May 3, 2013

Maine farmer gets $300K to make fire logs from hay

Peter Bragdon of Vassalboro won the grant for developing a way to take hay that cannot be used for feed and turn it into a home heating source.

Kennebec Journal staff report

VASSALBORO – Farmer Peter Bragdon won a $300,000 Value Added Producer Grant to help him manufacture a "hay log" that can be used as fuel in fireplaces or wood stoves, according to the office of U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District.

click image to enlarge

Vassalboro farmer Peter Bragdon hopes to preserve farmland by producing logs from hay for home heating use.

Andy Molloy / Staff Photographer

The grant comes from the Department of Agriculture. In 2011, Bragdon received a $26,751 grant from the federal government to conduct a feasibility study.

Bragdon, who has been haying for 30 years, developed a way to take hay that cannot be used for feed and turn it into logs that can be used for home heating fuel.

"Times are tough for a lot of farmers, and being able to take what is essentially a worthless product and turn it into something that can produce a little income is pretty important in keeping us in business," Bragdon said in a press release from Pingree's office. "But without this grant, it would be hard to come up with the capital necessary to get production up and running."

He said he hopes to hire up to seven people once production is fully operational.

 

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