The Recorder – CISA administers $110,000 in loans to help farms recover from summer storms

Published: 03/27/2022 22:57:12

Modified: 03/27/2022 22:56:16

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) has provided interest-free loans to eight local farms that were hard hit by heavy downpours that battered the area last summer.

Totaling $110,000, CISA’s Farm Emergency Fund is used to help farms overcome financial obstacles and loss of income due to flooding, soil loss, crop damage and other problems resulting from heavy summer rainfall. Farms in Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire counties were eligible for loans of up to $20,000.

“The fund fills a gap in the support network for farms and allows them to cover immediate expenses so they can keep farming, keep investing in their businesses, and keep working towards their larger goals,” said CISA Executive Director Philip Korman in a press release. Release. “We rely on the support and donations of the community, and are so grateful to all of our supporters for making the Emergency Farm Fund possible – and all of CISA’s work.”

From Northampton to Montague, farms up and down the Pioneer Valley have been hit by severe summer weather, which has significantly affected farming operations and harvests, the statement said.

“Last season was horrible. We lost pretty much everything that wasn’t in a greenhouse or a big tunnel. The fields were so muddy we lost our boots in the mud, so we couldn’t even get there. come in to work,” said Meghan Hastings, farm manager of Dave’s Natural Garden in Granby. “This loan is huge for us. see it coming back, so that will help us close that gap.

In Northampton, 2 Cents Homegrown owner Shaunia Swinton said she missed a significant part of the farming season because she had just rented land after previously operating in Belchertown.

“It was so difficult because I was learning about the soil and the ecosystem on my new land, and I have very limited agricultural infrastructure – no greenhouse or anything – so my season is already short,” said Swinton in the release. “All the rain on top of that really shortened my season and limited what I could harvest.”

Swinton said the loan would help him recover from last season’s losses while helping him grow his business.

“This loan is a bit of capital that helps me make up for what I lost and helps me take the next step, without having to jump through a lot of hurdles,” she said.

CISA’s Farm Emergency Fund was created in 2011 in response to Tropical Storm Irene and is often deployed to help farms “address critical and urgent needs,” the statement said. A loan review committee includes people from a variety of agricultural backgrounds, including farmers, CISA staff and board members, as well as representatives from The Carrot Project, Franklin County Community Development Corporation , Pioneer Valley Grows Investment Fund, State Department of Agricultural Resources and Equity Trusts.

“The CISA Agricultural Emergency Fund was created to help farmers get through tough times like last summer,” Korman explained in the statement, “when excessive rainfall drowned crops on many local farms.” .

The following eight Pioneer Valley farms have received CISA loans: Many Graces Farm & Design in Northampton, Red Fire Farm in Granby, Twin Oaks Farm in Hadley, Dave’s Natural Garden in Granby, Bardwell Farm in Hatfield, 2 Cents Home Grown in Northampton and Forest City Farms in Middletown, Connecticut.

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