MDAR is seeking reports from impacted farms to evaluate the extent of damage from recent flooding. Please contact MDAR Deputy Commissioner and Chief of Staff Alisha Bouchard and Director of Produce Safety Michael Botelho with your report. We also encourage you to reach out to Sue Scheufele (508 397 3361) at UMass Extension so that they can also be made aware of the extent of damages.
MA Farm Service Agency is also asking any affected producers to report flood damage to their FSA County Office as soon as possible. Reporting damages is important for ensuring relevant FSA programming is made available to eligible producers. Also be reminded that several programs require timely reporting of losses/adverse situations in order to maintain eligibility. To report damage, please contact your local County Office.
Handling Flooded Produce: What Farmers Need to Know
To assist farmers in evaluating flood-damaged crops to ensure compliance with state and federal law, MDAR’s Produce Safety Team has developed “Handling Flooded Produce: What Farmers Need to Know and Conducting Risk Assessments.” Conditions are rapidly changing, and the Team will update this document and other resources as needed.
Additionally, MDAR has begun compiling a resource page and potential actions for impacted farmers to take. This list will also be updated as we become aware of additional resources.
State Agricultural Resources Commissioner Randle Tours Storm-Damaged Farms in Western Massachusetts
BOSTON — Following devastating storms that washed out roads and flooded fields and farms, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) Commissioner Ashley Randle visited Western Massachusetts two days this week to meet with farmers impacted by the storm. Commissioner Randle joined state and local officials to survey the damage and discuss how the state could help communities in recovery and mitigation efforts.
On Wednesday, Commissioner Randle met with 30 farmers in Deerfield, Hadley, Hatfield, and Northampton, while other MDAR staff were on the ground throughout the Valley to assess the damage and provide technical assistance. The Commissioner also joined Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll and Rural Affairs Director Anne Gobi in Conway on Thursday to offer support.
Although MDAR is still assessing the damage, the agency estimates at least 75 farms have been impacted, with over 1,000 acres of crop losses. That number will likely climb since land remains submerged and inaccessible due to standing water, with more rain forecasted. Today, MDAR’s Produce Safety team will visit farms in Deerfield, Florence, Hadley, Sunderland, and Whately to complete assessments of impacted farms. Read MDAR’s Press Release here.
CISA Emergency Farm Fund Now Open!
CISA, in partnership with the Franklin County CDC, is offering zero-interest loans of up to $25,000 for Massachusetts farms in Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties affected by fluctuating winter temperatures that killed peach buds in February, the deep freeze of May 18, and widespread flooding in July. Click here for more information.
The EFF is now accepting applications from eligible farms struggling to meet their immediate financial needs because of income, crop, or equipment loss due to these weather events. The goal of the fund is to respond to critical, time-sensitive needs by helping farms recover from their losses, continue farming, and/or build resilience for future extreme weather events.
Apply here! Applications will be accepted until October 1, 2023. Application review will begin August 1.
Please contact Stephen Taranto (413-665-7100 ext. 17) with questions and for help determining if the Emergency Farm Fund is the best option for your business.
(Vermont) Flood Related Resources for Farmers:
Thank you to Food Solutions New England for compiling this list.
- Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets has a comprehensive list of resources available for farmers.
- If you have crop insurance contact your local Farm Service Agency to report losses.
- Apply for assistance through the Center for an Agricultural Economy’s emergency loan fund here.
- Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food and Markets will provide state level information for farmers as it becomes available.
- NOFA will award up to $2,500 in grants per farm affected by natural and unnatural disasters. They are also gathering information to coordinate support and recovery efforts for farmers. If you are a farmer, please share information here.
- Farm First has dedicated farmer peers available to talk to any farmers this week. Farmers can access our resource coordinator, counselor, or peers by contacting:
- (802) 318-5538 during daytime work hours (8:00 AM-4:30 PM M-F)
- (877) 493-6216 outside of daytime work hours
- Email: Eva Griffin at EvaG@farmfirst.org