The Patrick-Murray administration today announced 43 grants totaling $662,000 for projects that will help farmers mitigate or prevent negative impacts to natural resources from agricultural practices.
Awarded through the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources’ (DAR) Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program (AEEP) grants went to farms in the towns of Ashfield, Barnstable, Bernardston, Carlisle, Carver, Conway, Deerfield, Duxbury, East Longmeadow, Egremont, Hadley, Harvard, Harwich, Ipswich, Lakeville, Leominster, Middleboro, Middleborough, Plymouth, Plympton, Rochester, South Carver, Sudbury, Wareham, West Brookfield, West Wareham, Williamsburg, and Worthington. These grants will fund projects such as insulation for winter crop storage, photovoltaic systems, and wastewater treatment systems.
“We are pleased to help farmers make their agricultural practices more sustainable,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles. “These awards are another example of the Patrick Administration’s efforts to conserve natural resources throughout the Commonwealth.”
“In the past decade, the AEEP program has helped Massachusetts farmers address potential impacts on environmental resources and achieve the goal of energy efficiency,” said DAR Commissioner Scott Soares. “I congratulate these recipients who are taking steps toward a more sustainable future.”
AEEP funds water quality programs and practices that promote energy efficiency, water conservation, and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Farmers selected to participate are reimbursed for the approved costs of materials up to $30,000.
AEEP has funded 288 projects statewide since 1999, providing growers and producers more than $3 million to address environmental concerns on their farms. To be eligible for AEEP funds, growers’ property must consist of at least five contiguous acres of land under the same ownership and be actively devoted to agricultural or horticultural use, have at least three acres in bog production, or have at least 5,000 square feet under greenhouse production. Aquaculture operations must possess a current valid shellfish aquaculture license.
Press release from Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs