Friday, June 6, 2008

Area farms get state grants toward building projects

By Luther Turmelle
North Bureau Chief

Seventeen farms in the state will receive $568,458 as part of a state Department of Agriculture grant program, including three in the New Haven area.
Cecarelli Farms in the Northford section of North Branford, Fieldview Farm in Orange and Wallingford’s Paradise Hills Vineyard & Winery will receive $93,110 among them as part of the department’s Farm Reinvestment program. The matching grant program is designed to help expand or improve existing farms, Gov. M. Jodi Rell said in a statement announcing the awards.
“Agriculture is a critical industry in our state that fuels our local economy with over $2 billion each year,” Rell said. “These funds will help to ensure the longevity of our farms so that they may continue to create jobs in our state for many years to come.”
Cecarelli Farms will get $13,110 to help build a greenhouse for vegetable transplants, while Fieldview Farm will get $40,000 to be used toward a dairy barn to house additional cows.
Paradise Hills Vineyard will get $40,000 to help build a facility for processing grapes and holding wine tastings.
The farms receiving the grants have up to one year to complete the projects, according to the terms of the grant contract. The program caps the Department of Agriculture’s investment in each at $40,000, and farms that receive grants must provide funding that meets or exceed the amount of the grant it receives.
“These awards are an important component in our overall strategy to increase the production and diversity of our state’s agricultural producers,” said F. Philip Prelli, commissioner of agriculture. “Through this cost sharing program, we are investing in the future of Connecticut’s agriculture for the benefit of all of our state’s residents.”
Luther Turmelle can be reached at lturmelle@nhregister.com or 789-5706.

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