Holmberg Orchards in Gales Ferry is among the more than 40 farms, agricultural non-profits and municipalities that will receive state funding as part of an ongoing effort to expand Connecticut’s growing agricultural economy, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and state Department of Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky announced Thursday.
“Our diverse and vibrant agriculture sector is an important economic driver for our state with enormous potential for future job creation and economic growth,” Malloy said. “These grants are a clear sign that we can both preserve our agricultural heritage and help it expand and create jobs.”
The $880,327 in funding was made through the Agriculture Department’s Farm Transition Grant and Farm Viability Grant programs, designed to increase farm production, promote Connecticut Grown products and create jobs. The funding – which requires a match from the grantee - will leverage nearly $2.4 million in investments.
Holmberg Orchards will be using its grant to help purchase an orchard work platform and pruning system. The total project budget is $76,758 and the grant is $38,379.
“Connecticut’s agriculture economy is making many significant advances in the right direction, and these grants will help keep that momentum going,” Reviczky said. “These are important investments that will benefit both producers and consumers.”
Agricultural Viability Grants are made available through Public Act 05-228, An Act Concerning Farmland Preservation, Land Protection, Affordable Housing and Historic Preservation. The legislation protects and preserves Connecticut by providing funding for municipal open-space grants, farm viability and preservation, historic preservation and new and existing affordable housing programs, along with new infrastructure to support and promote agriculture in the state.
The grants were awarded on a competitive basis and a match must be supplied by the applicant. The Department of Agriculture’s share of the budget is capped at $49,999 in matching funds. Grantees have up to one year to complete their project, according to the terms of their contract.
For more information on these grants, visit the Department’s website, www.ct.gov/doag/, and click on “Programs and Services” and then “Agriculture Viability Grants.”