BOSTON – Today, the Healey-Driscoll Administration announced awards of $710,140 in APR Improvement Program (AIP) funding to nine farms across Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources’ (MDAR) grants provide business planning, technical assistance, and funds to commercial farms with land that has already been protected through MDAR’s Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program to help sustain active commercial farming on the land.
“The assistance provided through AIP will help fund critical infrastructure investments on protected farms,” said EEA Secretary Rebecca Tepper. “Massachusetts is committed to supporting our farms through this important farm viability program. This will ensure the continued economic vitality of our agricultural sector.”
Grant recipients will use these funds to improve or construct new agricultural buildings, such as barns, livestock housing, farmstands or processing facilities. They will also use these funds towards resource improvements, such as wells, establishing perennial crops or fencing. The AIP program also provides additional technical assistance in identified areas of need such as family succession, marketing, or financial tracking to help increase farm sustainability.
“The valuable business and technical assistance provided through AIP will help these farms stay in business for many more generations,” said MDAR Commissioner Ashley Randle. “We thank these farm families for their commitment to preserving our workable farmland in the Commonwealth and keeping it sustainable for years to come.”
“I’m thrilled that the Lewis Family Farm has qualified for grant funding from The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) under their AIP Improvement Program,” said Senator Michael J. Rodrigues, (D-Westport). “The $60,000 they are awarded will enable this Westport farm to build a new storage barn for hay and equipment, greatly improving the quality of the hay, and will help extend the life of the equipment they utilize.”
“Our Commonwealth must continue to invest in our farms and farmers who greatly contribute to our food system,” said Senator Jo Comerford (D-Northampton). “This is what makes the APR Improvement Program (AIP) a win-win for all of us, our farms and farmers receive the funding they need to modernize their operations, and we reap the benefits of sustainable farming for years to come. I am grateful to MDAR for facilitating this grant program and congratulations to Brook’s Bend in Montague and Chase Hill Farm in Warwick on receiving this funding.”
“Farming is at the core of our economy and with the APR Improvement Program, it provides an investment boost to a necessary industry to sustain growth and longevity,” said Senator Robyn Kennedy (D-Worcester). “Thank you to all of the farmers across the Commonwealth for all that you do and congratulations to Nicewicz Family Farm in Bolton and Stones Throw Farm in West Boylston on your grant award.”
“The APR program is a vital resource for Massachusetts farmers, and I extend my sincere thanks to Governor Healey and her team at EEA for stewarding this program,” said Representative Paul Schmid (D-Westport). Westport farmers are incredibly important to the food system and I am proud to have a deserving recipient in my district.”
“Nearly 80% of all farms in Massachusetts are family owned and these farms, like the Nicewicz’s, face developmental pressure and rising costs,” said Representative Kate Hogan (D-Stow). “Programs like the AIP and APR vividly demonstrate the Commonwealth’s commitment to the future of the agricultural industry in Massachusetts and to ensuring that our farms remain vibrant and sustainable for generations to come.”
The following are the grant recipients for Fiscal Year 2023:
Amherst Nurseries – Charlemont, MA: $120,000
Amherst Nurseries will construct a new barn for the storage of both equipment and bare root nursery stock, allowing them to expand production and preserve soil health at their Charlemont location.
Brook’s Bend – Montague, MA: $60,000
Brook’s Bend, LLC will use funds to renovate an existing barn. The renovation will secure a safe structure for current and future farm lessees while increasing the efficiency of washing and packing produce. The renovated structure will also include equipment storage, a farm office, and space for retail sales.
Chase Hill Farm – Warwick, MA: $120,000
Chase Hill Farm will use funds to complete a heavy use area and manure management structure, construct an additional hay storage barn, and repair an existing dairy and hay barn. These projects will improve the dairy herd health and productivity, feed quality, and operational efficiency.
Forthill Farm – Pittsfield, MA: $90,000
Forthill Farm will expand their existing farmstand building, increasing their operational efficiency by creating additional space for retail sales, washing and packaging produce, and storage.
Four Corners Farm – Worthington, MA: $60,000
Four Corners Farm will construct a new agricultural building for retail sales, produce storage, as well as increased efficiency of washing and packaging their produce.
Nicewicz Family Farm – Bolton, MA: $80,140
Nicewicz Family Farm will use funds to build a new equipment storage barn, extending the life of their equipment and decreasing maintenance costs.
Stones Throw Farm – West Boylston, MA: $60,000
Stones Throw Farm will construct a new barn that will serve as a hay storage as well as a retail farmstand, allowing the farm to increase production and sales.
The Lewis Family Farm – Westport, MA: $60,000
The Lewis Family Farm will use funds to build a new hay and equipment storage barn, improving hay quality and extending the life of the haying equipment by protecting it from the elements.
Viveiros Farm – Fairhaven, MA: $60,000
Viveiros Farm will use funds to repair and renovate several existing farm buildings. These repairs will improve the livestock health and productivity by providing a weathertight facility for the herd, improve hay quality and storage capacity by repairing roof leaks, increase the life of stored equipment, and improve access to the structures.