The Connecticut Department of Agriculture (DoAg) is seeking applications for its 2019 Farm Transition Grant program. Applications are due Thursday, February 14, 2019.
Farm Transition Grants are awarded to farmers and agricultural cooperatives for activities such as diversifying existing farm operations, transitioning to value-added agricultural production and sales, and developing farmers’ markets and other venues for the sale of Connecticut Grown products.
Awards are made as reimbursements of up to $49,999, and must be matched by the recipient, who has one year to complete the approved project.
The purpose of the program is to strengthen the economic viability of Connecticut farmers and agricultural cooperatives.
The application process is competitive. Activities eligible for funding by the Farm Transition Grant must advance farming and agriculture. Priority will be given to the following project types:
On-farm improvements to comply with the Produce Safety Rule of the Food Safety Modernization Act
Meeting food safety requirements for advanced positioning in the marketplace.
Strengthening infrastructure to meet changing climate conditions.
Increasing year-round availability of Connecticut Grown products while enhancing farm viability.
Diversification of existing farm operations into new and emerging crops and/or product lines.
DoAg will hold three information session for applicants to learn about the Farm Transition Grant application process and learn how to write a project plan.
One session will be held on Thursday, January 31, 2019, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. at the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association, 78 Beaver Road, Wethersfield, CT. The snow date for this session is Friday, February 1, 2019, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. at the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association. To register for this session contact Jaime Smith at Jaime.Smith@ct.gov or 860-713-2559.
The other two information sessions will be held on Saturday, February 2, 2019, during the Annual Agricultural Re$ource Fair at Auerfarm, 158 Auer Farm Rd, Bloomfield, CT. The first session will be held from 10:15 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., and the second session will be held from 11:15 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
To register for either of the information sessions at Auerfarm go to https://newfarms.uconn.edu/solidground/3rd-annual-agricultural-reource-fair and register for free to attend the Agricultural Re$ource Fair.
For additional information and application materials for the Farm Transition Grant go to www.CTGrown.gov/grants or contact Jaime Smith at Jaime.Smith@ct.gov or 860-713-2559.
Since 2006, Farm Transition Grants have been an important tool for many Connecticut farm families to invest in agricultural buildings, equipment, fencing, promotional projects, energy efficiency improvements, and a wide variety of other projects.
In 2018, Farm Transition Grants were awarded to 19 applicants for a total award of $445,800 which leveraged $1,682,493 in matching funds as part of the competitive matching grant program.
A few examples of farmers that have successfully completed 2018 Farm Transition Grant awards projects include Acer Gardens, Betsy’s Farm Stand, Bussa Orchards, and Koewing Manor Farm.
Doug Bussa of Bussa Orchards in Glastonbury, CT, was awarded $24,000 for a $54,248 project to purchase a 24-foot Freightliner refrigerated truck for delivering produce to wholesale markets.
The project, which also includes wrapping the truck in the farm logo, helps Doug comply with the FSMA Produce Safety Rule (PSR).
The newer, larger refrigerated truck will also allow Bussa Orchards to expand and diversify into other wholesale markets.
Bill and Sharon Harris of Acer Gardens were awarded $45,000 to support a $99,998 project to build a 30’ x 96’ hoop greenhouse for propagation, potting, and growing plants on their farm in Deep River, CT.
The project, which includes a new poured concrete floor, an automatic pot filler, automated roof vents, and rolling benches, will allow Acer Gardens to maximize selling space in their other seven hot houses and outdoor holding areas.
The Farm Transition Grant helped Acer Gardens to mechanize and become a more efficient nursery that will be able to produce larger quantities and more varieties of crops.
Scott Ragaglia of Koewing Manor Farm in Harwinton, CT, was awarded $6,500 for a $17,156 project for modifications to an existing barn that creates a safe and secure facility for sale of their Scottish highland beef to the public. The project included new windows, doors, electric wiring, and a new concrete floor for the barn. The project also includes a new freezer for safe storage of processed meat for sale.
Betsy Molodich of Betsy’s Farm Stand in Moosup, CT, was awarded $6,800 to help pay a portion of the $13,765 cost associated with the purchase a new sprayer and potato planter.
The new 200-gallon sprayer provides Betsy with a more efficient way to spray fruits and vegetables and use less spray material.
The new potato planter is a more efficient way of planting potatoes that has enabled Betsy to plant more potatoes in 2018 than ever before.
Farm Transition Grant awards are funded through the Community Investment Act (CIA). Established through P.A. 05-228 and codified in C.G.S. Sec. 4-66aa – Sec. 4-66cc, CIA supports statewide initiatives in agricultural viability and sustainability, farmland preservation, open space protection, historic preservation, and affordable housing.
It also supports municipal capital improvement projects and costs associated with collecting fees.
CIA funds are generated through a fee for filing documents on municipal land records and are held separately from the state’s General Fund.