MDAR is accepting applications from Massachusetts farmers who wish to participate in one of these Department programs that help with farm viability in Fiscal Year 2023. The Request for Response containing program details and the application form is posted through a link on each program website below. If you would like an application mailed to you, contact the program coordinator listed. Applications must be received by 4:00 pm on Tuesday, April 26, 2022.
1. Farm Viability Enhancement Program (FVEP) – for established commercial farms owning unrestricted farmland. Application details here. Questions: Melissa Adams, Melissa.L.Adams@mass.gov, 413-726-2001.
2. APR Improvement Program (AIP) – for established farms that have been protected through the Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program. Questions: Michael Parker, Michael.Parker@mass.gov, 857-895-0023.
3. Matching Enterprise Grants for Agriculture (MEGA) – for beginning farmers in business between 1 and 6 years. Application details here. Questions: Jess Camp, Jessica.Camp@mass.gov, 617-823-0871.
MDAR’s Agricultural Business Training Program – offering Fall classes!
Exploring the Small Farm Dream Course – October 5 to November 2, 2022
Wednesday evenings 6:00pm – 9:00pm, location TBD*
This 5-session course provides guidance to aspiring farmers through the decision-making process of whether to start a farm business. Participants will learn about the many aspects of starting a farm business, assess their own skills and knowledge, and get help finding resources for support, including marketing, financing, and regulations. The Exploring the Small Farm Dream course utilizes the curriculum and workbook developed by the New England Small Farm Institute. Through four guided group sessions and a farmer panel session, participants will analyze the feasibility of their small farm dream and clarify their vision together with other class participants. This course is sponsored and financially supported by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and is intended for new agricultural entrepreneurs intended to start their farm business in Massachusetts. The course fee is $100 for up to two participants per enterprise as space allows.
*Plans are for an in-person class with the location to be determined based on interest from those who submit an application and are added to the waiting list. To be considered for the upcoming session, please complete the brief application Exploring the Small Farm Dream and email it to Jessica.Camp@mass.gov, or mail a hard copy to: MDAR, Attn: Jessica Camp, 138 Memorial Ave, Suite 42, West Springfield, MA 01089. For more information about this course (including a more detailed course description), contact Jess Camp at 617-823-0871.
Growing Your Farm Business Planning Course – October 11 – November 29, 2022 at MDAR office in Southborough.
Tuesdays from 5:30 – 8:30pm
A hands-on course to help established farmers develop a business plan and financial projections for their farm business. This course covers topics including resource assessment, marketing strategy, financial management, risk management, quality of life, and goal setting. The course is taught by a professional business planner with years of experience working with Massachusetts farms and guest speakers on topics such as succession planning and online marketing. Enrollment is open to farmers who have been operating a farm business in Massachusetts for at least the two prior years. Eight weekly classes will be held on Tuesday evenings starting October 11 and ending November 29. The course fee, subsidized by MDAR, is $150 per farm.
The Growing Your Farm business planning course has been approved as a certified USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) borrower training for financial management.
To be considered for the upcoming session, please complete the course application and email it to Michael.Parker@mass.gov, or mail a hard copy to: MDAR, Attn: Michael Parker, 138 Memorial Ave, Suite 42, West Springfield, MA 01089. For more information about this course (including a more detailed course description), contact Michael Parker at 857-895-0023.
For more information, visit MDAR’s website at www.mass.gov/agr.