HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – Dozens of western Massachusetts farms will receive grants from the Local Farmers Awards. A total of $225,000 in grants will be divided to 97 local farms to help process, plant, grow and harvest products.

More than 180 farms applied for the grants this year to help purchase new equipment or start new projects. This year’s grant was awarded to 30 percent more farms compared to last year.

“Farming is a bedrock of community. We are fortunate to have so many hard-working farmers and farms in our area,” said Steve Davis, a partner at Vimco Corporation. 

Among the 97 farms are the following farms, who shared what they will be using the money on:

  • Bree-Z-Knoll Farm, a dairy farm in in Leyden: This farm will purchase superhutches for post-weaned calves being readied for the heifer barn.
  • Kierkla Farm in Monson: Funding provided to purchase a Kuhn Hay Tedder.  Peter Kierkla, a new farmer, expects to invest additional revenue from the hay operation to expand his farm.
  • Woven Roots Farm in Tyringham: The grant will allow them to purchase reusable vegetable crates for their 70+ crops.  The crates will enable the farm to produce significantly more nutrient-dense food while reducing their carbon footprint.
  • Carrs Ciderhouse in Hadley: This year’s grant will fund a Cold Room Expansion project.  Says Nicole Blum, owner, “The Local Farmer Awards program has been the key to unlocking ‘the next thing’ for our farm.”

Two-thirds of this year’s grant is going towards farms in Hampshire and Franklin Counties. Roughly 25 percent of applicants this year were new farmers while 34 percent of applicants have been in the business for more than 20 years. The full list of farms receiving grants can be found here:

The grants are awarded from the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation in partnership with Big Y and the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture, as well as 12 other funders, including Ann and Steve Davis, Charles and Elizabeth D’Amour, Audrey and Chick Taylor, PeoplesBank, DeNucci Group at Merrill Lynch, Farm Credit East, HP Hood, Eastern States Exposition, Baystate Health, Country Bank, Franklin First Federal Credit Union, and bankESB.