Local farms, towns receive agriculture grants

Three local farms and several local towns are among recipients of agricultural grants announced today by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and state Department of Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky.

A total of $880,327 in state funds was allocated to more than 40 farms, agricultural nonprofits and municipalities as part of an ongoing effort to expand Connecticut's growing agricultural economy, a news release from the governor's office.

"Our diverse and vibrant agriculture sector is an important economic driver for our state with enormous potential for future job creation and economic growth," Malloy said. "These grants are a clear sign that we can both preserve our agricultural heritage and help it expand and create jobs."

Funding was made through the Agriculture Department's Farm Transition Grant and Farm Viability Grant programs, designed to increase farm production, promote Connecticut Grown products and create jobs. The funding – which requires a match from the grantee - will leverage nearly $2.4 million in investments. Funded projects will improve dairy, mushroom, Christmas tree and fruit farms, help build greenouses, modernize retail farm stand stands and maple syrup stands, expand wineries, promote farmers' markets and build and facility to raise eels through aquaculture.

"Connecticut's agriculture economy is making many significant advances in the right direction, and these grants will help keep that momentum going," Reviczky said. "These are important investments that will benefit both producers and consumers."

Grants to local farms include:

• Six Paca Farm, Bozrah, $18,000 to increase fiber mill efficiency through purchase of compressor for washer and carding machine; hot water heater for faster, efficient heat, and a rug yarn-winder and a tumbler that cleans fibers. The total project budget is $36,200.

• M&K Dairy, Lebanon, $20,000 toward construction of a pavilion for educational functions on preserved land site. The total project budget is $40,000.

• Holmberg Orchards, Gales Ferry, $38,379 towards the purchase of an orchard work platform and pruning system. The total project budget is $76,758.

Grants to nonprofits and local towns include:

• American Farmland Trust, Windsor, $11,803 to update and reprint the booklet "Conservation Options for CT Farmland." The total project budget is $22,202.

• CT Northeast Organic Farming Association, $3,500 for an educational marketing campaign. The total project budget is $7,000.

• Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, $45,960- for a two-year low trellis hop trial research for small farmers. The total project budget is $76,600.

• River COG Regional Agriculture Council, Essex, $42,000 to connect area farms in 17-town region through website, brochures, conference and analysis. The total project budget is $70,000.

• Town of Bozrah, $2,536 for farmers' market promotions. The total project budget is $5,073.

• Town of Essex, $2,999 for Ivoryton Village Farmers' market promotions and advertising. The total project budget is $6,000.

• Town of Lebanon, $15,000 for farmland preservation property appraisals and surveys and market master and farmers' market promotions. The total project budget is $30,591.

• Town of East Lyme, $5,000 for Niantic Farmers' Market promotions and advertising. The total project budget: $11,400.

• Town of Voluntown, $6,088 for farmers' market promotions and advertising. The total project budget is $13,563.

For information about these grants, visit: www.ct.gov/doag/. Click on: "Programs and Services" and then: "Agriculture Viability Grants."

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