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How to apply to the Climate Smart Agriculture Program

The Climate Smart Agriculture Program is the combined application for the Ag Climate Resiliency & Efficiencies (ACRE) Program, the Ag Environmental Enhancement Program (AEEP) and the Ag-Energy Program (ENER)
Application deadline extended from Friday, May 8th, 2020 to applications must be received by 4:00pm on Friday, June 19th, 2020

Laura J. Maul

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Overview: 

The Climate Smart Agriculture Program which combines the Agricultural Climate Resiliency & Efficiencies (ACRE) Grant, the Traditional Ag-Energy Program Grant (ENER), and the Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program Grant (AEEP). By bringing the three grants under one Program, MDAR is seeking to simplify the application procedures for applicants and allow a single application process for these grants. This round of funding includes energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that were previously funded under the Traditional Agricultural Energy Grant Program, and combines the application process for ACRE & AEEP to seek responses for practices that work towards adapting to and/or mitigating climate variability and change, and/or practices that work towards reducing or preventing impacts to natural resources that may result from agricultural practices.

Eligible Projects: 

Projects that help the agricultural sector reduce vulnerability to expected climate change effects (adaptation), mitigate climate change by reducing emissions, avoiding and displacing emissions, and/or removing emissions, and improving economic resiliency. Proposals for projects that work towards both adaptation and mitigation will be a priority for funding. Proposals for projects that improve soil management, improve water use efficiency and availability, promote efforts to reduce or limit greenhouse gas emissions or to enhance greenhouse gas sequestration including post-harvest infrastructure upgrades, improve energy efficiency and facilitate clean energy adoption will all be considered. Projects are broken into two categories; Part I: Climate Adaptation & Mitigation and Part II: Energy Efficiency & Renewable Projects.

Project Examples: 

Part I: Climate Adaptation & Mitigation

Sector

Projects

Cranberry

  • Management systems to accommodate increased precipitation
  • Cranberry irrigation engine upgrades to lower emission propane pumps, or Tier 4 diesel pumps

Dairy & Livestock

  • Infrastructure changes to reduce heat stress – improve ventilation
  • Installation of fans for improved air-flow
  • Sprinklers or misters to improve evaporative cooling
  • Structures for pasture shading
  • Increase water availability for livestock

Crops

  • Diversification to perennial crops
  • Updated water management techniques (improve/add irrigation)
  • Install hoop houses, high tunnels for controlled environment
  • Install/enhance drainage systems

Maple Sugaring

  • High vacuum tubing
  • Check valve spout adapters

Other Technologies

  • Monitoring systems
  • Precision nutrient and pesticide application systems

Project Area

Description

Project Examples

 

Water Conservation

 

Conservation practices that work towards improving agricultural water-use efficiency, with further benefits of climate resiliency and response planning. 

  • Tailwater recovery
  • Automated irrigation systems/upgrades
  • Irrigation upgrades
  • Rainwater harvest systems
  • Sub-irrigation systems (ebb & flow, trough benches, drip irrigation)

 

Water Quality

Conservation management practices and systems that help prevent impacts on water quality by reducing runoff that may result from agricultural uses of the land.

  • Manure storage
  • Exclusion fencing & watering facilities
  • Stream crossings
  • Small scale composting for manure management (including equine)
  • Heavy use area
  • Fertilizer/pesticide storage
  • Chemical mixing & handling

 

Soil Health

 

Conservation practices to improve soil health that increase organic matter and improve microbial activity, sequester carbon, and increase water filtration.

 

  • Conservation tillage equipment
  • No-till grain drills
  • Roller crimpers
  • Precision ag equipment
  • Manure injectors
  • Fencing for rotational grazing
  • Silvopasture development

 

Produce Post-Harvest Infrastructure

 

Limited to produce operations to improve storage and post-harvest handling infrastructure projects to reduce post-harvest food losses and improve food safety improving food safety

  • Infrastructure projects, either new construction or retrofits that significantly improve the washing, packing, and storing of fresh fruits and vegetables

 

Part II: Energy Efficiency & Renewable

Sector

Priority Projects

Cranberry

  • Cranberry irrigation engine upgrades to new electric pumps

Dairy

  • Plate Cooler
  • Variable Speed Vacuum Pumps
  • Refrigeration Heat Recovery / Free-Heaters

Greenhouse & Nurseries

  • Thermal Blankets / Energy Screens
  • Envelope Insulation
  • Natural Ventilation
  • Root Zone Heating
  • Electronic Temperature Controls 

Maple Sugaring

  • High Efficiency Evaporators
  • Reverse Osmosis (RO) Systems
  • Heat Recovery & Steam Enhanced Units 

Other Technologies

  • Process Heat Recovery
  • High Efficiency Refrigeration (optimally with heat recovery)
  • Higher Efficiency Heating Systems
  • Energy efficient technologies advancing urban food gardens
  • Cold Storage Systems

Renewables

  • Photovoltaics (PV) with battery storage for new or existing PV
  • Integrated greenhouse solar PV glazing
  • Solar irrigation systems 
  • Wind Systems
  • Solar thermal technologies
  • High efficiency air source/ground source heat pumps/Geothermal
  • High efficiency advanced gasification wood biomass heating systems
  • Advanced biomass (gasification) Outdoor Wood Boilers (OWB)

Eligible Applicants:

  • Agricultural operations engaged in production agriculture for commercial purposes as defined in Massachusetts law M.G.L c. 128, Sec. 1A.
  • Applicant must own, or be a Co-Applicant with the owner of the agricultural operation, who has a legal interest in the land whether by deed or written agreement and approval to implement the project on the land, which must be in active agricultural use and managed as a commercial enterprise by the Applicant for at least the three (3) previous years.
  • Produce operations applying for post-harvest infrastructure upgrades must have an average annual value of produce sold during the previous three-year period of $25,000 or more. Sales must be for produce covered under the Produce Safety Rule (PSR).

Maximum Funding: 

  • PART I:  Climate Adaptation & Mitigation:  Maximum funding per applicant is 80% of total project costs up to $50,000.
  • PART II: Energy Efficiency & Renewable:  Maximum funding per applicant is $50,000.

How to apply How to apply to the Climate Smart Agriculture Program

Complete application and hand deliver with any supporting documentation to:

Laura J. Maul
Program Coordinator
Department of Agricultural Resources, Suite 500
251 Causeway Street, Boston, MA 02114

Application deadline extended from Friday, May 8th, 2020 to applications must be received by 4:00pm on Friday, June 19th, 2020

Complete application and mail with any supporting documentation to:

Laura J. Maul
Program Coordinator
Department of Agricultural Resources, Suite 500
251 Causeway Street, Boston, MA 02114

Application deadline extended from Friday, May 8th, 2020 to applications must be received by 4:00pm on Friday, June 19th, 2020.

Postmarked applications will not be accepted beyond this deadline. 

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