Daily News

Farm Resiliency Fund Distributes $3.3 Million to 228 Farms

SPRINGFIELD — The Massachusetts Farm Resiliency Fund, which was developed in partnership with the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts (CFWM) in response to widespread flooding that swept over more than 100 Massachusetts farms in the region this past summer, announced that $3,255,997 has been distributed to 228 farms throughout the Commonwealth as of Dec. 4.

CFWM was joined in launching the Farm Resiliency Fund with the Healey-Driscoll administration, United Way of Central Massachusetts, Community involved in Sustainable Agriculture (CISA), and other philanthropic and private foundations to support Massachusetts farms impacted by severe weather patterns.

The fund is administered by the United Way, and CFWM serves on the regional advisory group for Western Mass. that helps connect the fund to local farms. In addition to responding to the recent storm impact in Western and Central Mass., the fund intends to have long-term potential to respond to how climate affects farms.

In August, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources estimated that at least 148 farms had been impacted by flooding, with more than 2,700 acres in crop losses at a minimum value of $15 million at that time. There are 7,241 farms in Massachusetts, comprising 491,653 acres and employing 25,920 people. These farms generate $475 million for the Massachusetts economy.

Meant to enhance the abilities of farms to recover from harvest losses, damaged infrastructure, and reduced income due to climate extremes, the fund provides immediate relief but also facilitates long-term solutions that bolster agricultural communities against the impact of changing climate.

“Our partnership and our communities quickly came together to respond to our farms’ significant losses,” CFWM CEO Megan Burke said. “We are grateful for the hundreds of donors that have given to the Massachusetts Farm Resiliency Fund in support of our hardworking farmers. The severe weather patterns affecting our farms ultimately impact our local food systems and employment, making the fund’s impact far-reaching.”

Philip Korman, executive director of CISA, added that, “every day, no matter the weather, local farmers work hard growing food for our communities. This year, the fruits of their efforts were wiped out on hundreds of farms due to the floods and rains. With the distribution of over $3 million raised from across the Commonwealth — from individuals, foundations, business partners, and nonprofits — we have all helped to keep farmers farming and to keep feeding us all. It is vital and heartening for farmers to know that they are respected and supported for their work, especially in the worst of times. CISA is immensely grateful and proud to have been involved in this effort.”