BOSTON — The Baker-Polito Administration today announced grants totaling $400,000 has been awarded to several Commonwealth farms through the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources’ (MDAR) Agricultural Preservation Restriction Program (APR) to improve farm operations. MDAR provides farmers with business planning and technical assistance in addition to grants through its APR Improvement Program (AIP). This year’s grants have been awarded to farms in the following communities: the Cities of Amherst and Easthampton, and the Towns of Plainfield, Sunderland, Westport, and Whately, and will be used to construct hay and equipment storage buildings, produce washing and packing facilities, and a farmstand.
“The Baker-Polito Administration remains committed to the Massachusetts agricultural industry to ensure our local farmers continue to succeed and have the support they need to provide invaluable products for the public to enjoy,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beth Card. “These Agricultural Preservation Restriction Program Improvement grants will further strengthen the Commonwealth’s food supply system making it more resilient now and well into the future.”
“The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources is steadfast with its commitment to our Commonwealth’s farming families,” said MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux. “Through the APR Program we have been able to conserve critical farm land, preserve Massachusetts agricultural history, and provide support to help keep these farm businesses sustainable now and for future generations.”
Since it began in 2009, AIP has provided $6,425,000 in total grants, averaging approximately $70,250 per farm. Additionally, to date a total of $558,958 has been provided in technical assistance to 100 Massachusetts farms, averaging approximately $5,590 per farm. Farms receiving AIP funds this round includes:
|Hay/equipment storage building
|Long Plain Farm
|Produce storage/packing building
|Mountain View Farms
|D.A. Smiarowski Farms
|Produce washing/packing building
|Wolf Tree Farm
|Produce washing/packing building & farmstand
“I thank Governor Baker and the MA Department of Agricultural Resources for their continued support of the Massachusetts agricultural community,” said State Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport), Chair of Joint Committee on Ways and Means.
“The vital APR program has helped to preserve farmland throughout the Commonwealth, including at over 380 APR farms in the Hampshire, Franklin, Worcester district,” stated State Senator Jo Comerford (D-Northampton), Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Health and Joint Committee on Covid-19 and Emergency Preparedness and Management. “I am delighted that these farm improvement grants will fortify the Commonwealth’s food system, increase the availability of fresh and healthy local produce, and help keep farmland as farmland. Congratulations to Foxcroft Farm in Amherst, Long Plain Farm in Whately, and D.A. Smiarowski Farms in Sunderland for these very-well deserved awards.”
“The APR Improvement Program is critical in helping our farmers remain competitive in a changing food production world,” stated State Representative Paul Schmid (D-Westport). “We are deeply indebted to our Governor and Lieutenant Governor for their demonstrated commitment to farmers and food.”
“I am excited that the state is awarding these grants to local farms to support their financial viability. All of us need our farms and farmers to succeed. And we know our farms and farmers need greater attention and resources to survive. These grants look at supporting those farms with land that is already protected for agricultural use and maximizes their capacity for long-term success,” said State Representative Mindy Domb (D-Amherst), Acting Chair of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “I want to congratulate all of today’s recipients, the majority of whom are located in western Massachusetts, as these grants contribute to our region’s economy as well. And, a special shout-out to Foxcroft Farm, located in the 3rd Hampshire District, with my appreciation for its efforts to secure these state resources for our community.”
“Support for our local farms is vital to the success of our food system,” said State Representative Natalie M. Blais (D-Sunderland). “These investments allow farmers to make improvements that will enhance operations and truly make a difference in their long-term viability.”
For more information about AIP, please visit MDAR’s program webpage. AIP is one of several programs within MDAR’s Division of Agricultural Conservation and Technical Assistance (DACTA), whose mission is to advance the conservation and utilization of agricultural resources through preservation, environmental stewardship, technology, technical assistance and education in order to enhance the viability of agricultural enterprises and safeguard natural resources.
–Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources