Lt. Governor Polito joins Officials and Cranberry Grows at Slocum Gibbs Cranberry Company in Rochester
The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $991,837 to 21 cranberry growers for bog renovation projects. Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito announced the grants at Slocum Gibbs Cranberry Company’s cranberry bog in Rochester.
The grants, awarded through the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources’ new Massachusetts Cranberry Bog Renovation Enhancement Grant (MCRE) Program, will help renovate existing cranberry bogs, providing higher yields and more efficient methods of cranberry production for participating growers.
Governor Charlie Baker said the state’s cranberry industry “has been a vital part of the environment and economy of Massachusetts for over 200 years, and our administration is committed to working with cranberry growers to ensure the long-term viability of this industry. This new grant program builds on the recommendations of the Cranberry Revitalization Task Force by providing support for cranberry growers to create more efficient bogs and improve their business and environmental sustainability.”
In 2016, Cranberry Revitalization Task Force’s final report included a recommendation to provide funding for cranberry growers to renovate their bogs, allowing for more efficient production and cultivation of the larger, higher-yield fruits. The Environmental Bond Bill signed by Governor Baker in 2018 included funding for these grants.
Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito said, “By supporting these enhancement projects, our administration continues to support cranberry growers by providing the needed capital for their expansion. As the Commonwealth’s cranberry growers face ongoing economic challenges, MCRE grants help drive economic growth and opportunities for these local businesses.”
The grant recipients will receive funds for capital expenditures ranging from specialized equipment needed to level and reconfigure bogs, improving irrigation systems and improving irrigation efficiencies, and higher yield variety vines. The projects will improve growers’ environmental impact, increase bog productivity, and offer more efficient methods of production for growers.
Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides said the investments made for bog improvements “will help local agriculture enterprises reduce environmental impacts, boost production, along with greatly increasing their overall sustainability.”
Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) Commissioner John Lebeaux said the MCRE program “is intended to support cranberry growers in managing their operations in a time of increased industry challenges. We are excited to be adding this program to our suite of funding programs to help address growers’ needs for the future.”
The cranberry industry is the state’s third largest agricultural sector, and boasts 363 cranberry farms on over 13,555 acres. At nearly $59 million, the agricultural value of the cranberry industry makes up 13% of the state’s total agricultural value, despite the industry representing only 4.5% of the state’s farms and 2.7% of the state’s agricultural acreage.
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