Bell Brook Farm in West Brookfield
Earlier this month, the Baker-Polito Administration announced $63,788 in grant awards to the Matching Enterprise Grants for Agriculture (MEGA) program, administered through the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR)
The MEGA programs helps beginning farmers expand and improve their farm operations. This year, seven farms located in the Towns of Falmouth, Hadley, Lincoln, Oxford, Sterling, Stow, and West Brookfield were nominated to receive grant assistance. As part of the MEGA Program, participating farmers will receive individual business planning and financial assistance to help guide the growth of their farm business, and if the plan identifies a need for funds, they may receive a matching grant of up to $10,000.
“The Baker-Polito Administration is dedicated to supporting farmers in the Commonwealth, including assisting the state’s beginning farmers, by providing the resources they’ll need to grow their operations,” said Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux. “Dedicated beginning farmers will contribute to the future of a strong regional food supply in Massachusetts, and these grants will go a long way in funding the purchase of farm equipment and infrastructure necessary to help keep these agricultural businesses viable for many years to come.”
Since the MEGA Program began in 2010, it has provided a total of $834,327 in grants to 98 diverse farms throughout the state, averaging approximately $8,500 per farm, and a total of $397,117 in business and technical assistance ($4,052 average per farm). For more information regarding the program, please visit the MDAR MEGA program webpage.
Farms receiving MEGA funds this round are:
|Farm||Town||Grant Award Amount|
|Small Farm Inc||Stow||$6,238|
|Many Graces LLC||Hadley||$10,000|
|Bell Brook Farm LLC||West Brookfield||$7,550|
|Nantucket Sound Shellfish Company||Falmouth||$10,000|
|Hannan Agro Farms||Lincoln||$10,000|
“Access to regionally sourced, fresh and nutritious food is paramount to maintaining healthy and thriving communities” said State Senator John J. Cronin (D-Lunenburg). “With more extreme weather now a common occurrence, it is imperative that we give local farms the resources and tools they need to continue delivering high-quality agricultural products to the region without interruption. I am confident that this grant funding will do exactly that and put our farmers in a position for long-term success.”
“I appreciate that MDAR continues to find ways to support our farms and farmers and this funding, aimed for newer farmers is critical,” stated State Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer). “I am especially glad to see that Bell Brook Farm in West Brookfield will receive a grant that will assist them in revitalizing a sustainable farm and allow more people to experience and enjoy locally grown flowers.”
“We are so pleased that Maplebrook Farmstead will be receiving a MEGA grant,” stated State Representative Kimberly Ferguson (R-Holden) and State Representative Meghan Kilcoyne (D-Northborough). “We have visited their property in Sterling together, and have been so happy to see their progress to date. These investments are critical in supporting the future of farming in the Commonwealth and we are thrilled that Sterling’s own Maplebrook Farmstead will receive this funding. We thank the Administration for their ongoing support of farmers in the Commonwealth, including assisting the state’s beginning farmers.”
MEGA is one of several programs within MDAR’s Division of Agricultural Conservation and Technical Assistance (DACTA), whose mission is to advance the conservation and utilization of agricultural resources through preservation, environmental stewardship, technology, technical assistance, and education in order to enhance the viability of agricultural enterprises and safeguard natural resources.