Governor Announces $70K Grants to Promote Local Dairy Products

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BOSTON — The Massachusetts Dairy Promotion Board (MDPB), in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), announced two dairy promotion grants totaling $70,000 to fund projects that will advance the image, sale of and demand for local dairy products. 
These funded grant projects for the 2024 Fiscal Year include education initiatives to Massachusetts communities on the importance and nutritional benefits of dairy products. In addition, the projects will bring greater awareness to the contributions of our dairy farmers and provide more resources to our schools to support the consumption of Massachusetts dairy products.
The Commonwealth is home to 108 dairy farms situated on a total of 49,744 acres of farmland. In Massachusetts, the dairy industry contributes approximately $45 million to the state's local economy and produces roughly 188 million pounds of fresh, nutritious, wholesome milk a year, used to make many value-added products like cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and butter.
"The Massachusetts dairy industry preserves close to 50,000 acres of farmland using best land management practices," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rebecca Tepper.  "We appreciate our hardworking dairy farmers for their innovation in dairy farming practices. We're glad to recognize them for their production of high-quality and sustainable dairy products."
The Massachusetts Dairy Promotion Board grant is funded through check-off dollars received from Massachusetts dairy producers. The nine-member board is comprised of a group of state officials, dairy farmers, and other representatives from the dairy industry. Created as a result of the Dairy Preservation Act of 2008, the goal of the Board is to increase the consumption of Massachusetts dairy products. This goal is carried out through the annual release of the Massachusetts Dairy Promotion Grant Program.
"For generations, Massachusetts dairy farmers have prided themselves on producing the finest dairy products," said Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner Ashley Randle. "As someone who grew up on a fifth-generation dairy farm in Western Massachusetts, I've seen the challenges that our dairy producers face. These promotional grant awards will go a long way to help educate and inform consumers about the environmental, economic, and nutritional qualities of dairy products and highlight how Massachusetts dairy farmers are continuing to lead by example with respect to climate change adaptations and clean energy solutions."
The following non-profits are receiving grants through the FY24 Massachusetts Dairy Promotion Board Grant program:
New England Dairy Promotion Board has been awarded $20,000 to build Millennial families' trust of Massachusetts dairy farmers and their dairy products by developing and executing experiential consumer events in partnership with a local Massachusetts dairy processor(s). Event locations could include community events, give-back events, community centers, road races, etc.
New England Dairy & Food Council has been awarded $50,000 to grow dairy sales and build trust among youth in schools through the school meal equipment and marketing grants. 

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DA Clears Trooper in Fatal Hancock Shooting

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

District Attorney Timothy Shugrue says the results of an autopsy by the medical examiner will not change his findings, which are based on the video and witnesses. With him are State Police Lts. Chris Bruno and Ryan Dickinson and First Assistant District Attorney Marianne Shelvey.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — District Attorney Timothy Shugrue has determined that State Police Trooper William Munch acted in compliance during what is being described as a "suicide by cop" earlier this month.
On Sept. 9, 64-year-old Phillip Henault reportedly placed a fictitious 911 call about an ongoing violent assault. Body-camera footage from the trooper shows the man advancing on him with two knives before being shot twice and collapsing in the street in front of his Richmond Road residence.
"Mr. Henault was actively using deadly force against law enforcement. There were no other objectively reasonable means that the trooper could have employed at the time in order to effectively protect himself and anyone that was in the home or the public. By virtue of his duties as a police officer, the trooper did not have the obligation to run away from Mr. Henault," Shugrue said during a press conference on Friday.
"Mr. Henault posed an active threat to the trooper and to the public. The trooper had a duty to arrest Mr. Henault who was engaged in various felonies. His arm was an active threat."
The DA determined that Munch's decision to fire his weapon at Henault under the circumstances was a "lawful and reasonable exercise of self-defense and defense of others" compliance with the policies of the State Police and commonwealth law, clearing the trooper of criminal charges and closing the investigation.
The lethal force was labeled as an "unavoidable last resort."
A preliminary autopsy determined the unofficial cause of death was two gunshot wounds to the torso with contributing factors of wounds to the wrists that were inflicted by Heneault. The final report from the medical examiner has not been issued.
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