Governor Dannel P. Malloy, joined by Department of Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky, today announced $816,706 in competitive, matching grants to expand Connecticut's $3.5 billion agricultural industry. The investments are made through the Connecticut Department of Agriculture's Farm Transition Grant and Farm Viability Grant programs and will assist farms, agricultural nonprofits, and municipalities increase production, promote Connecticut Grown products, and create jobs.
"Connecticut's agricultural sector has enormous untapped potential," said Governor Malloy. "The investments we are announcing today in small farms and our Regional Market are a clear sign that we can both preserve our agricultural heritage and help it expand and create jobs."
Established in 2005, the grants protect and preserve Connecticut by supporting farm viability and preservation, agricultural infrastructure, municipal open space grants, historic preservation, and affordable housing programs. Funding is generated through a $40 fee collected for the recording of documents into municipal land records. These documents include deeds, mortgages, mechanics' liens, judgment liens, notices of lease, releases of mortgages and liens, name change certificates, notices of variances, and condominium declarations.
"These projects build upon the work and recommendations of the Governor's Council for Agricultural Development," said Commissioner Reviczky. "With feedback gathered over the past year from hundreds of farmers and associated stakeholders, the council has begun shaping a long-range, strategic plan that will vitalize Connecticut agriculture--in turn increasing its existing economic contribution and creating jobs. These matching grants will accelerate the achievement of those benefits for all state residents."
Grantees have one year to complete their projects and must match the award.
The Governor also announced that, at their next meeting, the State Bond Commission will vote on $400,000 in funding to assist the 1940s era Hartford Regional Market make essential roof repairs. The Regional Market is the largest perishable food distribution facility between Boston and New York, covering 32 acres and containing 230,386 square feet of warehouse space, an active railroad spur, and 144 farmers' market stalls. Authorized by state statute, it provides a central location for farmers and wholesalers to sell and distribute food and other agricultural products. The $617,100 roof repair project should be complete by the end of July and will not displace any vendors.
Farm Transition Grants (agricultural producers and cooperatives) -- $320,359 total
Beech Tree Ranch, Bloomfield: Improvements and fixtures for goat dairy, chicken, and hog farm. Total project budget: $99,850; grant award: $49,925
Beltane Farm, Lebanon: Construction of new cheese production room. Total project budget: $25,825; grant award: $12,912
Golden Oyster Company, Shelton: Construction of shellfish harvest vessel. Total project budget: $20,000; grant award: $10,000
Hillyland Farm, Windham: Refurbishment of old dairy facility into tasting and sales room for new winery. Total project budget: $113,100; grant award: $49,999
Mattern Farm, Preston: Refurbishment of dairy into cheese processing facility. Total project budget: $70,050; grant award: $35,025
Mountaintop Mushrooms, Waterbury: Expansion of indoor specialty mushroom growing facility. Total project budget: $70,000; grant award: $35,000
Pell Farms, Somers: Construction of new strawberry packing facility and cooler. Total project budget: $115,000; grant award: $49,999
The Hickories Farm, Ridgefield: Refurbishment of old barn for agricultural programming and community-supported agriculture (CSA) education. Total project budget: $21,000; grant award: $10,500
Valleyside Farm, Woodstock: A computer cow activity system for dairy herd management to improve efficiency and production. Total project budget: $34,000; grant award: $17,000
Vincent Farms, West Suffield: Construction of vegetable grading and packing building, vegetable cooler, and tobacco sorting warehouse and sweat room. Total project budget: $120,950; grant award: $49,999
Farm Viability Grants (municipalities and agricultural non-profit organizations) -- $496,347 total
American Farmland Trust, Windsor: Program to improve agricultural viability of protected lands. Total project budget: $60,199; grant award: $30,219
Bozrah (town): Bozrah Farmers Market promotions. Total project budget: $5,206; grant award: $2,603
Brass City Harvest, Waterbury: Improvements to year round indoor farmers' market. Total project budget: $157,576; grant award: $49,741
City Seed, New Haven: Consumer 10 percent pledge program, including documentation of Connecticut Grown products consumption. Total project budget: $46,725; grant award: $27,793
Community Farm of Simsbury: Expansion of food security and education programs, vegetable wash stations, and equipment. Total project budget: $180,411; grant award: $49,999
East Lyme (town): Marketing and promotion for farmers' market. Total project budget: $10,000; grant award: $3,800
Eastern Connecticut Resource Conservation and Development, Haddam: Project to survey Connecticut farmers about current energy use and establish baseline data. Total project budget: $9,800; grant award: $5,800
Eastern Connecticut Resource Conservation and Development, Vernon: Expansion of the Agvocate Program into additional counties. Total project budget: $172,000; grant award: $44,000
F.R.E.S.H. New London: Development of a workplace community-supported agriculture (CSA) program. Total project budget: $36,400; grant award: $18,100
Friends of Sullivan Farm, New Milford: Construction of greenhouse. Total project budget: $24,066; grant award: $4,813
Guilford (town): Preparation, printing, and distribution of a Guilford farm map. Total project budget: $4,000; grant award: $2,400
Harbor Watch, Westport: Expansion of shoreline tracking effort to help eliminate sources of bacteria identified in 2012. Total project budget: $143,200; grant award: $38,165
Killingly (town): Plan to promote local agriculture through education, farm tours, tomato festival, and enhancement of agriculture commission. Total project budget: $11,125; grant award: $5,855
Lebanon (town): Agricultural education outreach and farmland preservation property appraisals and surveys. Total project budget: $31,925; grant award: $15,000
New Haven Farms, New Haven: A fresh produce prescription program to increase participants' consumption of fresh vegetables and improve health outcomes. Total project budget: $249,825; grant award: $49,999
North End Action Team, Middletown: Maintenance and expansion of Community Food Initiative and the North End Farmers' Market. Total project budget: $62,213; grant award: $30,088
Norwich Public Schools Food Service: Refurbishment of an underused school kitchen to enable processing and increase use of Connecticut Grown produce. Total project budget: $102,516; grant award: $49,999
Putnam (town): Fresh fruits and vegetable prescription program. Total project budget: $51,560; grant award: $32,760
Southbury (town): Farmers' market promotion and advertising. Total project budget: $5,000; grant award: $2,500
The Nature Conservancy of Connecticut, Sunny Valley Preserve, New Milford: Farm building restoration projects. Total project budget: $65,581; grant award: $21,225
Thompson (town): Road sign project for Thompson farms. Total project budget: $8,000; grant award: $4,000
Voluntown (town): Advertising and promotion of farmers' market. Total project budget: $14,976; grant award: $7,488
Information on the Farm Transition Grant and Farm Viability Grant programs and other items can be found at www.CTGrown.gov.