Farm Bureau Urges Governor Baker To Declare Drought A Disaster
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
MARLBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS, August 31, 2016 - In response to growing concerns about the far-reaching impacts that this year's drought may have on Massachusetts farmers, the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) submitted a letter to Governor Charles Baker urging him to declare the drought a disaster.
"The time to act is now," said MFBF President Ed Davidian. "Nearly every farmer in the Commonwealth has been or will be impacted by this year's drought. If farmers don't receive immediate access to the federal relief tools available, some who are severely impacted will shut down their farms forever."
Most farmers in Massachusetts are suffering daily from the continued lack of significant rainfall. In fact, more than 55 percent of the Commonwealth is classified as in a 'severe drought' by the Drought Monitor, which is a collaboration between federal government agencies and educational institutions.
"It is obvious that the 30 percent loss threshold necessary for a disaster declaration will be met in many of our locally-grown crops," said MFBF President Ed Davidian. "We already know that the peach crop will be a total loss this year, that the apple and cranberry crops will be greatly reduced in size and that second- and third-cut hay will be almost non-existent."
Farm Bureau is also aware of irrigation ponds and other water sources that are drying up.
In the letter, MFBF recognized that the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources has been attempting to quantify agricultural losses throughout the state, however, this process is not moving quickly enough. Anecdotally, it is, in Farm Bureau's opinion, a foregone conclusion that Massachusetts has reached the crop loss thresholds to trigger a disaster declaration.
"The drought's impacts on our farmers are getting worse exponentially on a daily basis, without relief," Davidian said. "Farmers need all the tools possible to mitigate the drought's potential impacts on their livelihoods."
View the most current Drought Monitor for Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation is a non-profit organization representing nearly 6,000 family members across the Commonwealth. MFBF is an advocate for farmers, run by farmer members who develop policies through its grassroots process. Its mission is "to protect the rights, encourage the growth, and be of service to its members, in the best interest of agriculture."
For more information about the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation, please visit their website.