BOSTON — The Healey-Driscoll Administration announced the availability of an initial $15 million in funding from the Natural Disaster Recovery Program for Agriculture to Massachusetts farms that were adversely affected by one or more of the extreme weather events in 2023.
This funding will provide financial relief to farmers impacted by the February freeze, May frost, and July floods so they can recover and rebuild their growing operations.
"The climate crisis is here and farmers are bearing the brunt of extreme weather. With the heavy losses that our farmers have recently suffered, it is critical for us to support their recovery efforts," said Governor Maura Healey. "These funds will help ensure our farms have the resources to salvage a difficult year and come back stronger than before. We're grateful to the Legislature for making these funds available to support our hardworking farmers."
In early February, an arctic freeze plunged temperatures to subzero digits causing total damage to the stone fruit crop in Massachusetts, wiping out this year's peaches and plums. In May, a series of frost events when the temperature dipped below freezing on multiple nights caused severe damage to many fruit crops including apples, pears, and grapes. In July, unprecedented rainfall caused catastrophic flooding in Western and Central Massachusetts impacting more than 2,700 acres of crops at more than 110 farms across the region.
"Our farms are key economic drivers in their local communities, contributing so much more than just the food and produce they grow," said Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll. "A strong agricultural sector ensures job security, environmental resilience, and a robust local food system. It's essential that our affected farmers receive the aid they need in order to ensure their future production capacity won't be diminished by the recent natural disasters."
To be eligible to apply for these funds, a farm must be a commercial operation selling products to wholesale or direct to consumer markets and have suffered at least a 15 percent acreage crop loss from one or more of the three natural disasters in 2023.
"It's been such a difficult year for our farming community but we know that in the face of adversity, our farmers remain steadfast and resilient," said MDAR Commissioner Ashley Randle. "Thank you to our partners in the Legislature for all their advocacy on behalf of the agricultural industry in Massachusetts. It's truly been a collaborative effort to ensure the availability of the Natural Disaster Recovery Program for Agriculture which I know will bring real relief to our affected growers."
Applications are available now and must be submitted through this online form and received by 4:00PM on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023.
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