The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) is accepting applications from farmers who wish to participate in these Department programs in Fiscal Year 2020.  Please read program information in the current Request for Response before completing and submitting an application to the MDAR Amherst office by the stated deadline of Tuesday May 7, 2019 for the following 3 programs:

Farm Viability Enhancement Program (FVEP)for established farms

FVEP provides business planning and technical assistance program to help established commercial farms identify strategies to increase farm viability such as new or expanded enterprises, increased productivity, marketing, and/or environmental sustainability.  Participants selected to participate in the program may be offered grant funds of $25,000 to $125,000 to implement strategies identified during the planning process in return for signing an agricultural covenant on the farm property to keep it in agricultural use for a 5 or 10-year term.  Eligible uses of funds are capital projects on the farm such as building or repairing barns, farmstands or other agricultural buildings, modernizing equipment, or improving food processing capacity.

FVEP applications and program information are available by clicking on this link: www.mass.gov/service-details/farm-viability-enhancement-program-fvep

If you would like an application mailed to you contact Melissa Adams at 413-548-1904 or Melissa.L.Adams@mass.gov.

APR Improvement Program (AIP)for APR farms

AIP helps sustain active commercial farming on land that has already been protected through the Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program.  AIP provides business planning and technical assistance to farmers selected to participate in the program. Grants from $25,000 up to $100,000 may be available on a reimbursement basis to implement strategies identified through the planning process improve farm productivity and profitability of participating APR farms.  AIP funds are used primarily for capital improvements, such as constructing or repairing barns, farm stands, livestock housing, or processing facilities; or land management, such as reseeding hay fields, pasture improvements, fencing, or establishing perennial crops.

AIP applications and program information are available by clicking on this link: www.mass.gov/service-details/apr-improvement-program-aip

If you would like an application mailed to you contact Melissa Adams at 413-548-1904 or Melissa.L.Adams@mass.gov.

Matching Enterprise Grants for Agriculture (MEGA)– for beginning farmers            

MEGA is a reimbursement grant program that assists beginning farmers who are between 1 and 5 years in business by providing business planning and technical assistance. Grant funds of up to $10,000 are available on a 1:1 matching cost reimbursement basis to assist participating farmers who aspire to develop their farms into commercially viable operations. Funds are typically used for equipment, infrastructure, or other capital improvements to implement strategies identified during the planning process to help the business grow.

Applications and program information are available by clicking on this link: www.mass.gov/service-details/matching-enterprise-grants-for-agriculture-mega

If you would like an application mailed to you contact Deanna Levanti at 339-235-0859 or beginningfarmercoordinator@gmail.com.