-governmental organizations for the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP). FRPP provides up to 50 percent matching funding for the purchase of conservation easements on agricultural lands.

Landowners may not apply directly to NRCS for this program. NRCS only accepts FRPP applications from eligible entities that have a farmland protection program that purchases agricultural conservation easements for the purpose of protecting agricultural use and related natural resource conservation benefits.

Applications for federal funding must be submitted by 4:30 pm on Friday, May 6, 2011 to the NRCS State Office, 451 West Street, Amherst, MA, 01002. For more information on FRPP in Massachusetts, visit www.ma.nrcs.usda.gov or contact Barbara Miller, State Resource Conservationist, at 413-253-4380 or barbara.miller@ma.usda.gov


Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and Assistant Attorney General West Announce Process to Resolve Discrimination Claims of
Hispanic and Women Farmers

As part of continued efforts to close the chapter on allegations that discrimination occurred at USDA in past decades, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Assistant Attorney General Tony West today announced the establishment of a process to resolve the claims of Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers who assert that they were discriminated against when seeking USDA farm loans.

The claims process offers a streamlined alternative to litigation and provides at least $1.33 billion in compensation, plus up to $160 million in farm debt relief, to eligible Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers. This announcement follows the Obama Administration’s settlement of longstanding litigation brought by African American farmers and Native American farmers.

The program announced today provides up to $50,000 for each Hispanic or woman farmer who can show that USDA denied them a loan or loan servicing for discriminatory reasons for certain time periods between 1981 and 2000. Hispanic or female farmers who provide additional proof and meet other requirements can receive a $50,000 reward. Successful claimants are also eligible for funds to pay the taxes on their awards and for forgiveness of certain existing USDA loans. There are no filing fees or other costs to claimants to participate in the program.

Participation is voluntary, and individuals who opt not to participate are not precluded by the program from filing a complaint in court.

In conjunction with this announcement, USDA is launching an outreach effort to potential claimants that will include a call center for farmers and ranchers, a website, public service announcements, and in-person meetings around the country. Individuals interested in participating in the claims process may register to receive a claims package, or may obtain more information, by visiting www.farmerclaims.gov. Beginning February 25, 2011, individuals can register to receive a claims package by calling the Farmer and Rancher Call Center at 1-888-508-4429. USDA cannot provide legal advice to potential claimants. Persons seeking legal advice may contact a lawyer or other legal services provider.

Audio and video public service announcements in English and Spanish from Secretary Vilsack and downloadable print and web banner ads on the Hispanic and women farmer claims process are available at: www.usda.gov/PSAs_Print_and_WebBanner_Ads.xml


IN EVERY ISSUE

Classified Ads

  • For Sale: 41’6”' x 60' Nexus Vail Greenhouse. 10’ column spacing, 9’gutter height. Roof covering is 16mm Acrylic and all walls are 8mm polycarbonate. Purchased and built in 1990. Great retail house, includes 2-200k BTU overhead oil furnaces, motorized ridge vent with Wadsworth controls and 8 sliding doors. Available for disassembly June 15. $15,000, 781-405-9827.
  • FARM MANAGER POSITION OPEN IMMEDIATELY - Hillside School, an independent boarding/day school in a rural section of Marlborough, Massachusetts is seeking a reliable, hands-on, experienced farmer-manager to run our working farm. The Farm Manager will be responsible for managing the farm animals, food production, education, training, supervising educators, volunteers and interns working on the farm, coordinating the distribution of farm products, and oversight of the farm’s physical assets, including maintenance of all buildings, grounds, and equipment, and hands-on support to the school in all matters relating to the maintenance and operation of the farm. The Farm Manager will play an important role coordinating educational projects involving the farm that will require strong skills in leading, supervising, and communicating with groups of youth and adults. This position is a full-time, twelve-month, exempt position with a highly competitive benefit package, salary commensurates with experience and housing possible. Please forward resume to bmcwilliams@hillsideschool.net.
  • For sale: 2 Row John Deere Planter $2495, Knverland 3 bottom plow $2000, Penns Creek one sided boom sprayer $3200, Century boom sprayer $825, 2 row fertilizer cultivator $1200, bench scale $495, call 617-645-6444.
  • Agricultural Excavation – Grading Services - we provide earth moving, drainage, land/pasture reclamation, greenhouse preparation, and rock raking services. Includes but not limited to orchards/equine facilities/cranberry bogs/nurseries. Chris Merrill Excavating - merrilltrucks@comcast.net, 978-897-9977.
  • Wanted 25+ acres farmland to buy in southeast MA - Experienced farmer (B.S. plant, soil, insect science, 3 yrs apprentice/field manager, 4 yrs starting and running own farm on leased land - 15 acres veggies, 350 layers, 10 acres hay) seeks farm in bristol, norfolk co. MA or northern RI with 15+ acres class I or II soils and 25+ acres total. The presence or possibility of an agricultural easement is a must for financial viability. My goal is to find permanent farmland to be steward of and care for to the best of my knowledge and ability. If you know of farmland or are looking to transition your farm to the next generation of land stewards, please contact Chuck Currie at freedomfoodfarm@gmail.com or cell 978-884-7102.

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.

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Calendar

  • April 6: Local Food: Building a Delicious Future, 7 pm, Second Congregational Church, Greenfield.For more information, see website, call 413-775-1671 or email PVI.
  • April 7: CISA's Farm Management Workshop Series: Farm Manager as Employer, Landlord, Parent, Partner, and Friend, 5:30-9pm, CISA office: One Sugarloaf Street, S. Deerfield. Presenters: Farm Panel with Sarah Voiland, Red Fire Farm, Dan Kaplan, Brookfield Farm and Jarrett Mann, Stone Soup Farm. www.buylocalfood.org/
  • April 10: 4th Annual Pioneer Valley Coop Tour, 12noon-6 pm, Coops of various sizes and designs and the feathered friends that inhabit them will be featured. See how folks manage their flocks for fresh eggs, meat, garden compost, and entertainment. pioneervalleychickens@yahoo.com. For coop tour locations and details, please see our website.
  • April 16: ¡Siembra! - A Nuestras Raíces Workshop Series for Growers, Nuestras Raices Farm, 24 Jones Ferry Rd. in Holyoke, MA. Regulations for Small Livestock Farmers – 9-12pm
    Workshop fees are $26 for non-members and $20 for members of Nuestras Raíces. Call Amy at 413-535-1789 for more information. Nuestras Raices is a non-profit organization in Holyoke MA that promotes community, economic and human development through projects related to food, agriculture, and the environment. Details and updates at www.nuestras-raices.org.
Complete listing of events at www.mass.gov/agr/events/coming_up

*** If you have events you would like listed to our Ag industry calendar, or Consumer events, email Rick LeBlanc at Richard.LeBlanc@state.ma.us.

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About the Farm & Market Report

Published bi-monthly by:

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, Governor
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Richard K. Sullivan, 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
  • Scott J. Soares, Commissioner
  • Nathan L’Etoile, Asst. Commissioner
  • Anna Waclawiczek, Chief of Staff
Division Directors

Next issue to be published for June / July. Please send news, calendar and/or classified information by May 27th 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.