Massachusetts Farm Resiliency Fund Distributes First Round of Funds

The Healey-Driscoll Administration and the United Way of Central Massachusetts (UWCM) today celebrated the distribution of the first round of checks through the Massachusetts Farm Resiliency Fund to flood impacted farmers in Massachusetts. Launched in July, the fund is a partnership between philanthropic organizations and private foundations intended to support farms in Central and Western Mass impacted by recent flooding and strengthen farm resiliency in the long term. The fund has so far received more than $3 million in donations from over 657 different people and businesses since it was announced and will finance two rounds of checks for eligible farmers.Distribution of funds will be a two-phased rapid release process to ensure farmers can begin recovery as quickly as possible. Phase one, which began last week, awarded funds to 214 applicants that met a minimum threshold of loss, and each recipient received equal amount of funds. Phase two will be based on overall needs of each farm and will be decided later in the fall.

“The Lieutenant Governor and I have spent the last month traveling around the state and hearing directly from farmers about the devastation these rains have had on their livelihoods,” saidGovernor Healey. “This fund will provide tremendous relief – both emotional and financial – to those farmers as they try to revitalize their crops and get their operations back on track. We are grateful to all the donors who have contributed to the fund and are proud of Team Massachusetts for coming together to help one another quickly and compassionately. We encourage any farmer who has experienced loss due to recent severe weather to apply for relief.”

“We’re incredibly grateful that the Mass Farm Resiliency Fund has seen so many donations in such a short amount of time and is now in a place where we can start delivering relief to farmers who have been struggling in the aftermath of the floods,” said Lieutenant Governor Driscoll. “The entire state relies on the work of these dedicated farmers and this fund will serve as a lifeline for them to bounce back. We’re inspired by the resiliency and strength they’ve shown over the last couple of months and are proud to support them in any way we can.”

“The devastating floods that impacted our farms this year were heartbreaking—but I’m so proud and grateful to see people from across the Commonwealth coming together to help our farmers recover in the wake of this climate-change fueled disaster,” said Congressman James P. McGovern. “Thanks to the leadership of Governor Healey and Lieutenant Governor Driscoll, the Massachusetts Farm Resiliency Fund will provide the help farmers need to recoup their losses, get back on their feet, and continue to serve as the backbone of our local food system.”

As of August, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources estimates at least 148 farms have been impacted by flooding, with over 2,700 acres in crop losses at a minimum value of $15 million and continuing to increase as they receive more reports.

“As heartbreaking as it was to see our farmers experience such devastating losses, it’s also been incredibly wonderful to see so many individuals and organizations come together to ensure that our farming community receives the help that it needs to recover and rebuild from this recent disaster,” said Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner Ashley Randle. “Thank you to the United Way of Central Massachusetts for stepping up to assist our hardworking Massachusetts farmers and to Governor Healey and Lt. Governor Driscoll for their continued support of our agricultural sector.”

“Our goal with the Fund is to support farmers and communities by raising and distributing funds with urgency, as they are facing challenges right now,” said Tim Garvin, President and CEO of United Way of Central Massachusetts. “We are so grateful to the many donors from all over the Commonwealth who have stepped up and joined us to address the losses for farms, food pantries and the rural communities who rely on a vibrant agricultural economy.”

“Local farms are on the front lines of climate change impacts, and they are working hard to adapt so they can continue to feed our communities,” said Executive Director at CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) Philip Korman. “They – along with all of us who rely on them – need a robust emergency response system that can react quickly when crisis hits. The new Massachusetts Farm Resiliency Fund is a vital piece of that puzzle, providing quick-turnaround grants that can help our local farmers manage the losses to their crops, infrastructure, and land. We’re proud to be part of the statewide team that created it, and beyond grateful to the donors that have made it a reality.”

“As the community foundation serving western Massachusetts, we are dedicated to ensuring that the Massachusetts Farm Resiliency Fund provides immediate relief in a way that works for farmers of our region,” said CFWM President and CEO Megan Burke. “We are deeply grateful to generous donors from throughout Massachusetts and beyond who are helping to make this possible.”

“We are deeply saddened by the impact of recent flooding on the local farming community and recognize the scale of this event extends well beyond us here today,” said Liberty Mutual Foundation President Melissa MacDonnell. “Liberty Mutual, at its core, has always been about being there for people when they need us most. Through this Fund, we are proud to support the community in its recovery, restoration and to prepare for the increased risks of tomorrow.”

“We recognize the significant impact this summer’s flooding had on the livelihoods of local farmers and the domino effect it has had on the local economy as well as organizations supporting food security in the region,” said Dennis Duquette, head of Community Responsibility at MassMutual and president of the MassMutual Foundation. “We applaud the relief efforts of the United Way of Central Massachusetts working in concert with the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts and are grateful to Governor Healey and Lt. Governor Driscoll for their leadership and rapid response to organize this critical, cross-collaborative initiative to which we’re proud to provide support for these vital farms across western and central Massachusetts.”

“Our roots at Granite run deep throughout Massachusetts, and these important connections include not just the thousands of businesses we proudly serve, but also the Western Massachusetts community where I was born and raised,” said Granite CEO and Founder Rob Hale. “When the needs arose due to the historic flooding and harsh impact on Massachusetts farming communities, Granite was proud to step up for our communities and provide assistance.”

More information about the fund can be found here and at unitedwaycm.org/farmfund.

 

Media Contact: Karissa Hand, Press Secretary