The storms that decimated parts of Vermont this week also caused major damage for farmers in the western parts of the Commonwealth.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), at least 75 farms have been adversely impacted by flooding and over 1,000 acres of crops have been lost. Officials say those numbers will likely climb since land remains inaccessible due to standing water.
On Wednesday, MDAR Commissioner Ashley Randle met with 30 farmers in Deerfield, Hadley, Hatfield, and Northampton who were affected.
“It is absolutely heartbreaking to see the devastation this storm has caused our farming community,” Commissioner Randle said.
The MDAR is asking stakeholders to share damage reports from impacted farms to help evaluate the extent of the situation. Similarly, he Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the Farm Service Agency (FSA) of the United State Department of Agriculture has been contacted and will collaborate on ways to help affected farmers.
“We have boots on the ground to get an accurate scope of the damage so we can continue working with our local, state, and federal partners in assisting our farmers who continue to face these challenges,” Randle said. “Despite these recent tragedies, we know our farmers are resilient, and we encourage consumers to continue supporting their local farms that support the communities they serve in so many ways.”
Farmers are encouraged to contact MDAR Deputy Commissioner and Chief of Staff Alisha Bouchard at email@example.com and Director of Produce Safety Michael Botelho at firstname.lastname@example.org with their damage reports. Sue Scheufele, Production Agriculture Leader at UMass Extension Center for Agriculture, Food, and Environment can also be reached at (508) 397-3361.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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