Congressman McGovern visits local farms to hear challenges following recent weather

Congressman McGovern visited some of those farms facing adversity following last month’s severe flooding to gain some knowledge and listen to farmers’ needs.
Published: Aug. 22, 2023 at 3:00 PM EDT
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(WGGB/WSHM) -- On Tuesday, Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern visited some of those farms facing adversity following last month’s severe flooding as well as other weather events to gain some knowledge and listen to farmers’ needs.

Flat Rock Farm is a beef cattle farm owned by Dr. Jonathan Parrott and his wife, Kate. Their property was one of six farms visited by McGovern as part of his two-day farm tour.

“It was excellent and we’re really grateful to have such considered attention, frankly, and I admire Jim’s willingness to come out and learn,” Dr. Jonathan Parrott said.

Despite Mother Nature causing serious issues for many farms in western Massachusetts, the Parrotts did not face major setbacks. They had the pleasure of showing the congressman around their farm, from the cattle, to the sugar house, to their renewable energy methods. Western Mass News spoke with McGovern, who is on the House Agriculture Committee. He told us this is an important week knowing what farmers across the commonwealth have been through.

“To me, the best way to be effective is to come in person, to see first-hand what’s happening here and to learn,” McGovern said.

McGovern does this tour every year to gain knowledge about farms and what owners do to help themselves and the state’s economy. After seeking federal help and doing some fundraising in Deerfield earlier this week, McGovern said Congress will do whatever it can to assist.

“We are raising money to try to help get money to farmers (who need the assistance) right now, but we’re also looking at the farm bill. Our farm bill should reflect a 50-state approach to farming. The farms here are not like the big farms and the megafarms in the Midwest,” McGovern explained.

The Parrotts also said they are grateful to have someone who is committed to meeting the needs of school children and farmers.

“As a public school educator, Jim is a huge proponent of the farm-to-school program at the federal and the state level. Northampton Public Schools, who I work for as a science teacher, are recipients of that grant funding,” said Kate Parrott.

“We have to reduce the cost of electricity and so I think agriculture is an opportunity where farmers manage the land or stewards the land and care for the land,” Dr. Jonathan Parrott explained.

The Parrots expect their cattle farm to have a good rest of the year.

McGovern will visit other farms in central Massachusetts on Wednesday to conclude his tour.