State senate proposes $20 million in funding to help farms impacted by flooding
The proposal would be interest-free funding to help farms get back on their feet
HATFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - A historic proposal of relief money was unveiled Monday for farmers impacted by widespread flooding over the past few weeks.
State senate leaders are proposing $20 million, the most financial assistance that Massachusetts Senate President Karen Spilka said she can ever recall to help local farmers who have suffered unfathomable damage in recent weeks.
“We have no reserves. There’s no reserves to absorb anything of this magnitude, so just to make payroll, we have to find some money somewhere,” said David Fisher, owner of Natural Roots Farm.
Devastation and destruction to crops, farmland, and machinery has left Fisher, like many farmers across the area, looking for answers.
“This whole flooding situation is supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime thing and it’s now happened three times in the last two weeks,” added Brittany Terry, farm manager of Natural Roots Farm.
On Monday, Massachusetts state senators announced a historic proposal of $20 million in interest-free funding to help farms get back on their feet.
“Today, the Senate is coming forward with $20 million of public funds that will go out in direct grants. That’s not low interest loans or no interest loans. That’s money in the pocket of farmers that have experienced a generation of hardship,” said State Senator Jo Comerford.
Spilka, who traveled from the State House for the big announcement, told Western Mass News that the money will be added to the supplemental budget being discussed on Monday before she said it will be debated. She added that she hopes the House adopts a similar version.
“I hate to use the term, but I hope this is a no-brainer and people accept it because it’s so desperately needed,” Spilka explained.
If approved, the Swill lean on the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources to determine how to best allocate the money, which farmers said would go a long way.
“If we are not able to support one another when we have more events like this of greater frequency and greater intensity, there is just no way that individual farms can stand this kind of event on our own,” Fisher noted.
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