The latest USDA agriculture census data for Massachusetts, released earlier this month, shows farmers weathered the Great Recession as total agricultural sales held steady. Direct sales to consumers jumped 14 percent between 2007 and 2012. The growth in direct sales by local farms in western Massachusetts during the five year period mirrored the statewide increase. WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke about the report with Philip Korman, executive director of Communities Involved in Sustaining Agriculture.
A fund that was set up to help western Massachusetts farms damaged by Hurricane Irene is being re-opened in response to the February blizzard.
The emergency farm fund, operated by the non profit Communities Involved in Sustaining Agriculture offers zero interest loans up to $10,000. CISA director Philip Korman says the blizzard caused a number of greenhouse collapses.
The deadline application is March 31st. The fund paid out a total of $93,000 following Irene in in 2011. It has been replenished by donations from individuals and businesses ranging from $5 to $20,000