State Announces Infrastructure-improvement Grants for Farms
BOSTON — The Baker-Polito administration recently announced that five Massachusetts farms with land permanently protected from development through the state’s Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program — including three in Western Mass. — have been awarded $400,000 in grant funding for infrastructure improvements.
“These agricultural investments help create jobs and make Massachusetts’ farms more competitive in the national and global marketplace,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “Our administration is committed to supporting Massachusetts’ vibrant agriculture industry, which provides fresh, healthy food for the Commonwealth’s residents.”
The local grantees include Burnett Farm in Adams, $50,000 for barn expansion; Luther Belden Farm in Hatfield; $100,000 for dairy infrastructure improvements; and the Kitchen Garden in Sunderland, $75,000 for produce packing and storage building.
“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 Lt. Gov. 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, established in 2009, is funded by the federal Farm and Lands Protection Program and is administered by the Department of Agricultural Resources. The program also provides recipients with technical and business-planning assistance to identify the best use of funds to improve farm infrastructure and productivity.
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.