HARTFORD, Conn. — The Connecticut Department of Agriculture (CT DoAg) today announced the recipients of grant funds through the Farm Transition Grant (FTG), with a total of $549,649 going to 30 projects to assist Connecticut agricultural producers and cooperatives seeking to expand, diversify, and improve their existing operation. The FTG grant program strengthens the economic viability of Connecticut farmers through four dynamic categories to address gaps in funding to support them in times of growth and change.
“Three years ago, we modified the FTG program to better align with the needs of farmers – from new and beginning to established – and since then we have experienced a greater diversity of applications and projects. We have also begun sharing some of the success stories of farm businesses who have implemented innovative projects to date,” said Agriculture Commission Bryan P. Hurlburt. “These funds are providing meaningful assistance to a wide variety of producers to make positive lasting impacts on their own business model, as well as contribute to the state’s economy, job growth, and food production.”
The four categories reflect the life cycle of Connecticut farm businesses to assist them during all stages of business growth and development to bring CT Grown products to market while increasing farm sustainability. These categories were: New Farmer Micro Grant, Infrastructure Investment, Research and Development, and Innovation and Diversification.
A total of 58 applications were received with a total request in excess of $1 million in grant funds for eligible projects. The maximum grant award amount was $49,999. Matching funds were required for each category ranging from 25% in the New Farmer Micro Grant up to 50% of the total project cost for Infrastructure Investment and Innovation and Diversification. Following a review process, 30 projects were selected for funding based on scoring criteria. The projects receiving funding this round are:
Innovation and Diversification Projects:
- The Hickories of Ridgefield, Ridgefield, Multipurpose workspaces/processing facility for crops, flowers, and native ecotypic seed with cool-bot and “dry-bot” rooms for freeze-proof dry storage.
- Rogers Orchards, Southington, Hard cider kegging equipment, cider concession truck with custom bar, and tasting area.
- Halfinger Farm, Higganum, Reconstruction of an existing barn into a daffodil bulb processing barn.
- Roaring Brook Farm, Ellington, Modernizing a centennial dairy farm for energy efficiency, animal health, and cleaner environment.
- Cold Spring Farm, Colchester, Temperature-controlled seed storage, walk-in cooler, freezer room, laboratory, classroom/workshop space, and a 20’x42’ root cellar.
- Sixpenny Oyster Farm, Groton, Oyster tumbler, supplies for additional floating bags and bottom cages.
- Mountain Dairy, Storrs, Improving cow comfort, flow, and efficiency in the milking parlor through barn renovation and parlor curtains.
- Pleasant View Farms, Somers, 8’x10’ walk-in freezer and cattle feedlot improvement.
- Wilkinson Farm, Columbia, Higher capacity evaporator and value-added product equipment.
- Harmony Sea Farm, Stonington, Oyster seed sorter, work platform, oyster bags, clips, and floats.
- Star Light Gardens, Durham/Middlefield, High tunnel refurbish with climate smart materials and drip irrigation.
- Sub Edge Farm, Farmington, 10’x30’ walk-in freezer.
- New Boston Beef, North Grosvenordale, 10’x14’ walk-in freezer and two reach-in freezers.
- Dzen Brothers, Broad Brook, Bed shaper, mulch and drip layer, plastic lifter, plastic and drip roller, planter with wheels and spikes, water filter and fertilizer injector, and drip tape irrigation.
- Smokedown Farm, Sharon, Groundwater, run-off and well-fed irrigation pond and higher capacity irrigation pump.
- The GOOD Farm, Columbia, 7’x12’ mobile cooler or freezer trailer.
- Echo Farm, Woodstock, Two walk-in coolers and a wash/pack area.
- Dovehill Farm, Moosup, 12’x24’ building for woodworking shop.
- Acer Gardens, Deep River, 25 3’x6’ double-tiered metal benches and 29 6’x6’ double-tiered metal benches.
- Lindell Flower Farm, New Hartford, 12’x20’ building for roadside stand.
Research and Development Projects:
- Meechooôk Farm, North Stonington, Feasibility study for a meat processing plant.
New Farmer Projects:
- Maple Bank Farm, Roxbury, Tine weeder and 3 row cultivator kit.
- Chris Kardys’ Farm, West Granby, Hay barn roof and siding repair.
- Bouquet and Blueberry Gardens, Windham Center, 16’x48’ high tunnel.
- Provider Farms, Salem, 60-72” flail mower.
- Abiding Acres, Suffield, Greens spinner and two caterpillar tunnels.
- Raspberry Hill Farm, Colebrook, Freeze dryer and materials to package a new value-added product.
- Union Bee Company, Union, Milling logs for bee colony assembly.
- River Ridge Farm, Portland, Eleven shade cloths for greenhouses.
- Gardeners to Farmers Greenhouse, Hartford, HVAC system for indoor farm.
The Farm Transition Grant is a matching reimbursement grant program and funding is provided through C.G.S. Section 22-26k. Additional information about the program can be found at www.CTGrown.gov/Grants.
The Connecticut Department of Agriculture mission is to foster a healthy economic, environmental, and social climate for agriculture by developing, promoting, and regulating agricultural businesses; protecting agricultural and aquacultural resources; enforcing laws pertaining to domestic animals; and promoting an understanding among the state’s citizens of the diversity of Connecticut agriculture, its cultural heritage, and its contribution to the state’s economy. For more information, visit www.CTGrown.gov.
–Connecticut Department of Agriculture