Late last week Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan attended the Working Lands Alliance’s Tenth Anniversary Conference at Yale University.
While there, the Deputy Secretary announced that a total of $207,000 in funds from the Rural Business Enterprise Grant program (RBEG) will be provided to several organizations around Connecticut to improve economic opportunities in the area.
About an hour’s drive from three of New England’s largest urban areas, “the Last Green Valley” is an area of fields, forests and rugged hills. Forest and farmland make up 78 percent of its 695,000 acres.
Merrigan said The Last Green Valley, Inc., a non-profit organization Congress designated to manage this nationally recognized area, has been selected to receive a $28,000 RBEG to create a website to help farmers locate educational information, business assistance and marketing opportunities. The organization was also selected to receive a second $28,000 RBEG to create a “mastering the business of agriculture” educational program where farmers will receive classroom instruction on how to create effective business plans. The funding announcements build on previously announced support provided by USDA Rural Development for the area.
Submitted by Maril Alsup Stockwell, USDA Rural Development