Governor Deval Patrick’s administration recently awarded nearly $2 million in grants to preserve large tracts of undeveloped land in Western Massachusetts.
Last week Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan announced the Landscape Partnership Program is supporting two projects to protect thousands of acres of agricultural and wooded land from development in Franklin and Berkshire Counties.
Berkshire Grown supports and promotes local agriculture as a vital part of the Berkshire community, economy and landscape.
They will feature a special slate of chefs for their March Maple Dinner on March 18 at Cranwell Resort in Lenox to celebrate the first harvest of the season. The dinner will benefit Berkshire Grown and Share the Bounty, which buys shares in local farms for food pantries.
The New York Farm Bureau has released its state priorities for this year. During a conference call, officials outlined their agricultural policy goals.
Officials with New York’s farm advocacy organization said their focus this year is strengthening the economy and future of farms and growers. Farm Bureau President Dean Norton noted that the average age of a New York farmer is 56. According to a 2007 Ag census, about 19-hundred farm operators are under the age of 35, while over 33-hundred are over age 75.
Frustration and concerns are growing in the agricultural community as the Farm Bill languishes in the U.S. House, and no action appears to be imminent.
The U.S. Farm Bill expires at the end of the year. At that time, some programs will revert to previous funding levels and others will sunset. Some programs, like the Milk Income Loss Program - or MILC - a support program for dairy farmers, has already ended. The Senate has passed the bill, but House leadership has not brought it to a floor vote.
Recently, the Governor of Massachusetts announced 27 grants to benefit farmers across the Commonwealth, to assist in improving energy efficiency, and to implement renewable energy systems. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…
The grants totaling $325,000 are part of the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources’ Agriculture Energy Grant Program. In the fifth year of the grant program, 27 farms from the Berkshires to Nantucket were awarded funding to reduce energy costs and improve efficiency.