BOSTON — The Baker-Polito Administration today awarded 23 grants totaling $350,000 to Massachusetts farmers for the installation of conservation practices that prevent or mitigate direct impacts on water and air quality and ensure efficient water use. Through the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources’ (MDAR) Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program (AEEP), these grants will continue to advance environmental protection measures within the state’s agricultural sector and help farms across the Commonwealth fund various environmental projects, including the installation of automated irrigation systems and tailwater recovery for cranberry operations, manure storage for dairy farms, and irrigation for produce farms.
“The agricultural community plays an important and active role in the Commonwealth’s environmental stewardship and overall economy,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The funding awarded under the Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program positions farmers to advance techniques that preserve and protect critical resources, while working closely with our administration to help agricultural operations remain environmentally sustainable and economically viable.”
Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program Grants fund projects that improve water quality, promote water conservation, and/or improve air quality. Selected farmers are reimbursed for the approved costs of materials and labor up to $25,000. Additionally, farms must be actively devoted to agricultural or horticultural use, and projects that address significant resource concerns are more likely to receive AEEP funding.
“Water conservation and improved irrigation are important components of the Baker-Polito Administration’s efforts to ensure resiliency to climate change,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “Farms across the Commonwealth work tirelessly to protect the state’s local food supply, and the funding awarded will ensure they are able to produce healthy, nutritious food while continuing efforts to protect our environment.”
AEEP 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. AEEP has funded over 500 projects statewide since 1999, providing growers and producers over $6 million dollars to help address environmental concerns on their farms.
“The Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program is a longstanding opportunity offered by our Department to help Massachusetts farmers implement environmentally responsible practices,” said MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux. “I congratulate these recipients who have each shown a commitment to work towards improving the Massachusetts’ environment and conserving our natural resources.”
The following farms received grants:
|Handy Cranberry Trust||Cataumet||Barnstable||$12,900||Two Automated Irrigation Systems|
|Teddy C. Smiarowski III Farm||Hatfield||Hampshire||$8,000||Drip Irrigation System|
|Almeida Farms||Rehoboth||Bristol||$25,000||Slurry Store|
|Cedar Meadow Cranberry, Inc.||Carver||Plymouth||$25,000||Irrigation Pump; Fuel Storage|
|Hi & Dri Cranberry Co.||Lakeville||Plymouth||$20,000||Automated Irrigation System; Irrigation Pump|
|North Weston Cranberries, Inc.||Carver||Plymouth||$7,000||By-pass Pipe|
|Morey Custom Services, Inc.||Plymouth||Plymouth||$13,000||Lift Pump|
|Rivers Edge Realty, LLC||Middleboro and Carver||Plymouth||$14,900||Seven Flumes|
|Clarkdale Fruit Farms, Inc.||Deerfield||Franklin||$4,000||Pesticide Storage|
|Whitney’s Farm Market, LLC||Cheshire||Berkshire||$12,500||Pesticide Storage|
|Dick’s Market Garden, Inc.||Lunenburg||Worcester||$19,900||Drip Irrigation System|
|Shoe String Bog Co.||Carver||Plymouth||$25,000||Automated Irrigation System; Lift Pump|
|Wenham Pond Cranberry, LLC||Carver||Plymouth||$1,700||Automated Irrigation Upgrades|
|Ryegate Farm, LLC||Plympton||Plymouth||$20,000||Composting System|
|Sunrise Farms||Colrain||Franklin||$25,000||Zero Emissions Electric Evaporator|
|Sweet Brook Farm, LLC||Williamstown||Berkshire||$25,000||Fencing; HUA; Water Pipeline|
|Paradise Hill Farm||Westport||Bristol||$1,600||Pesticide Storage|
|Red Eye Cranberry Corp.||Middleboro||Plymouth||$25,000||Lift Pump|
|Elliot Farm||Lakeville||Plymouth||$4,500||Pesticide Storage|
|Sidehill Farm||Hawley||Franklin||$10,000||Retrofit Bark-Bed System|
|Maple Park Bogs||Wareham||Plymouth||$15,500||Irrigation Pump|
|Medico Cranberry||Carver||Plymouth||$17,500||Lift Pump|
|Spartan Cranberries, LLC||Middleboro||Plymouth||$17,000||Irrigation Pump|
“I am delighted that nine of the grants totaling over $148,000 are being awarded to agricultural operations in towns I represent,” said State Representative Susan Gifford(R-Wareham). “This demonstrates how important the role of agricultural and conservation is to our region. Many thanks to the Baker-Polito Administration for continuing to honor their commitment.”
“I applaud these grant recipients for striving to advance agricultural techniques that preserve and protect our environmental resources,” said State Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport). “The hardworking producers of our food supply are vitally important to the daily lives of every resident of the Commonwealth, but efforts like these can have a positive affect for generations to come.”
“I am very pleased that the agricultural communities of Carver, Middleborough, and Wareham will be receiving critical resources to implement new technology and promote environmental sustainability,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton). “Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program grants help ensure that farms in the Commonwealth can operate at capacity while still protecting the state’s natural resources. I look forward to seeing the results of these important projects and would like to especially convey my gratitude to all those who participated in submitting a successful application.”
“The AEEP awards allow our farms to implement measures which will protect the environment and promote conservation,” said State Representative John Barrett (D-North Adams)
“I congratulate all of the farms that are receiving these grants to help to make their operations more sustainable and improve environmental quality at the same time,”said State Representative Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington). “Farmers are among the best stewards of our land and water resources, and this partnership with MDAR helps to ensure that our Commonwealth will continue to benefit from responsible and conscientious farming practices.”
For further information regarding AEEP Grants and other funding programs, please visit the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources webpage.
–Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
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