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Farmers grateful for more typical growing season after 2023 floods devastated fields
07-18-2024 1:10 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

After a frantic emergency response to save animals and equipment on July 10, 2023, David Fisher and Maggie Toran assessed their farm field as memories of Hurricane Irene came flooding back.At their horse-powered, community-supported agriculture (CSA)...

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Extreme weather forces valley farmers to adapt
05-16-2024 9:10 AM

By TANISHA BHAT

Ben Clark, the owner of Clarkdale Fruit Farms in Deerfield, received $120,000 from the $20 million Natural Disaster Recovery Program created last year after he lost the entirety of his peach crop and 70% of his apples and pears due to sudden cold...


Rice’s Roots Farm owner plans for community involvement for land’s future
05-06-2024 4:20 PM

By GREG VINE

PETERSHAM – Lin Chen, the new owner of what was known locally as Rice’s Roots Farm, displays a wide smile when discussing his plans for the 228-acre site in Petersham.Doing business under the name Global Roots Farm, LLC, he hopes to serve the North...


Farming challenges aired at state hearing
04-01-2024 5:00 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — Climate change’s impact on farming, as well as emerging areas like urban agriculture, soil health and pollinators, are a focus for the University of Massachusetts Extension Agriculture Program, which continues to help farmers adapt and...


Talking up state’s farmland protection program: Farmers on board, but effort faces housing headwinds
03-19-2024 5:00 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

The owners of a Shelburne farm have permanently protected 100 acres through the Agricultural Preservation Restriction program, ensuring that the fertile land won’t be turned into a large, upscale housing estate or put to other uses.“That’s what’s...


Streak of hardships plague valley farmers
03-17-2024 5:00 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

Farming is already a tough field to make one’s living. Throw in three consecutive years of extreme weather and personal burnout and you’ve got a recipe for what is shaping up to another difficult year for valley farmers, as they prepare their fields...


PFAS, slew of other agriculture-related bills on the move on Beacon Hill
02-02-2024 5:00 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

NORTHAMPTON — Prohibiting PFAS from consumer products sold in Massachusetts remains an objective for Sen. Jo Comerford, who sees a recently advanced legislative bill to protect soil and farms from such contamination as an important first step to...


Residents meet to offer suggestions for Rice’s Roots Farm
11-07-2023 5:00 PM

By GREG VINE

PETERSHAM – Around two dozen people offered ideas for potential uses for Rice’s Roots Farm on East Street during a meeting on Sunday.University of the Wild founder Larry Buell and local grower Andre Pierre are trying to put together a plan to purchase...


Forum to be held on potential uses of 228-acre Rice’s Roots Farm
11-02-2023 5:00 PM

By GREG VINE

PETERSHAM — Residents are invited to attend a meeting this Sunday to discuss food security and “brainstorm potential ideas of how to develop and use the Rice’s Roots Farm on East Street for some form of community farming,” according to a release about...


Farmers applaud state, private donors for support through Farm Resiliency Fund
09-26-2023 4:00 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

With $10,000 donations already sent to hundreds of farms around western and central Massachusetts, farmers have praised the joint efforts of the state and private donors for supporting the Farm Resiliency Fund.The initial round of funding went out on...


Slim pickings: Farmers face smaller pick-your-own apple crop following May frost
09-17-2023 6:00 PM

By JAMES PENTLAND

Picking apples is one of the rites of fall, with crisp, sunny mornings beckoning families out to the orchard to help gather in the season’s brilliant red and green bounty.This year, though, pick-your-own opportunities will be limited because so much...


Local pig farmers to be unaffected by state’s new pork regulations
08-10-2023 3:26 PM

By DOMENIC POLI

You’re unlikely to hear any squealing from local pig farmers about the impending enforcement of voter-approved pork regulations, as they say they’re already in compliance with the law aimed at improving the living conditions of swines raised for...


Farmers speak to potential impacts of disease, produce quality after continued flooding
07-18-2023 2:25 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

DEERFIELD — As more rain pounded the region on Sunday, Gov. Maura Healey and other state officials visited Deerfield on Monday afternoon to hear firsthand accounts of the damage — including disease-related impacts that could be seen in the future —...


Federal lawmakers meet with farmers, speak to post-flood support
07-17-2023 5:07 PM

By BELLA LEVAVI

DEERFIELD — As farmers assess the impact of last week’s flooding on their livelihoods and the future of the season’s crops, federal lawmakers visited the area on Saturday to see the damage firsthand.U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Rep. Jim...


‘We’re all going to struggle’: Farmers share extent of crop damage with visiting politicians
07-13-2023 4:02 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

DEERFIELD — As they continue to assess the damage caused by Monday’s torrential downpours, local farmers were joined on Wednesday by legislators and state officials who got a first-hand view of the devastation across the Pioneer Valley.In Deerfield,...


South Deerfield native named state agriculture commissioner
02-27-2023 4:51 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

BOSTON — With a background in showing cattle at fairs and working on the family farm in South Deerfield, the state’s new agriculture commissioner has a Franklin County flair to her.South Deerfield native Ashley Randle has been tapped by the...

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