Massachusetts agriculture

farm tractor in field
WAMC/Pat Bradley

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded a three-year grant totaling almost $600,000 to a western Massachusetts nonprofit to assist beginning farmers throughout the state.


               An emergency fund has been re-opened to help western Massachusetts farmers whose fruit crops were damaged by an extreme cold snap in mid-February. 

               The Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture ( CISA) is offering zero-interest short term loans up to $10,000.  

              WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with CISA executive director Philip Korman.

             More information about the fund can be found at the website:

This is a picture of cattle on a farm

After two years of study the Massachusetts Food Policy Council recently completed a local food action plan for the commonwealth. The state’s first food system plan since 1974 is a series of recommendations aimed at increasing food production, access and related employment, protecting land and resources and decreasing waste. Council chair and state Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux spoke with WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Jim Levulis about the plan and the challenges of Massachusetts’ food system.


People stocking up on locally grown products at their weekly farmers’ markets in Massachusetts are finding a new item: wine.

The Farmers’ Market at Forest Park in Springfield, now well into its 17th season, offered a first Tuesday – wine sold by the bottle and given out in small samples.

The new vendor was very well received.

The jobs of 25,000 people in New England are at risk along with the livelihoods of many small businesses because of the drama surrounding the Market Basket supermarket chain.

    The 71 Market Basket stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine have been without fresh food and shoppers, for the most part, for three weeks now because of a wildcat strike by workers who have chosen sides in a long-running dispute between two cousins over control of the family-owned business.


A top official with the U.S. Department of Agriculture visited a western Massachusetts school today to highlight a growing initiative that is giving more than half-a-million children across the county access to locally grown food.

On the lunch menu Wednesday at the John F. Kennedy Middle School in Northampton was chili with brown rice, or a chicken patty on a whole wheat roll.   At the end of the cafeteria line children could help themselves to corn, green beans and sliced oranges.


Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick visited a third generation family farm in western Massachusetts  to announce a new round of grants to help sustain farm operations across the commonwealth.

   Governor Patrick announced grants totaling $700,000 to 11 different farms including vegetable farms, livestock operations, a cranberry farm and a goat dairy.  The grants, ranging from $25,000 to $100,000, will be used for infrastructure improvements such as new greenhouses and barns or to purchase energy- efficient equipment.