The Baker-Polito Administration, in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), awarded 25 grants totaling $500,000 to Massachusetts farmers to implement renewable energy systems and improve energy efficiency on farms.
“We are committed to supporting the Commonwealth’s vibrant agricultural industry, which produces fresh, healthy food for our citizens,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Through this grant program, we can support Massachusetts’ agricultural and clean energy industries and make progress toward our ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals.”
“Supporting local agricultural operations through renewable energy and energy efficiency investments is beneficial for the Commonwealth’s farmers, local consumers, and our clean energy industry,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton. “These awards will help our Commonwealth’s farmers address their energy needs and increase their future opportunities for competitiveness in the global marketplace.”
The grants were awarded through the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources’ (DAR) Agricultural Energy (AgEnergy) Grant Program, with funding from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER). The AgEnergy program is an annual competitive program for Massachusetts agricultural operations seeking funds to build energy projects to improve energy efficiency and facilitate adoption of alternative clean energy technologies.
“For eight years now our Agricultural Energy Grant Program has helped farms incorporate renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies into their operations,” said DAR Commissioner John Lebeaux. “I congratulate this year’s recipients who have shown commitment to reducing their energy use and increasing their energy independence, helping them become more viable and sustainable in the long term, a primary mission of our department.”
“DOER is pleased to help fund energy efficiency initiatives and local renewable energy generation for Massachusetts farms and agricultural operations,” said DOER Commissioner Judith Judson. “These clean energy projects will strengthen their ability to control energy costs, reduce air pollution, and make their farms more resilient.”
The AgEnergy Grant Program is one of several within DAR’s Division of Agricultural Conservation and Technical Assistance (DACTA). The division’s mission is to provide technical assistance, training, conservation, and funding to promote economically viable and environmentally sound agricultural practices in Massachusetts.
Since 2009, the program has awarded grants to over 180 projects statewide, providing growers and producers more than $2.6 million to address energy issues on their farms. This year, 34 total applicants submitted a variety of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects totaling over $685,000 in requests.