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AGAWAM — Farmers in Western Mass. are invited to apply for Local Farmer Awards of up to $2,500. These awards are for capital/infrastructure improvement projects related to growing, harvesting, and processing that will help farms compete in the marketplace. The Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation, in partnership with Big Y and with the support of other funders, is entering the ninth year of the awards program, which has helped more than 235 farmers carry out a total of 474 projects.

Some examples of how the awards have been used include electric fencing, no-till equipment, irrigation improvements, frost-free water systems, feed troughs, and shade cloth for greenhouses.

“Farmers don’t typically ask for help,” philanthropist and project founder Harold Grinspoon said. “They are genuinely appreciative of these awards and use the money in creative ways for projects to help their farms grow.”

To be eligible, farms must have gross sales of $10,000 or above and either be a member of buy-local organizations Berkshire Grown or Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) or farm in one the four counties of Western Mass. For a full list of eligibility requirements and application information, farmers are encouraged to visit www.farmerawards.org. The deadline for applying is Jan. 31.

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