For Immediate Release - April 16, 2014

PATRICK ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES MATCHING GRANTS FOR BEGINNING MASSACHUSETTS FARMS

BOSTON –  Wednesday, April 16, 2014 – Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rick Sullivan today announced matching grants totaling nearly $94,000 for 10 projects to help beginning farmers grow or improve their new farm operations. Selected farmers will receive individual business planning assistance for their proposed projects through the Department of Agricultural Resources’ (DAR) Matching Enterprise Grants for Agriculture (MEGA) Program.

“Investing in sustainable farming reflects the Patrick Administration’s commitment to local agriculture,” said Secretary Sullivan. “Developing business planning skills, upgrading equipment and making strategic improvements give our farmers the opportunity to grow their businesses and our economy.”

“This grant program not only provides farmers in their critical first to fifth year with some capital, but also with business planning and technical assistance to help ensure their success,” said DAR Commissioner Greg Watson. “For Massachusetts agriculture to thrive, we need to encourage the enthusiasm and new ideas that beginning farmers bring to the industry.”

The farms selected for these grants are in Amherst, Ashfield, Dartmouth, Hadley, Lunenburg, North Dartmouth, North Falmouth, Westford and Westminster.

These grants will help fund the purchase of equipment and other non-land based assets necessary for financially viable agricultural businesses.  Projects include equipment to improve production and post-harvest operations and create value-added products such as maple syrup and fruit pies; as well as infrastructure improvements such as greenhouses and farmstands. Selected farmers will participate in a business planning process, after which they are eligible to receive a dollar for dollar match grant of up to $10,000.

The MEGA Program was established in FY2010 under the umbrella of the Farm Viability Enhancement Program.  The annual open application period is April to June.

Today’s grantees:

FarmTownProject DescriptionAmount
Fat MoonWestfordEquipment to improve production efficiency$6,750
Carrs Cider HouseHadleyHard cider processing facility improvements & equipment upgrades$10,000
Breezy Knoll FarmWestminsterConstruct Barn$10,000
Paskamansett FarmsDartmouthMilk barn improvements$10,000
Copicutt FarmsNorth DartmouthPoultry processing facility upgrades$9,425
Good Bunch FarmAshfieldInfrastructure improvements for production efficiency and storage$7,787
Hollis Hills FarmsLunenburgField Equipment Upgrades$10,000
Slow Tractor FarmHadleyMalt and soybean roaster upgrades$10,000
Queen's GreensAmherstConstruct new greenhouse$10,000
Ward AquafarmsNorth FalmouthAquaculture equipment upgrades$9,750

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