Berkshire Agricultural Ventures (BAV) has announced that in the five years since their founding they have offered more than one million in funding to farmers and food producers in the Berkshires, Columbia, and Dutchess Counties in New York, and Litchfield County, Connecticut.

This includes twenty-four direct loans through their Revolving Loan Fund which offers flexible 0-2% interest loans. Capital within the Revolving Loan Fund is continuously recycled, creating a viable and reliable stream of support for agricultural entrepreneurs.

Through BAV’s grant fund, the Resilience Fund, they have awarded over thirty grants. This fund started in response to Covid-19 and the pandemic’s exacerbated effects on food producers in the area.

Yet, the Resilience Fund now acts as BAV’s main grant fund. Grants are awarded on a rolling basis for a variety of requests that fit within BAV’s strategic priority areas. Additionally, BAV provided Technical Assistance to over sixty-eight farms, technical assistance is BAV’s most sought-after service. This includes a combination of in-house expertise, referrals to regional partners, and experienced consultants; most often pertaining to long-term financial planning and bookkeeping, as well as grazing and livestock management plans and agroforestry planning and implementation.

To date, BAV’s combined programs and services led to the creation of over 100 jobs, kept 2,500+ acres of farmland under active management, and preserved an additional 500+ acres of farmland.

Tom Gardner, Board President said,

"BAV stepped up to fill a need. They've provided necessary assistance and subsidies for local farmers and producers when banks and conventional funders weren't flexible enough. Plus all big agriculture is subsidized in our nation. BAV does its best to assist and support the small producers in our region in a way that is actually helpful. We really work to keep the Berkshires green."

Glenn Bergman, Interim Executive Director said,

"We have to think of small farmers as small businesses with tight margins, but with a can-do attitude. BAV's investment in these farms is economic support that sustains farms in the Berkshires and gives the farmer a helping hand and the funds to be successful. We know our farmers, we trust our farmers, and we maintain a nimble system for funding. To hear a farmer speak kindly about BAV keeps us motivated.”

Ciana Barnaba, Executive Assistant,

“There is never a dull moment at BAV. The requests for support keep coming, which allows us to trust our work truly has a positive impact on our farmers. And our team cares so much, that’s the best part about BAV - we’re all incredibly passionate about this work and helping the local food economy grow and flourish. It’s amazing what BAV has accomplished in a short time, I know we’re all excited to see our impact one, five, ten years from now  so much more good to come.”

For more information about BAV please visit www.berkshireagventures.org or contact Glenn Bergman, Interim Director, at glenn@berkshireagventures.com or 413.645.3594.

Berkshire Agricultural Ventures

Photo description. Starting on the left, Jamie Samowitz co-director of Roots Rising, Ciana Barnaba, Executive Assistant of Berkshire Agricultural Ventures, and Jessica Vecchia co-director of Roots Rising. Ciana is presenting a $5,000 grant for Roots Rising / Pittsfield Farmers Market, Market Match program.

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