|JULY 16, 2011 --
The family that owns one of Vernon's most storied agricultural buildings is getting a little help toward preserving the structure.
Meanwhile, a member of Congress has announced a grant that will help farmers in the 2nd District market their products.
State Sen. Tony Guglielmo joined State Rep. Tim Ackert, state Rep. Claire Janowski and Helen Higgins, the executive director of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation in awarding the Strong family of Vernon a grant for their barn recently.
Guglielmo said the award is a matching grant of $5,000 and will go toward preserving the foundation and windows of the barn. The farm has been open for business since 1917 as a turkey and hay farm.
Owner Nancy Strong has wanted to open the farm to the area vocational agricultural school as a working classroom. The school is housed at Rockville High School and the Tolland County Agricultural Center is just up Route 30.
U.S. Rep. Joseph Courtney on Tuesday announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded two grants totaling $89,320 to help 2nd District Connecticut farmers export and market their products.
The first grant, which Courtney wrote a letter of support for, is worth $39,000. Courtney said it will help the Connecticut Department of Agriculture and the Connecticut District Export Council develop a coordinated export marketing strategy.
“Connecticut's family farms are a New England tradition that I am working every day to protect,” Courtney said. “USDA support for farmers’ markets and growth opportunities are exciting new developments that will create new customers for local farms and help them grow their small businesses.”
“Working with the District Export Council and the State Department of Agriculture, we will now have the opportunity to focus attention on specialty crops and small agricultural producers,” said Anne Evans, the U.S. Department of Commerce district director. “This grant will immediately help producers expand their sales into foreign markets and create jobs.”
The second grant, which is for $50,320, will also help area farmers expand their markets, Courtney said.
The funding will be used to improve the Buy CT Grown program, which helps connect Connecticut farmers to a broader network of consumers. The funding will foster sales of local agricultural products to wholesale buyers such as chefs and food service operators, he said.
Courtney is the founding co-chairman of the Congressional Dairy Farmers Caucus, and is the first member of the Connecticut House delegation to serve on the Agriculture Committee since Henry Stevens in the 59th Congress more than 100 years ago.
Note: The Strong family are members of Vernon Grange.