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Registration is open for agricultural business training courses

 

This winter, the MA Dept. of Agricultural Resources will offer two courses:

“Exploring the Small Farm Dream ”

Green field with cows

5-session course using curriculum and workbook developed by the New England Small Farm Institute.  For those who are thinking about or in the planning stages of a starting their own farm, including those who are expanding a hobby to an income-generating scale.  This course offers guidance and resources to help make informed decisions about what’s involved with owning your own farm so you can decide whether to take the plunge – and how to proceed in the first stages.

“Growing Your Farm Business Planning Course”

A 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 professional business planners with years of experience working with Massachusetts farms and guest speakers on current 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.

Full course descriptions, course schedules, and applications are available online at https://www.mass.gov/service-details/agricultural-business-training-program-abtp

 

Amtrak’s Valley Flyer Back to Full Service!

All aboard Amtrak’s Valley Flyer! The Valley Flyer has service from Greenfield, Northampton, and Holyoke to New Haven, CT.  The Valley Flyer connects to New York City and beyond! The Valley Flyer is making stops for Times Square and Columbus Circle. Book your ride today at http://amtrak.com/valleyflyer

Local Rapid Recovery Plans

A new program of the MA Department of Housing & Community Development’s (DHCD) is the Local Rapid Recovery Planning Program. It was created to help downtown/village center business districts recover more quickly from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. DHCD funded consultants to work with participating communities to help with create these plans by early October 2021. In Franklin County, the following Local Rapid Recovery Plans were created:

Downtown Greenfield, City of Greenfield

Turners Falls, Town of Montague

Northfield Main Street Corridor, Town of Northfield

Sunderland Village Center, Town of Sunderland

Village of Shelburne Falls, Towns of Buckland and Shelburne working jointly

Shelburne Falls Rapid Recovery Plan

Through a grant from the MA Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD), FRCOG is working with the Towns of Buckland and Shelburne and with community partner Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association to develop the Village of Shelburne Falls Rapid Recovery Plan (RRP). The purpose of the RRP is to develop action-oriented projects to help the Village recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The towns of Greenfield, Montague, Northfield and Sunderland are also participating in this DHCD program. For more information, click here.

Click here for flyer about the August 25th Shelburne Falls Rapid Recovery Plan Community Meeting to be held on Zoom.

Public Review of the Draft Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership Recreation Map and Inventory

Through a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation for the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership area, the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) and the Franklin Region Council of Governments (FRCOG) are developing an inventory and online map of the recreational assets in the 21-town partnership area. At this time, BRPC and FRCOG are looking for feedback on the draft inventory and map, which are available in the following links.

Map of MTWP Recreation Inventory: https://berkshire.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=44be5855f1614d3ea3d076fbbd4caf9d

Berkshire County Recreation Inventory (northern portion of county): https://drive.google.com/file/d/1aAeRJZbz9K7UYP9rIe2gV5667DlIAXNx/view?usp=sharing

Franklin County Recreation Inventory (western portion of county): https://drive.google.com/file/d/1lGpcbxD9gBzIQPBQaUM3CbtWE-dULlqI/view?usp=sharing

Please give us your comments and corrections by May 31st to:

Franklin County:
Beth Giannini, Franklin Region Council of Governments
giannini@frcog.org
413-774-3167×125

 

Community One Stop for Growth

The Community One Stop for Growth is a new, single application portal for municipal governments to access 10 state funding programs for community and infrastructure projects. Check out www.mass.gov/onestop for details about the different funding programs, the schedule of important dates, and to access webinars about how to apply. The Commonwealth is encouraging municipalities to submit “expressions of interest” that identify up to five projects that need funding. These expressions of interest can be submitted from February 8 to April 2, 2021. Based on this information, the Commonwealth will provide guidance regarding how to proceed. Full applications are due no later than June 4, 2021.

New Round of Commonwealth Places

MassDevelopment’s Commonwealth Places program has a new funding round to support economic recovery from COVID-19 through community placemaking. The purpose is to support projects that create destinations for residents and visitors to shop or dine. Eligible applicants, such as non-profits and other community groups, can apply for seed grants (between $250 to $7,500) or implementation grants (up to $10,000 unmatched, or up to $50,000 matched by crowdfunding donations).  Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis until June 30,2021.

For more details, go to: https://www.massdevelopment.com/what-we-offer/real-estate-services/commonwealth-places

New Small Business Grant Program

To help the Commonwealth’s small businesses, the Baker-Polito Administration announced a new financial assistance program (link to press release).

The Mass. Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) is administering the state’s Sector-Specific Relief Grant Program for Massachusetts Businesses, which seeks to award grants to businesses in need of financial support due to COVID-19 pandemic related loss of income.

The industry sectors given preference for this program include:

  • Restaurants and bars
  • Indoor recreation or entertainment establishments
  • Gyms or fitness centers
  • Personal services
  • Event support professionals
  • Brick-and-mortar retailers

Applications are due January 15, 2021. For details go to: https://www.empoweringsmallbusiness.org/covid-19-response/sector-specific-relief-grant-program-massachusetts-businesses

New Local Rapid Recovery Planning Program

The Commonwealth opened a new state technical assistance program to support local governments in revitalizing downtowns and commercial districts.  Called Local Rapid Recovery Planning, applications are being accepted through December 18, 2020 at 3 pm. All municipalities are eligible to apply, and non-profit entities, such as Business Improvement Districts, Main Street organizations or Community Development Corporations, are eligible to lead the planning process with local government support. For more information, go to https://edit.mass.gov/forms/local-rapid-recovery-planning-application.