Application Period Open for MDAR Viability Grant Programs

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) is accepting applications from Massachusetts farmers who wish to participate in these Department programs that help with farm viability in Fiscal Year 2021. The due date for applications to be received is Monday, April 13, 2020.

Program information and applications are available on the Department website program links provided below. If you would like more information or would like an application mailed to you, contact information is provided after each program description below.

Farm Viability Enhancement Program (FVEP) – This business planning and technical assistance program provides business planning and technical assistance to develop or update a business plan for established farms. In return for a short-term covenant to keep the land in agricultural use, operators may be eligible for grants to implement farm growth and sustainability strategies. Grant levels have increased to $50,000; $100,000; and $150,000 in return for a 5, 10, or 15-year covenant, depending on the size of the farm. Examples of uses of funds through the Farm Viability Program include constructing new farm buildings or repairing existing structures, purchasing farm equipment, purchasing delivery vehicles and tractors, and adding or improving retail marketing structures or food processing facilities.

For a FVEP application or more information, go to: www.mass.gov/service-details/farm-viability-enhancement-program-fvep and click on “FVEP FY21-28 RFR” or contact Melissa Adams at Melissa.L.Adams@mass.gov or 413-726-2001.

APR Improvement Program (AIP) – for APR farms – This business planning and technical assistance program helps sustain active commercial farming on land that has already been protected through the state’s Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program. AIP provides business planning assistance to farmers selected to participate in the program and grants may be available on a reimbursement basis to implement identified improvements on the farm to increase productivity and profitability. Grant levels have increased to $40,000; $80,000; or $120,000 depending on the size of the farm and acreage under APR, with a required minimum farmer matching contribution of 25% of the grant amount. AIP funds are used primarily for capital improvements to farm infrastructure, such as new or improved barns for storage or livestock housing, farm stands, or processing facilities; or resource improvements for agricultural use, such as orchard renovations and fencing.

For an AIP application or more information go to: www.mass.gov/service-details/apr-improvement-program-aip and click on “AIP FY21-12 RFR” or contact Michael Parker at Michael.Parker@mass.gov or 413-726-2008.

Matching Enterprise Grants for Agriculture (MEGA) – helps beginning farmers, who have been in business at least one (1) but no more than six (6) years, with business planning assistance and grant funds of up to $10,000 on a one to one matching cash reimbursement basis for farm improvements. It is the objective of the MEGA Program to assist beginning farmers who aspire to develop their farms into commercially viable operations. Funds may be used for equipment, infrastructure or other capital improvements identified through the business planning process that will have a positive impact on farm viability. Common uses of MEGA grant funds include greenhouses, farm building renovations, tractor implements, and refrigerated delivery trucks.

For a MEGA application or more information go to: www.mass.gov/service-details/matching-enterprise-grants-for-agriculture-mega and click on “MEGA FY21-11 RFR” or contact Deanna Levanti at beginningfarmercoordinator@gmail.com or 339-235-0859.