Patrick-Murray Administration Awards $475,000 in Environmental Enhancement Grants to 35 Massachusetts Farms
BOSTON – December 19, 2011 – Officials from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) today awarded 35 farm projects across the Commonwealth with grants for projects designed to increase compatibility between agricultural practices and protection of the state’s natural resources.
Awarded through DAR’s Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program (AEEP), grants totaling $475,000 were given to farms in Carver, Cheshire, Cummington, Dracut, East Bridgewater, Granville, Hadley, Hanson, Haverhill, Lakeville, Mattapoisett, Middleboro, North Harwich, Paxton, Plymouth, Plympton, Rehoboth, Shelburne, South Hadley, Sudbury, Sunderland, Taunton, West Brookfield, Ware, Westport and Williamstown.
“These grants will help protect the state’s natural resources and improve conditions for our farming families,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “We are committed to helping our local farmers create jobs to support agricultural economies across Massachusetts.”
The funding will support projects such as automated irrigation systems for cranberry operations, manure storage areas, compost pads, fencing, milkhouse wastewater treatment areas, and zone tillage equipment for a vegetable operation.
“I want to applaud the efforts of this year’s recipients and all those who have participated in the program since its inception,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. “Through this program, our Administration continues to work with local farmers to not only provide industry resources, but also additional aid to protect the Commonwealth’s land, air and water for years to come.”
“This grant program helps farmers protect the state’s environment and encourages sustainable agricultural practices,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr., whose office includes DAR. “These investments reflect the commitment of the Patrick-Murray administration and our state’s farmers to reducing impacts on our natural resources.”
AEEP fund practices that improve water quality, promote water conservation and improve air quality. Farmers selected to participate are reimbursed for the approved costs of materials up to $30,000. Since 1999, AEEP has funded 387 projects statewide, providing growers and producers approximately $4.5 million to address environmental concerns on their farms. This program also helps advance several of the strategies outlined in the recent Climate Change Adaptation report.
“AEEP has been a proven tool in helping us safeguard the environment, while ensuring that our local food supply remains viable,” said DAR Commissioner Scott J. Soares. “We are delighted to support our local farmers in their efforts to ensure a sustainable future for their farms and I congratulate all of this year’s award recipients.”
The program is one of several within DAR’s Division of Agricultural Conservation and Technical Assistance, whose mission is to enhance the viability of agricultural enterprises and safeguard natural resources through preservation, environmental stewardship, technology, technical assistance and education.
“I am encouraged that so many of the state’s farmers are working toward implementing best practices that will enhance environmental practices,” said Sen. Marc R. Pacheco, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “I am pleased to see the Patrick Administration allocating these resources to ensure farmers have incentives to make these projects environmentally and economically viable.”
“Our farmers strive to prevent any negative environmental impact their operations may have,” said Rep. Anne Gobi, House Chair of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “This partnership with DAR to make grants available for mitigation keeps our farms viable and our air and water clean.”
The 35 awards announced today are:
Walker Cranberries, LLC
Vegetable Treatment Strip
Maple East Farm
Soil Stabilization; Manure Storage
CJW Realty Trust, Inc.
Holloway Street Bog
Fencing; Manure Pad; Gutters; Water Lines
Indian Head Cranberries, Inc.
Willow Spring Vineyards
Polilio Beach Street Trust
Hall's Cape Cod Cranberries
R.H. Robinson, Co.
Irrigation; Fuel Storage
Fresh Meadow Realty Trust
Automated Irrigation; Irrigation Pump
Grandpa Tom's Vegetable Farm
J.D. Mathias Cranberry
JMK Realty Trust
Automated Irrigation; Irrigation Pump
Bettencourt Dairy Farm
Milkhouse Waste Management System
Manure Storage; Watering System
Biscuit Hill Farm
GSW Cranberries, Inc.
Irrigation System; Fuel Storage
Blue Meadow Farm, Inc.
Compost Pad; Fencing
Patterson Farm, LLC
Ragged Hill Orchard
Double Wall Fuel Tank
Santos Brothers Farm
Soil Stabilization Wastewater Treatment Strip
Sweet Brook Farm, LLC
DAR’s mission is to ensure the long-term viability of agriculture in Massachusetts. Through its four divisions – Agricultural Conservation & Technical Assistance, Agricultural Markets, Animal Health, and Crop and Pest Services – DAR strives to support, regulate and enhance the rich diversity of the Commonwealth’s agricultural community to promote economically and environmentally sound food safety and animal health measures, and fulfill agriculture’s role in energy conservation and production. For more information, visit DAR’s website at www.mass.gov/agr, and/or follow at twitter.com/MDARCommish