Thursday, September 27, 2018

Rain in Hadley: Farmers find buckets of financial relief

photo: Rhubarbi St. Germaine
September 27, 2018


In Hadley, rainfall was 75% higher than average in July and August. 

CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) announced today that their revolving Emergency Farm Fund has been reopened to aid Pioneer Valley farms that have been affected by extreme weather events during the 2018 growing season, including the excessive rainfall in July and August.

"Many growers have seen reduced yields and crop losses this year due to the unusually wet and rainy summer, which can put them into a difficult cash situation," says Philip Korman, CISA's Executive Director. "We hope these loans will offer farmers options for bridging financial gaps, investing in infrastructure that builds resilience, or preparing for the next growing season."

The CISA Emergency Farm Fund is offering no-interest loans up to $10,000, and the application period will be open until October 31, 2018. Application information can be found at buylocalfood.org.

This disaster-recovery fund has filled a longstanding financing gap for local farms. "The CISA Emergency Farm Fund is an important supplement to the public safety net provided by state and federal government programs," says Korman. "The Fund's small, no-interest, quick turnaround loans are able to provide assistance right away to help tide the farms over. "

The CISA Emergency Farm Fund was launched in 2011 in partnership with Whole Foods Market and Equity Trust in response to the damage suffered by farms in western Massachusetts due to Hurricane Irene. CISA has reopened the fund three times since its creation, and distributed a total of $221,000 in loans to 24 farms. 

The Fund is managed by CISA with the assistance of Equity Trust. The Loan Review Committee includes people with a variety of agricultural backgrounds, including farmers, CISA staff and board members, and representatives from Whole Foods Market, Equity Trust, and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources.