Patrick Administration FY 2009 Investments to Diversify and Modernize Massachusetts Farms Totaled Nearly $1 Million
"Massachusetts has seen more than a 27 percent increase in the number of farms and farm revenue since 2002, an impressive figure given the challenges presented by suburban sprawl, rising energy costs, and global competition," said Commissioner Scott Soares. "The Patrick Administration is making sure that agriculture remains a vibrant enterprise in the Commonwealth."
DAR's Farm Viability Enhancement Program (FVEP) develops business plans to help farmers diversify and modernize their operations. Farmers who implement the business plan recommendations and keep their farms in agricultural use for a five- or ten-year period are eligible for DAR funding. In addition to giving farmers tools to improve their bottom line, the funding also helps stimulate local economic activity through construction jobs and purchases of equipment and materials.
"My customers have given me lots of positive feedback on the improvements to my retail greenhouse space and new parking lot," said Chicopee vegetable grower and farm market operator Bill McKinstry, whose farm also recently celebrated its 100 th anniversary. "We were able to offer a greater selection of plant material this season and parking is more efficient and safer."
Farms are evaluated and selected for FVEP based on the number of acres being considered; the current intensity of land use on the farm; the farm's significance and contribution to the state's agriculture industry; the productivity of the land based on soil quality, physical features and location; the operator's agricultural experience; whether the farm has diversified into retail or value-added activities; and the degree to which continuation of agriculture is threatened by other land uses such as development. DAR also assesses environmental objectives that would be accomplished through the program.
Funded Projects include:
Austin & Austin LLC, 135 acres preserved; $75,000
Constructed a storage barn/workshop, and improved marketing
Barway Farm, Inc.,15 acres preserved; $50,000
Repaired water well and farm water system, constructed a heifer barn and made other improvements
Crowell Farm, 32 acres preserved; $50,000
Made addition to dairy barn, constructed a bunker silo pad and made other improvements
Dufresne's Sugar House, 22 acres preserved; $50,000
Purchased farm equipment and made other improvements
Sunny Dell Stables, 90 acres preserved; $50,000
Stall expansion project, constructed three run-in sheds, purchased haying equipment
Jasinski Farm, 80 acres preserved; $50,000
Purchased and installed 36-foot five-ring grain bin, a 50-foot, six-inch augur with motor, and a grain dryer
King Farm, Inc., 87 acres preserved; $50,000
Purchased and installed a Lochnivar Power-Fin Boiler and a radiant heating system
The Bars Farm, 43 acres preserved; $50,000
Purchased a tractor and loader, and purchased and installed a greenhouse,
Letendre LLC, 219 acres preserved; $25,000
Purchased rotary hay rake, steel body for hay wagon, and hay elevator/conveyor.
Mason, William and Nicole, 10 acres preserved; $25,000
Purchased sap vacuum pump, completed access road construction and made other improvements
McKinstry Market Garden, Inc., 35 acres preserved; $50,000
Improved parking lot conditions, installed fencing for the parking lot and greenhouse and made other improvements
Outlook Farm, 26 acres preserved; $50,000
Purchased and installed a UV cider pasteurizer and bulk tank, completed the repair of the cider press, upgraded apple conveyor and washer, and other improvements
The Shepherd's Gate, 7 acres preserved; $25,000
Constructed a 30-foot by 80-foot goat barn and purchased a tractor with front-end loader
Clover Hill Farm, 277 acres preserved; $100,000
Silo renovation project and purchased haying equipment
Shaw Farm Dairy Inc., 20 acres preserved; $75,000
Purchased a walk-in cooler, and milk bottle filler
Bear Hill Farm, 58 acres preserved; $50,000
Made electrical updates, installed a new water well, made upgrades to the milk room/parlor, and constructed a new base pad and base for the silage pit
Cone Brook Farm, 68 acres preserved; $50,000
Constructed a hay storage barn and herd housing building
Neil Toomey Tree Farm, 371 acres preserved; $75,000
Purchased a forestry trailer with log loader, mower
The FVEP is one of several programs within DAR's Division of Agricultural Technical Assistance (DATA), the mission of which is to provide technical assistance, training and funding to promote economically viable and environmentally sound agricultural practices in Massachusetts. Other DATA services include funding for environmental enhancement projects, technical assistance for energy conservation and renewable energy initiatives, development and promotional assistance for aquaculture producers and business training for beginning and established agricultural producers.
The DAR's mission is to ensure the long-term viability of local agriculture in Massachusetts. Through its four divisions - Agricultural Development, Animal Health, Crop and Pest Services, and Technical Assistance - the DAR strives to support, regulate, and enhance the Commonwealth's agricultural community, working to promote economically and environmentally sound food safety and animal health measures, and fulfill agriculture's role in energy conservation and production.