Baker-Polito Administration Announces Infrastructure Improvement Grants for Massachusetts Farms

BOSTON – December 30, 2015 – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced five
Massachusetts farms with land permanently protected from development through the
state’s Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program have been awarded
$400,000 in total grant funding for infrastructure improvements.

«These agricultural investments help create jobs and make Massachusetts’ farms more
competitive in the national and global marketplace,» said Governor Charlie Baker.
«Our administration is committed to supporting Massachusetts’ vibrant agriculture
industry, which provides fresh, healthy food for the Commonwealth’s residents.»

«The grants awarded will ensure that land protected for agriculture continues to
support commercially viable farm businesses for current and future generations of
Massachusetts farmers,» said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. «Through this year’s
awards, farmers in the Commonwealth will be able to upgrade and expand their
agricultural buildings, keeping their businesses safe and competitive.»

The APR Improvement Program (AIP), established in 2009, is funded by the federal
Farm and Lands Protection Program and is administered by the Department of
Agricultural Resources (DAR). The program also provides recipients with technical
and business planning assistance to identify the best use of funds to improve farm
infrastructure and productivity.

«The Baker-Polito Administration recognizes and supports the valuable economic and
dietary contributions of commercial farmers who are committed to keeping their land
in agriculture,» said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton.
«We are pleased to provide this valuable assistance to farmers across the state who
work tirelessly to keep our agricultural industry thriving and produce nutritious
food for Massachusetts’ residents.»

«Reinvesting in these farms has enabled these businesses to keep up with the
changing dynamics of modern agriculture and demands of today’s consumers,» said DAR
Commissioner John Lebeaux.

This year’s award recipients are located throughout the state in the towns of Adams,
Hatfield, Sunderland, Westborough, and Westport. Grant funding will be used towards
new and expanded agricultural buildings, including a packing and storage facility, a
grapevine propagation facility and improved dairy infrastructure.

The following projects have been funded through this year’s grants:

Farm

Town

Project Description

Award

Burnett Farm

Adams

Barn expansion

$50,000

Luther Belden Farm

Hatfield

Dairy infrastructure improvements

$100,000

Nourse Family Farm

Westborough

Farmstand renovation & plantings

$75,000

The Kitchen Garden

Sunderland

Produce packing & storage building

$75,000

Westport Rivers

Westport

Grapevine propagation facility

$100,000

«These grants provide significant funding to support farming infrastructure in our
state,» said Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst). «Investments in our farms
help meet the demands of consumers for fresh local food while also supporting our
growing agricultural industry and tourism.»

«These grants demonstrate the Baker Administration’s ongoing support of the evolving
agricultural industry in our state,» said State Senator Michael J. Rodrigues
(D-Westport). «Farms are an integral part of many communities across the
Commonwealth and I look forward to the advancements that this funding will
facilitate.»

«Farming is an industry that provides widespread economic benefits to the
Commonwealth, and the Baker-Polito Administration and the Department of Agricultural
Resources’ commitment to reinvesting in these farms is truly admirable,» said State
Representative Paul Schmid (D-Westport).

«I want to thank Governor Baker, Secretary Beaton and Commissioner Lebeaux for their
strong commitment to improving the viability of family farms in western
Massachusetts,» said State Representative Peter V. Kocot (D-Northampton).

«The Russell family would like to thank the Commonwealth and in particular MDAR,»
said Rob Russell, owner of Westport Rivers Winery. «The receipt of the AIP grant
funding is a great help going into our 30th year. We will be using these funds to
contribute to the construction of our own grapevine grafting facility. This
facility will give us the luxury of a consistent supply of quality replacement
vines, surely a great help mastering our next 30 years.»

Since 2009, AIP has provided more than $3.5 million in total grants (average $66,509
per farm) and $330,150 in technical assistance (average $6,229 per farm) to
Massachusetts APR farms that own a combined total of more than 7,000 acres of
protected farmland. For more information about AIP, visit:
http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/agr/about/divisions/aip.html

Since 1979, the Massachusetts APR program has permanently protected over 800 farms
and a total land area of over 68,000 acres. The primary purpose of the APR program
is to preserve and protect agricultural land from being built upon for
non-agricultural purposes or used for any activity detrimental to agriculture.

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