Press Release

Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Announces Grants to Help Farms Address Climate Change

New Grant Program Announced During Agriculture Day Will Help Farmers Improve Climate Resiliency and Reduce Emissions
For immediate release:
3/27/2018
  • Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
  • Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources

Media Contact

Katie Gronendyke

BOSTONWhile celebrating Massachusetts’ farmers at Agriculture Day at the Massachusetts State House, the Baker-Polito Administration today announced $500,000 in grants to 16 Massachusetts farms to install practices that help mitigate their impacts on climate change and adapt to changing climate conditions. The grants were awarded through the new Agricultural Climate Resiliency & Efficiencies (ACRE) Program, which was created as part of the implementation of Governor Baker’s Executive Order 569, which lays out a comprehensive approach to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard residents, municipalities and businesses from the impacts of climate change, and build a more resilient Commonwealth. 

Agriculture Day is a collaborative effort between the Massachusetts Promotional Board and the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation which brought farmers, producers and agricultural organizations together to feature and promote the diverse locally-grown food and farm products available across the Commonwealth and to discuss challenges affecting the agricultural industry.

“As we celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of Massachusetts’ 7,800 farms on Agriculture Day, we are proud to unveil the ACRE grant program as part of our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector and ensure the long-term success of farms across our Commonwealth,” said Governor Charlie Baker.  “Support from the ACRE program will help Massachusetts farms and food suppliers better prepare for intense weather and unpredictable storms.”

“Agriculture Day is an opportunity to recognize Massachusetts’ hardworking farming community and encourage people to buy fresh, environmentally safe, and nutritious foods and agricultural products from their local farmers,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Massachusetts farmers are leading the way in addressing greenhouse gas emissions and making their operations environmentally sustainable, and the ACRE program will offer resources to help farmers continue to adapt their operations to be better prepare for future conditions and help the Commonwealth meet our ambitious climate and emissions goals.”

The ACRE program funds materials and labor for the implementation of practices that work towards improving soil health, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and sequestering carbon. As impacts to farms are expected to result from more frequent and severe storm events, increased precipitation followed by periods of drought, higher overall temperature and increased evaporation rates, the program also offers incentives for agricultural operations to proactively address risks and strengthen their economic and environmental resiliency as they adapt to the changing climate. Proposals that address both mitigation and adaptation in their proposals are prioritized in funding.

“On Agriculture Day, the Baker-Polito Administration is proud to continue to work with and support the Massachusetts agricultural industry, which is a vital part of the state’s economy and provides clean, healthy food to Massachusetts residents,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton.  “Continuing our commitment to the long-term viability of agriculture in the Commonwealth, the new ACRE grant program will help incentivize innovation in the agricultural sector in addressing its vulnerability to climate change, improve agricultural economic resiliency, and reduce the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions.”

“Agriculture Day is an important venue for farmers and producers to discuss opportunities as well as challenges of the Massachusetts agricultural industry to state officials directly,” said Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) Commissioner John Lebeaux.  “As MDAR continues to work to support farmers and their needs for the future, we are excited to offer farmers grants through our new ACRE program, which is intended to position farmers to manage their operations in a time of increasing climate variability.”

The following local farms are receiving grants through the ACRE program:

Farm Name

Project Type

City

Award

Freedom Food Farm

No-Till Drill & Roller-Crimper

Raynham

$16,400

Devine Brothers Partnership

No-Till Drill

Hadley

$32,000

Royal Crest Farm, LLC

No-Till Drill

Spencer

$27,900

Sunny Knoll Farm

No-Till Drill; Cast Iron Closing Wheels

Westminster

$27,800

Walnut Lane, LLC

No-Till Drill & Roller-Crimper

Dudley

$29,800

Lilac Hedge Farm, LLC

Conversion to Rotational Grazing Forage Ground

Berlin

$48,000

Farmer Dave's

Controlled Atmosphere Modules for Fruit & Vegetable Storage

Dracut

$45,000

Carter & Stevens Farm, LLC

No-Till Drill & Roller-Crimper; No-Till Planter Modification

Barre

$30,000

Davidian Bros. Farm, LLC

No-Till Planter; Water Filtration System

Northborough

$40,000

North Plain Farm, LLC

No-Till Drill and Input Spreader

Great Barrington

$30,000

Astarte Farm

Flail Mower for Terminating Cover Crops

Hadley

$4,600

Queen's Greens dba Black Squirrel, LLC

Wells & Frost-Free Water Lines

Amherst

$50,000

Baker Farm

No-Till Drill

Swansea

$27,700

Maple Shade Farm, Inc.

No-Till Corn Planter & Roller Crimper

Sheffield

$48,900

Bardwell Farm

No-Till Planter

Hatfield

$11,900

Jordan Dairy Farm, Inc.

No-Till Drill

Rutland

$30,000

Agriculture Day awards were presented to current State Representative John Scibak (D-South Hadley), EEA Secretary Matthew Beaton, and Steven Goodwin, Deputy Chancellor & Chief Planning Officer at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst. A memorial award for the MDAR late Assistant Commissioner and Chief of Staff Kent Lage was presented posthumously to Henry Gillet.

“Agriculture is an essential part of our society,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton), founding chair of the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change. “Climate change mitigation and protection need to be implemented to ensure the viability and long-term success of our Commonwealth’s farms. These grants will help support our farmer’s needs, and I look forward to seeing the fruits of their labor for many more years to come.”

“Everyone always looks forward to Ag Day every year. It's a 'can't-miss' day, providing most legislators with a unique opportunity to connect with farmers from across Massachusetts while also allowing farmers to showcase the fruits of their labor,” said State Representative John Scibak (D-South Hadley). “While it's an honor to be recognized as Legislator of the Year here at the State House, seeing so many farmers here from the Pioneer Valley reminds me and should remind us all of the important, hard work done in all corners of our great Commonwealth to bring fresh, local agricultural products.

“Today I am very proud of Freedom Food Farm for being awarded an Agricultural Climate Resiliency & Efficiencies (ACRE) Grant!  These monies will assist Freedom Food Farm in helping to reduce GHG emissions as well as providing long term farm resiliency not only here in Raynham, but across the whole Commonwealth,” said State Representative Angelo D'Emilia (R-Bridgewater).  “I look forward to hearing of the successful work this farm will do to strengthen our local environmental resiliency.”

“A sure sign of Spring is this day to recognize all the benefits of local agriculture and to thank the farmers who provide us with produce and products,” said State Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer). “Our farmers are constantly doing their part to keep farms sustainable while balancing environmental issues. These grants are an important piece of that mission and I congratulate all the awardees and their willingness to try new practices for the good of our climate.”

“As the House Chair of the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee, I am so proud that the legislature holds an Agricultural Day every year at the State House. Putting local faces to the agricultural industry helps folks understand just how vital the farming sector is to the economy here in Massachusetts and it really helps bring attention to critical policy issues that some people may not know about otherwise,” said State Representative Smitty Pignatelli (D-Lenox). I also want take the time to thank the Baker-Polito Administration and Commissioner Lebeaux for recognizing the impact climate change has on the agricultural sector here in Massachusetts. It is an area that does not get enough attention and these grants from the ACRE program will go a long way in helping the industry mitigate and adapt. I am proud to represent two farms, North Plain Farm and Maple Shade Farm, who clearly understand the need to change farming practices in order to address climate change. Improving soil quality, reducing GHG emissions, and resiliency are all things to get behind and support. 

As part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to combat and prepare for climate change, Governor Baker recently filed legislation to authorize over $1.4 billion in capital allocations for investments in safeguarding residents, municipalities and businesses from the impacts of climate change, protecting environmental resources, and investing in communities. The legislation would put into law essential components of Governor Baker’s Executive Order 569, which established an integrated strategy for climate change adaptation across the Commonwealth, including the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program and the Statewide Hazard Mitigation and Adaptation Plan – a blueprint to protect residents, communities, and local economies.

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Media Contact

Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs 

The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs seeks to protect, preserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s environmental resources while ensuring a clean energy future for the state’s residents. Through the stewardship of open space, protection of environmental resources, and enhancement of clean energy, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs works tirelessly to make Massachusetts a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family.

Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources 

The Department’s mission is to help keep the Massachusetts’ food supply safe and secure, and to work to keep Massachusetts agriculture economically and environmentally sound.

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