MFBF Names Sunderland Cat Barn Cat of the Year

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MARLBOROUGH, Mass. — The Farm Bureau Federation named Thomas Farm & Dairy's Sophie-Jane as Barn Cat of the year.
“Sophie-Jane exhibited the qualities of an excellent barn cat," said MFBF Promotion and Education Chair Meg Gennings. “Not only does she keep rodents and birds out of the barn at Thomas Farm and Dairy but she also is extremely affectionate and an excellent napper. Those qualities are what make barn cats popular." 
Sophie-Jane was adopted through Dakin Humane Society's barn cat program, which pairs cats who are either too feisty or too shy to live in traditional homes with working barns. These cats are spayed or neutered, and the owner is required to provide them with a warm bed (in Sophie-Jane's case that meant a cat door into the warm room where Thomas Farm and Dairy raises baby goats).
"We are so happy that Sophie-Jane found a loving home/barn and has now earned the title of Barn Cat of the Year," said Stacey Price, Dakin Humane Society director of development and marketing.  “We are incredibly thankful to those who open up their barns to cats like Sophie-Jane. They are truly doing lifesaving work by making this choice. Cats like Sophie-Jane are used to being outside, some may not even like people and prefer the company of other cats making it difficult for animal shelters to sometimes find living quarters for them. And even though these cats are wild they deserve equal compassion, love and humane care within the environment for which they thrive. Congrats Sophie-Jane for representing all barn cats."
‘No working farm is complete without a working cat!' This line is straight out of Sophie-Jane's nomination for Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation's (MFBF's) barn cat of the year, which was submitted by her owner Laurie Cuevas. It showcases how important these larger-than-life purr-sonalities are to their farmers and due to Sophie-Jane's work to keep the barn at Thomas Farm & Dairy free of birds, she was awarded MFBF's Barn Cat of the Year. 
The contest was sponsored by The Pet Food Institute, and the winners will receive a gift basket of pet-themed items. 
A panel of farmers, who are used to working alongside furry aloof feline companions, reviewed 20 nominations to select the 2021 Barn Cat of the Year. Entries included written responses and photos to showcase their cat's dedication to farm life. 
Other honors include:
  • Best napper: Thomas, who is owned by the UMass Livestock Barn and was nominated by Seana Mawhinney from Ashburnham 
  • Best mouser: Spinach, who is owned by Vanessa Romasco from Georgetown 
  • Best dressed: Peanut, who is owned by Sarah Lovett from Sherborn
  • Sassiest: Hamilton, who is also owned by Sarah Lovett from Sherborn 
  • Chonkest: Alfalfa, who is owned by Karen Herzig from Colrain
For farmers who are looking to adopt barn cats, here is a list of links to shelters with a barn cat adoption program:


Tags: cats,   farming,   

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Pittsfield Picks Veteran Employees as ARPA Fund Managers

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Two familiar faces will be serving as the city's special projects managers for the $41 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

Director of Community Development Deanna Ruffer and former Director of Public Health Gina Armstrong will share the one full-time position as co-managers.

Mayor Linda Tyer on Monday informed the City Council by email that Ruffer would be resigning from her current post in early to mid-February to take on this new role.

Rather than a resignation, Ruffer sees this as a transition. Armstrong resigned from her position in September, citing a need for more balance in her life and to spend more time with her family.

In the fall, the special projects manager position was created to oversee the city's allocation of ARPA funding. It will likely only be in place over the next five years, until the spending deadline in 2026, and will be paid in full through the ARPA funds.

"I am very excited to transition from the city's Community Development Director Position to co-special project manager for the City's American Rescue Plan program. This opportunity coincides with a personal desire to adjust my work-life balance to allow me to spend more time with family and pursuing personal interests," Ruffer wrote to iBerkshires in an email.

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