BOSTON — The Baker-Polito Administration, in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) and the Massachusetts Dairy Promotion Board (MDPB), today awarded seven grants totaling $219,609 to projects which seek to advance the brand, sales and demand for Massachusetts dairy products.
“Massachusetts is the proud home of over 110 family-run dairy farms that represent more than $45 million worth of economic activity, and our administration is committed to supporting the ongoing efforts of the state’s dairy industry,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The funds awarded by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and Massachusetts Dairy Promotion Board will continue to educate consumers about the culinary and economic contributions of the Commonwealth’s dairy farmers.”
The MDPB, a nine-member board of state officials and dairy farmers formed to promote Massachusetts dairy products, is chaired by the MDAR commissioner and helps promote increased consumption of dairy products through effective use of promotion, education and research. The MDPB Grant Program, overseen by the board, is funded by the state’s dairy farmers.
“The Commonwealth’s dairy farms are a critical part of the state’s food system and agricultural production,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “The grants funded through the Dairy Promotion Grant program will showcase the innovative spirit of Massachusetts’ dairy farmers and showcase and promote the state’s dairy products to consumers.”
“This grant program allows the Massachusetts Dairy Promotion Board to carry out its mission by funding projects that increase the consumption of all Massachusetts dairy products,” said MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux.
|Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA)||South Deerfield||Compile economic research and educate the public about the value of Massachusetts dairy agriculture, and dairy products.||$30,750|
|Eastern States Exposition||West Springfield||Promote the Massachusetts dairy industry through various venues including Chocolate Milk Day and cooking demonstrations.||$20,700|
|Essex Agricultural Society/Topsfield Fair||Topsfield||Promote the Massachusetts dairy industry through consumer education and distribution of dairy products.||$20,059|
|Massachusetts Association of Dairy Farmers||Conway||Build brand awareness of “Splash in Every Glass” promotional initiative.||$34,100|
|New England Dairy Food Council||Boston||Provide sub-grants to schools in Massachusetts in connection with the Fuel Up to Play 60 initiatives.||$60,000|
|New England Dairy Promotion Board||Boston||Advance the image of MA dairy farmers through promotion at large-scale events.||$42,000|
|Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA)||Barre||Provide consumer education focusing on the positive contributions that dairy farms provide to improve ecosystem services and mitigate climate change.||$12,000|
“Our farmers, and dairy farmers especially, have faced a number of hardships, these grants will have a positive impact and I am glad to partner with the administration on this effort,” said State Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer), Chair of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture. “We can all help support our farms and farmers by buying local and encouraging your family and friends to do the same.”
“The commitment of these state grants by the Baker-Polito Administration represents an opportunity to support healthy consumer options while also supporting dairy farming in our state,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “Family farms are an important part of our Commonwealth’s agriculture because they create jobs, keep open spaces green, and they produce products that arrive fresh and nutritious for all of us.”
“Dairy farms are a vital part of the Massachusetts economy,” said State Representative Brad Hill (R-Ipswich). “With the awarding of these grants, we are helping to educate consumers about the many benefits of local, nutritious dairy products, while promoting and recognizing the work of our Massachusetts dairy farmers. Essex Agricultural Fair/Topsfield Fair does an excellent job year after year in connecting with fair attendees, the general public, and students to educate them about our local dairy farms and products.”
Last month, Governor Baker declared June as Massachusetts Dairy Month. According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s 2017 Agriculture Census, the Commonwealth is home to 115 dairy farms situated on a total of 49,744 acres of farmland. In Massachusetts, the dairy industry contributed approximately $45 million to the state’s local economy, and produced roughly 201 million pounds of fresh, nutritious, wholesome milk a year which is used to make many value-added products like cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and butter.
–Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
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