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Home » Farm & Food Events, From the Commissioner

Farm Structures Old and New

New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food (April 21, 2017)

Spring is bustin’ out all over, and most everyone involved in agriculture is out straight trying to get everything done in an all-too-short time period. That goes for the people who provide supplies, equipment and technical support to farmers and growers, too. John Wells, New England sales manager for Rimol Greenhouse Systems in Hooksett says this spring “is over the top” as sales continue to grow– here in New England, New York state and other regions across the country. Wells reports that more traditional veggie growers are investing in high tunnels and greenhouses as risk management tools—protecting crops from weather and extending growing seasons. High tunnel sales continue to boom, he says, but more people are adding automation to tunnels. They want automated roll-up sides, and power and heat to make sure tender crops do not frost or freeze. Another growth market for greenhouse systems, Wells reports, is cannabis production for both medicinal and recreational purposes in states that have legalized the trade.

Founder and owner Bob Rimol has donated a greenhouse to the New Horizons soup kitchen, and a Rolling Thunder—one of the first commercial moveable greenhouses–to UNH Cooperative Extension for research and education projects at the University’s Woodman Horticultural Research Farm. Moveable high-tunnel models allow growers to ‘have their cake and eat it, too.’  They don’t have to prematurely yank out a still-profitable earlier crop like tomatoes in order to get winter greens started on time.

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Help for Historic Barns

The NH Preservation Alliance is serious about their 52 Barns in 52 Weeks initiative. Their Historic Barn Assessment Grant program has two upcoming deadlines: May 1 and August 1, 2017. Download an application and Farm Reconnaissance form at https://nhpreservation.org/new-hampshire-preservation-alliance/ or contact Beverly Thomas, Program Director, at (603) 224-2281. These small matching grants cover the cost of a professional assessment and help barn owners by providing “road maps” for repair or re-use. For 2017 and the 52 Barns Initiative, the Alliance has expanded the assessment grant program to include mini-grants to help more barn owners. These $400 grants or $200 mini-grants, coupled with a property-owner match of $100 or $50 respectively, go towards hiring a barn consultant to inspect the barn, determine its age and key features, assess what’s required to stabilize, repair and reuse the structure. Winners of a $400 grant will receive a full written report; winners of the mini-grant will receive a brief written summary upon completion of the site visit. The reports offer valuable planning tools that identify problems, propose specific preservation strategies, and offer cost estimates for needed repairs.

The state recognizes that repairs and maintenance are often not economical on obsolete structures—and can result in higher tax assessments. Towns and cities can adopt the state’s property-tax incentive program to help save historic farm structures. As of December 2016, 89 towns and cities are making use of this preservation incentive, with a total of 522 barns and other historic agricultural structures enrolled in the program. RSA 79-D encourages the preservation of historic barns and other agricultural buildings by authorizing municipalities to grant property-tax relief to barn owners who can demonstrate the public benefit of preserving their barns or other historic farm buildings, and agree to maintain their structures throughout the term of a minimum 10-year preservation easement. Get all the details at https://www.nh.gov/nhdhr/programs/barn_property_tax.html, or call the division at 603-271-3483.

Counting enrolled buildings could lead to some friendly competition among towns. As of 2016 the leaders are:  Deerfield with 20; Freedom with 19; Plainfield and Sandwich tied for third place with 18 each; followed by Cornish and Kensington with 17 each.

Lorraine Merrill, Commissioner 

Department of Agriculture, Markets, & Food

(This column is excerpted from the Department’s Weekly Market Bulletin, July 27, 2016)

SUBSCRIBE TO THE ENTIRE WEEKLY MARKET BULLETIN:

The NH Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food Division of Agricultural Development compiles market information and publishes the Weekly Market Bulletin for the agriculture community. The Bulletin is the department’s ‘publication of record’ and includes appropriate industry notices, announcements, seasonal information and market survey data. Subscribers may advertise in the popular agricultural classified advertising at no charge. One-year subscriptions are $28 for delivery by U.S. Postal Service, or $22 for delivery by secure internet. Sign up for the Weekly Market Bulletin by calling the office at 271-2505 and providing a credit card for payment; or visit the office at 25 Capitol St., Concord; or mail in your request with a check. Be sure to provide your address, phone number, and if you are requesting an online subscription, an email address.

Department of Agriculture, Markets, & Food

(This column is excerpted from the Department’s Weekly Market Bulletin, April 19, 2017)

SUBSCRIBE TO THE ENTIRE WEEKLY MARKET BULLETIN:

The NH Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food Division of Agricultural Development compiles market information and publishes the Weekly Market Bulletin for the agriculture community. The Bulletin is the department’s ‘publication of record’ and includes appropriate industry notices, announcements, seasonal information and market survey data. Subscribers may advertise in the popular agricultural classified advertising at no charge. One-year subscriptions are $28 for delivery by U.S. Postal Service, or $22 for delivery by secure internet. Sign up for the Weekly Market Bulletin by calling the office at 271-2505 and providing a credit card for payment; or visit the office at 25 Capitol St., Concord; or mail in your request with a check. Be sure to provide your address, phone number, and if you are requesting an online subscription, an email address.

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