News & Updates

5
Nov
News and Views - Oct/Nov 2021 Edition Now Online!

Katelyn Parsons

The latest edition of MFBF’s News & Views is now online. Please click here to download a PDF version of the newsletter.

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30
Sep
USDA announces $3 billion investment in agriculture, animal health, & nutrition

Katelyn Parsons

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a comprehensive set of investments to address challenges facing America’s agricultural producers. These include assistance to address challenges and costs associated with drought, animal health, market disruptions for agricultural commodities, and school…

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30
Sep
Invasive spotted lanternfly population found in Worcester Co.

Katelyn Parsons

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) announced today that a small population of the invasive spotted lanternfly has been found in the City of Fitchburg, close to where a lanternfly nymph was reported earlier this summer. Agricultural inspectors are in the middle of performing…

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29
Sep
Advocacy Organization Contacts Massachusetts Farmers Regarding 2016’s Ballot Question Implementation Deadline

Katelyn Parsons

You may have received an email from the Americans For Family Farmers organization asking you to sign onto a letter asking the Massachusetts legislature to maintain the 2016 Ballot Question 3’s current implementation deadline of Jan. 1, 2022. This organization states extending the deadline to 2024…

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28
Sep
MFBF Names Sunderland Cat ‘Barn Cat of the Year’

Katelyn Parsons

‘No working farm is complete without a working cat!’ This line is straight out of Sophie-Jane’s nomination for Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation’s (MFBF’s) barn cat of the year, which was submitted by her owner Laurie Cuevas. It showcases how important these larger-than-life…

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16
Sep
Baker-Polito Administration Announces $15 Million in Support for the Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program

Katelyn Parsons

Building on investments to address food insecurity amongMassachusetts residents, the Baker-Polito Administration today announced it has made available $15 million in funding through a second round of its Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program. The funding will enable the Administration to continue…

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3
Sep
RMA makes improvements to Whole-Farm Revenue Protection

Katelyn Parsons

Organic and aquaculture producers can soon benefit from updates to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Whole-Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) plan. USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) is revising the plan of insurance to make it more flexible and accessible to producers beginning in…

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2
Sep
Important Updates to Pandemic Assistance For “Sales Commodity” Producers

Katelyn Parsons

USDA made two important announcements on Aug. 24, 2021 for assistance to “sales commodity” producers under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2). “Sales commodities” include fruits, vegetables, maple sap, honey, Christmas trees, shellfish and tobacco. Originally…

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2
Sep
Risk Management Programs for Aquaculture

Katelyn Parsons

Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) The deadline to purchase a NAP policy for your 2022 crop is Sept. 30, 2021! NAP can provide shellfish growers with catastrophic coverage for losses due to natural disasters to shellfish growers. NAP is sold and serviced by your local USDA Farm Service…

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27
Aug
FDA’s Guidance for Industry: Evaluating the Safety of Flood-affected Food Crops for Human Consumption

Katelyn Parsons

With the excessive amount of rain we’ve received so far this season, and the projection of an active hurricane season this fall, flooding is an issue for many farms this year, particularly in the Western end of the state. If your farm is susceptible to flooding, please read the FDA’s Guidance…

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27
Aug
Growing Your Farm Business Planning Course

Katelyn Parsons

Tuesday evenings, January 11 to March 8, 2022 – Location to be determined MDAR offers a hands-on course to help established farmers develop a business plan and financial projections for their farm business. This course covers topics including resource assessment, marketing strategy, financial…

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27
Aug
USDA establishes Dairy Donation Program

Katelyn Parsons

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh announced the establishment of a $400 million Dairy Donation Program (DDP) on a call with Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow. The DDP, established by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) in accordance…

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24
Aug
First Steps Made In $2B+ Package Of Assistance For Dairy Farmers

Katelyn Parsons

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the details of the Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program as part of meetings with farmers and a tour of farms with Senator Leahy. In June, Secretary Vilsack committed to providing additional pandemic assistance for dairy farmers in an exchange…

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24
Aug
UMass Offers Invasive Insect Certification Program

Katelyn Parsons

This six-day webinar series looks at the characteristics, impacts and costs of invasive insects, highlighting the biology, ecology, and identification of some of the most destructive insects. Also covered will be state and federal regulations pertaining to invasive insect management, invasive forest…

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24
Aug
Can You Get Salmonella From Your Backyard Chickens?

Katelyn Parsons

For those with backyard poultry, like chickens or ducks, a Texas A&M AgriLife expert encourages taking precautions against salmonella exposure as cases spike across the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an uptick in salmonella cases, 672, with 157 hospitalizations…

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18
Aug
Farmers At Risk For EEE, Support Science-Based Mosquito Control

Katelyn Parsons

Massachusetts farmers spend many of their working hours outside. Their busiest time is often late summer and early fall, which puts them at a greater risk for contracting diseases spread through mosquitos, particularly Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). This disease can cause severe illness and possibly…

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30
Jul
Funding aims to help heirs resolve land succession issues

Katelyn Parsons

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced during a press conference with U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, U.S. Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., and U.S. Congresswoman Cheri Bustos that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing $67 million in competitive loans through the new Heirs’…

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29
Jul
Franklin County Fairgrounds Mudslide Fundraiser

Katelyn Parsons

The Franklin County Agricultural Society, which owns the Franklin County Fairgrounds, has a very serious issue with an embankment collapse. Over the past three years, an increasing amount of underground water has caused four new streams to form beneath the soil at the Fairgrounds. The water has found…

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29
Jul
MFBF Identifies Needs of Livestock Producers For Slaughter, Meat Processing

Katelyn Parsons

The Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) is pleased to release the results from its’ survey to assess the needs of livestock producers for slaughter and meat processing. To view a PDF copy of the results, please click here.   The results are from 144 livestock producers, 89 of…

29
Jul
CDC Updates Masks Recommendations For Vaccinated Individuals

Katelyn Parsons

The Centers for Disease Control has updated information for fully vaccinated people, given new evidence of the coronavirus Delta variant currently circulating in the U.S., and recommends in some circumstances fully vaccinated people wear masks in public indoor settings. In light of these recommendations,…

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29
Jul
Officials urge public to inspect boxwood shrubs for pest

Katelyn Parsons

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) is alerting Massachusetts residents that it has received notification from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) that a number of nurseries within the Commonwealth received Canadian…

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26
Jul
MFBF Identifies Needs of Livestock Producers For Slaughter, Meat Processing

Katelyn Parsons

The Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) is pleased to release the results from its’ survey to assess the needs of livestock producers for slaughter and meat processing. To view a PDF copy of the results, please click here.   The results are from 144 livestock producers, 89 of…

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21
Jul
Deadline fast approaching for CRP general signup

Katelyn Parsons

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is reminding producers and landowners that the signup deadline for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) current general signup is fast approaching. Eligible producers must submit their offers by July 23, 2021. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) made several…

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21
Jul
Chicken marketers urged to innovate to meet emerging needs

Katelyn Parsons

With an estimated 20% of the workforce working at home beyond 2021, there will be 30 million meal occasions daily that used to be lunches consumed away from home. According to research presented today at the 2021 Chicken Marketing Summit, this presents an unprecedented opportunity for innovation for…

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21
Jul
USDA pandemic assistance available for timber harvesters, haulers

Katelyn Parsons

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing up to $200 million to provide relief to timber harvesting and timber hauling businesses that have experienced losses due to COVID-19 as part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. Loggers and truckers can apply for assistance…

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20
Jul
Celebrate National Farmers Market Week, Aug. 1st - 7th

Katelyn Parsons

The Farmers Market Coalition (FMC), a national organization committed to strengthening farmers markets, announces the launch of the nationwide campaign celebrating the 22nd annual National Farmers Market Week (NFMW), August 1st – 7th, 2021. NFMW, a weeklong celebration formally declared by the…

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19
Jul
Engineering Seeds To Resist Drought

Katelyn Parsons

As the world continues to warm, many arid regions that already have marginal conditions for agriculture will be increasingly under stress, potentially leading to severe food shortages. Now, researchers at MIT have come up with a promising process for protecting seeds from the stress of water shortage…

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19
Jul
USDA To Forecast Fruit Production

Katelyn Parsons

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will conduct a forecast survey for 2021 tree fruit (apples and peaches) and cranberry production during August 2021. The survey will collect information about acreage and projected production from close to 500…

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19
Jul
Apply For MFBF’s Gregory Finn Scholarship

Katelyn Parsons

The Gregory Finn Scholarship was established in loving memory of a good friend to agriculture, Gregory L. Finn. Finn was Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation’s (MFBF’s) Information & Public Relations Director, a religious and devoted family man, who died of a heart attack in 1983 at…

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19
Jul
PFML Update: What you need to know

Katelyn Parsons

All Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) benefits are now available, including leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition. The following are the most recent updates available to educate and guide you through this process. Updated: PFML Employer Toolkit Updated: PFML…

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19
Jul
USDA To Provide Pandemic Assistance To Livestock Producers For Animal Losses

Katelyn Parsons

Livestock and poultry producers who suffered losses during the pandemic due to insufficient access to processing can apply for assistance for those losses and the cost of depopulation and disposal of the animals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Vilsack announced the Pandemic Livestock…

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19
Jul
News and Views - June/July 2021 Edition Now Online!

Katelyn Parsons

The latest edition of MFBF’s News & Views is now online. Please click here to download a PDF version of the newsletter.

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28
Jun
MDAR: APR Program Accepting Applications - Application Deadline Extended to July 23rd

Katelyn Parsons

APR Program Accepting Applications – Application Deadline Extended to July 23rd The Department is currently accepting applications for the Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program. The Program purchases the non-agricultural value of the farmland in exchange for a permanent deed restriction…

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11
Jun
Specialty Crop COVID-19 Priority Area Survey

Katelyn Parsons

The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funds projects that aim to enhance the production and competitiveness of Specialty Crop industries in Massachusetts. Through H.R. 133, USDA will be distributing additional funds for a second round of FY21 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funding. Projects addressing…

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11
Jun
MDAR: June/July Farm and Market Report

Katelyn Parsons

The Farm and Market Report is the MDAR’s bi-monthly newsletter which includes the Commissioner’s Column, program and grant updates, workshop and educational updates, USDA News, along with a Calendar and Classified section. Click HERE for the latest Issue

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1
Jun
MDAR: MassGrown Exchange - Food/Produce Buyers - Recent Listings and Updates

Katelyn Parsons

Recent listings:  Lamb, beef, and honey! Job postings, farmers markets and more!  Kitchen Team Member at Bob’s Turkey Farm, Scituate and East Longmeadow farmers markets looking for vendors, and Milton School looking for fruits and vegetables. Wholesale Farmers – Looking for new…

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17
May
MDAR: USDA LAMP Grants, Dairy Marketing & Branding Services Grant, and SBA Drought and Disaster Deadlines

Katelyn Parsons

USDA Announces the Availability of $92.2 million in Competitive Grant Funding under the 2018 Farm Bill’s Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP)   The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the availability of $92.2 million in competitive grant funding under the 2018 Farm Bill’s…

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17
May
Baker-Polito Administration to Lift COVID Restrictions May 29

Katelyn Parsons

Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced that the Commonwealth is on track to meet the goal of vaccinating 4.1 million residents by the first week of June and all remaining COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted effective May 29. The Commonwealth’s face covering order will also be rescinded…

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10
May
SBA Working Capital Loans Available in Massachusetts Following Secretary of Agriculture Disaster Declaration for Drought Beginning Sept. 22

Katelyn Parsons

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced today that Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and private nonprofit organizations as a result of drought that began on Sept. 22, 2020.   The…

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7
May
News and Views - April/May 2021 Edition Now Online!

Katelyn Parsons

The latest edition of MFBF’s News & Views is now online. Please click here to download a PDF version of the newsletter.

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7
May
The MFBF & Clearway: A Special Offer for MFBF Members

Katelyn Parsons

Massachusetts Farm Bureau members can now go solar, no roof required. When you join a Clearway Community Solar Farm, you can support renewable power for the Commonwealth and receive an additional savings guarantee on energy. Through our special partnership with Clearway, there is no sign up cost, no…

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4
May
Producer Survey: Massachusetts Coordinated Soil Health Program

Katelyn Parsons

American Farmland Trust and the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture have convened a Soil Health Advisory Committee who are working to identify how technical support and financial assistance for healthy soils practices can be strengthened in the Commonwealth. Your feedback will help to inform and…

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28
Apr
Hemp and Marijuana Production on APR and Farm Viability Protected Lands

Katelyn Parsons

In an effort to support the Massachusetts agricultural community, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) held statewide listening sessions in early 2020 seeking input on ways to improve its Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program and Farm Viability Enhancement Program…

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28
Apr
USDA Seeks Comments on Food System Supply Chains

Katelyn Parsons

USDA Seeks Comments on Food System Supply Chains in Response to President Biden’s Executive Order to Support Resilient, Diverse, Secure Supply Chains Federal Register Notice Outlines Information Requested by May 21 WASHINGTON, April 21, 2021 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced…

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27
Apr
MDAR: Baker-Polito Administration Announces Plans for Continued Reopening

Katelyn Parsons

The Baker-Polito Administration announced that Massachusetts will reopen some outdoor Phase 4, Step 2 industries effective May 10th and put plans in place for further reopening on May 29th and August 1st. The Administration continues to take steps to reopen the Commonwealth’s economy…

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27
Apr
New England, New York Commercial Livestock Producers Input Needed!

Katelyn Parsons

Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) is conducting a survey to assess the slaughter and meat processing needs of livestock producers. Commercial red meat and poultry producers in Massachusetts and adjoining states are encouraged to share their thoughts at: https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/6292468/Needs-of-Livestock-Producers-Relative-to-Processing. The…

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26
Apr
MFBF Applauds Steamship Authority’s Loosening Restrictions On Hay Transportation

Katelyn Parsons

MARLBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – April 26, 2021 – The Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) was pleased when the Steamship Authority announced on April 14 in a memo that it would allow bailed, oil-free hay aboard all SSA vessels. This change came after MFBF members on Martha’s Vineyard,…

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21
Apr
MDAR: Opportunity To Rent Farmland in Northampton - Spotted Lanternfly Webinars - New FY22 Destination Development Capital (DDC) Grant Program

Katelyn Parsons

Opportunity to Rent Farmland in Northampton – Deadline for Applications is May 14 at 3:00PM MDAR is soliciting proposals for farmers to rent approximately 19.2+/- acres of farmland located on Rocky Hill Road/ Route 66 in Northampton, Massachusetts.  The property is directly across the road…

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20
Apr
Alert - Your Advocacy Voice Need on Beacon Hill

Katelyn Parsons

The Massachusetts House will soon begin debate on amendments to the House budget. Several amendments have been proposed which are important to the agricultural Community. LEARN MORE & TAKE ACTION  

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13
Apr
Paid Family and Medical Leave

Katelyn Parsons

Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) benefits are now available to your employees as of January 1, 2021 and we have already received a lot of interest in the program.

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7
Apr
MDAR: Open Application Period for MDAR Grants

Katelyn Parsons

Open Application Period for MDAR Grants MDAR is now accepting applications from agricultural operations who wish to participate in the Department’s grant programs. Grants are available to help agricultural operations make farm improvements that enhance their economic viability, help prevent negative…

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7
Apr
USDA Announces Funding Available to Organizations to Assist Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers under Pandemic Assistance for Producers Initiative

Katelyn Parsons

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) yesterday announced the availability of $2 million to establish partnerships with organizations to provide outreach and technical assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. The funding was made possible by USDA’s…

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1
Apr
AFBF Joins National Campaign to Boost Vaccine Confidence

Katelyn Parsons

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall today joined Vice President Kamala Harris and leaders from around the country to launch the COVID-19 Community Corps. AFBF is a founding member of the initiative, which seeks to increase vaccine confidence. In his remarks, Duvall underscored the…

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1
Apr
MDAR: Opportunity To Rent Land In Templeton, MA - Multiple Parcels

Katelyn Parsons

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) is soliciting proposals for farmers to rent farmland located at the Templeton Developmental Center (TDC) in Templeton, Massachusetts. The property comprises multiple fields ranging in size from 1.5 acres to 22 acres.  The total land…

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31
Mar
COVID-19 Aid Released and Expanded to Include More Producers

Katelyn Parsons

USDA announced today its plans to distribute more than $12 billion under a program called Pandemic Assistance for Producers, which includes aid that had been put on hold as well as funds newly allocated in the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The program assists farmers and ranchers who previously did…

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25
Mar
MDAR: DLS Alert: Farm Value Advisory Commission FY22 Recommended Chapter Land Values

Katelyn Parsons

Farm Value Advisory Commission FY22 Recommended Chapter Land Values The Division of Local Services has posted the Farmland Valuation Advisory Commission adopted range of recommended agricultural, horticultural, and forest land use values for the various categories of land classified under Chapter 61…

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23
Mar
MDAR: Application Period Open for MDAR Viability Grant Programs

Katelyn Parsons

Application Period Open for MDAR Viability Grant Programs The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) is accepting applications from Massachusetts farmers who wish to participate in these Department programs that help with farm viability in Fiscal Year 2022.  Applications are…

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22
Mar
Farmland Valuations

Katelyn Parsons

The Farmland Valuation Advisory Commission (FVAC) annually meets to adopt the range of recommended agricultural, horticultural and forest land use values for the various categories of land classified under Chapter 61 and 61A. In valuing land classified as agricultural, horticultural or forest land under…

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18
Mar
Massachusetts Loosens Restrictions for a Range of Indoor and Outdoor Venues

Katelyn Parsons

Massachusetts is loosening restrictions and announcing new operation guidelines for sports and entertainment venues, as well as replacing its travel advisory starting Monday, the governor said. As of March 22, large capacity sports and entertainment venues – including indoor and outdoor stadiums,…

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17
Mar
Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) Vaccinations

Katelyn Parsons

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile Virus (WNV) are spread by mosquitos and can cause fatal neurologic disease in horses, other animals, and people. Routine vaccination can prevent these diseases in horses. Cannot afford this life-saving vaccine? MDAR is partnering with local veterinarians…

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17
Mar
Vaccine Update for Food and Ag Workers

Katelyn Parsons

All staff involved in the production, processing, storage, transport, wholesale and retail sale, preparation, and service of food and consumer goods, including farm and other agricultural workers, including farm stand and nurseries” become eligible for vaccines 3/22/2021. Also included are “Food…

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12
Mar
Write your members of Congress today and urge them to support the Death Tax Repeal Act!

Katelyn Parsons

Farmers and ranchers are disproportionately impacted by estate taxes due to the value of farmland, making it difficult to continue a family business after the death of a loved one.  Many of you have experienced the impacts of the estate tax, or death tax.  Imagine if other farmers and ranchers…

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11
Mar
Guidelines for Farmworker Housing

Katelyn Parsons

MFBF has been in discussion with DAR to clarify requirements for farmworker housing under COVID and to facilitate more flexible requirements that are site and situation specific. To this end, DAR, DPH and Department of Career Services have revised guidance on farm labor housing requirements.  Please…

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11
Mar
Farmers Sought for Interviews ($50 incentive) for UNH Study on Farm Viability

Katelyn Parsons

The Food Systems Lab at the University of New Hampshire is conducting a research study about increasing farm income and local and regional food production in New England. Participation involves a conversational interview (on the farm or virtual) that lasts about an hour. Participants will be offered…

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11
Mar
March 15 Deadline for election & enrollment for 2021 ARC, PLC programs

Katelyn Parsons

DES MOINES, Iowa — Agricultural producers in Iowa who have not yet elected and enrolled in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for 2021 have until March 15. Producers who have not signed a contract or who want to make an election change should contact their…

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9
Mar
Stewardship Assistance and Restoration (SARA) application period open

Katelyn Parsons

Request for Response Application – AGR SARA 2022  The SARA program helps improve the status and condition of land that has been protected by an APR.  Massachusetts farmers who own or operate farmland placed under an APR held by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources are…

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5
Mar
MA Farm Bureau 2021 Legislative White Paper

Katelyn Parsons

The Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) is a non-profit dedicated to representing and protecting the interests of farmers. It is a grassroots organization run by farmers, for farmers. All MFBF’s policy is developed and approved by its farmer members.  

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5
Mar
February/March 2021 News & Views Now Online!

Katelyn Parsons

The latest edition of MFBF’s News & Views is now online. Please click HERE to download a PDF version of the newsletter.

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2
Mar
Bristol County Board of Directors Propose County Bylaw Change

Katelyn Parsons

Please be advised the Bristol County Board of Directors recommend the following changes to  our county bylaws: Current Bristol County Bylaw: Article V, Section 3, Quorum: Seven (7) members of Board of Directors shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of all business of this County Farm Bureau.…

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24
Feb
The State of: Advocacy in 2021

Katelyn Parsons

Advocating for farmers and ranchers with Congress, the White House and numerous federal departments and agencies is the cornerstone of Farm Bureau’s work. With few opportunities to engage with policymakers in person in the coming months, Farm Bureau will have to adjust, adapt, and enhance the…

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24
Feb
USDA ready to assist farmers affected by winter storms

Katelyn Parsons

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds rural communities, farmers and ranchers, families and small businesses affected by the recent winter storms that USDA has programs that provide assistance. USDA staff in the regional, state and county offices are prepared with…

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17
Feb
Eighth Biennial Harvest New England Agricultural Marketing Conference & Trade Show

Katelyn Parsons

February 24-25: There is Still Time to Register! Extra Two Day Seminar for Market Managers Set for February 22 -23  Although we’ll miss seeing you in person, the virtual conference is set for two half days on February 24 and 25 and will be offered at no cost to attendees. Reserve your spot…

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11
Feb
MA RMV Reminds Customers to be Aware of Cyber Security Text Scams

Katelyn Parsons

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) wants to remind you the agency would never request personal information via text messaging. The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA), is reporting several states have experienced customers receiving unsolicited text messages…

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2
Feb
MDAR: Three Request for Responses (RFR) - Specialty Crop, FSMIP, and Mosquito Control Task Force Study

Katelyn Parsons

MDAR Seeks Responses for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program The purpose of the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) is to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Specialty crops are defined as “fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including…

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28
Jan
USDA Temporarily Suspends Debt Collections due to COVID

Katelyn Parsons

USDA Temporarily Suspends Debt Collections, Foreclosures and Other Activities on Farm Loans for Several Thousand Distressed Borrowers Due to Coronavirus WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2021 – Due to the national public health emergency caused by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the U.S. Department of…

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28
Jan
COVID-19 Vaccination for Food and Agriculture Workers Webinar

Katelyn Parsons

CDC has designed a COVID-19 Vaccination Communication Toolkit for Essential Workers to help employers build confidence in this important new vaccine. The toolkit will help employers across various industries educate their workforce about COVID-19 vaccines, raise awareness about the benefits of…

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26
Jan
Tax implications of the new COVID-19 relief bill

Katelyn Parsons

Farm Credit East Senior Tax Consultant Dario Arezzo presented a webinar on January 14th ENFIELD, Conn. — The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 was signed into law in the final hours of 2020. How does this new bill impact agricultural producers? Find out below…

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22
Jan
American Farm Bureau Federation Adds Massachusetts Aquaculture Resolution To Policy Book

Katelyn Parsons

A Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) resolution focused on excluding shellfish aquaculture workers from the term “seamen” under the Jones Act (Section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act), has made it into 2021 American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) policy. The resolution provides that…

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21
Jan
Federal Agricultural Programs Update

Katelyn Parsons

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2): Producers who received a CFAP 2 payment under the “Sales Commodities” category (fruits, vegetables, aquaculture, nursery, honey, maple, etc.) and also received a Federal Crop Insurance indemnity payment and/or a payment under the Noninsured…

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12
Jan
Farmers and FMCSA Biennial Updates

Katelyn Parsons

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires all entities under its jurisdiction to update their information every two years. You are required to provide this update every two years even if your company has not changed its information, has ceased interstate operations since the…

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12
Jan
SBA PPP Reopens Jan 11

Katelyn Parsons

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the Treasury Department, announced that the Paycheck Protection Program will re-open the week of January 11 for new borrowers and certain existing PPP borrowers. To promote access to capital, initially only community financial…

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12
Jan
MMFBF Member Meg Gennings Re-Appointed to AFBF Issues Advisory Committee

Katelyn Parsons

Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) is pleased to announce that Meg Gennings from Amherst has been re-appointed by American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Zippy Duvall to AFBF’s animal care advisory committee. AFBF’s advisory committees play an important role in the organization’s…

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12
Jan
2021 People’s Choice Pup, Farm Dog of the Year contest.

Katelyn Parsons

The people have spoken, meet the 2021 People’s Choice Pup, as part of the Farm Dog of the Year contest. Congratulations, Sawyer—a Brittany from Massachusetts! Sawyer is owned by former MFBF Elizabeth Smith! https://fb.watch/2ZpMQXcVH5/

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8
Jan
News and Views - December 2020/January 2021 Edition Now Online!

Katelyn Parsons

The latest edition of MFBF’s News & Views is now online. Please click here to download a PDF version of the newsletter.

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6
Jan
What’s In the New COVID-19 Relief Package for Agriculture?

Katelyn Parsons

Learn what’s in the new COVID-19 relief package for agriculture..

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6
Jan
AFBF Annual Convention

Katelyn Parsons

The American Farm Bureau Federation has opened registration for the 2021 American Farm Bureau Virtual Convention and unveiled the lineup of featured speakers including Mike Rowe, Rorke Denver and Beth Ford. Register today…

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23
Dec
USDA announces 2021 application ranking dates for conservation program

Katelyn Parsons

AMHERST, Mass. December 16, 2020 – Do you own or manage farmland or forest land in Massachusetts? Could you use some technical and financial help in managing it more effectively? The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) encourages you to sign up…

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11
Dec
Online Pesticide Exam is Live

Katelyn Parsons

MDAR is pleased to announce the pesticide exam is now online and live! CLICK HERE (PDF) to read the document which will provide some key details about the new system.  Additionally, the Department has provided some guidance documents on the webpage as well (link below). https://www.mass.gov/guides/applying-for-a-pesticide-exam-license-and-renewal-through-the-eplace-portal…

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9
Dec
Three Farmers Awarded MFBAPF John & Liolia Schipper Grants

Katelyn Parsons

Following a competitive selection process, the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Agricultural Preservation Foundation (MFBAPF) selected three farmers from 28 applications to receive grants from the John& Liolia Schipper Grant program. These grants are focused on assisting Massachusetts farmers in becoming…

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7
Dec
Farm Bureau Delegates Elect Board Members, Adopt Resolutions

Katelyn Parsons

MARLBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – Dec. 4, 2020 – Today Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) held its 2020 annual meeting virtually, during which delegates voted on board of director positions and discussed and adopted resolutions. They also approved structural changes for the organization,…

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7
Dec
Nutrient Management Webinar

Katelyn Parsons

REVIEW & RECORD KEEPING WEBINAR Thursday, December 17, 2020 12:00 – 2:00 PM Register Today! The webinar is free: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/regist er/9059515528721232908 Speakers Hotze Wijnja, MDAR: Regulation Review Masoud Hashemi, UMass Extension: The 4R’s of Nutrient Management…

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3
Dec
AFBF Annual Convention & Silent Auction Info

Katelyn Parsons

Registration Open for American Farm Bureau Virtual Convention, Featuring Mike Rowe, Rorke Denver and Beth Ford WASHINGTON, December 3, 2020 – The American Farm Bureau Federation opened registration today for the 2021 American Farm Bureau Virtual Convention and unveiled the lineup of featured speakers…

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24
Nov
CFAP2 payment details announced

Katelyn Parsons

 USDA has announced details for enrollment for the second round of payments for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP2). This program will authorize up to $14 billion in direct payments to farmers and ranchers to partially help offset the financial impacts that U.S. farmers and ranchers…

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19
Nov
U.S. Department of Transportation Helps American Farmers and Commercial Drivers by Clarifying Agricultural Commodity Definitions

Katelyn Parsons

Thursday, November 19, 2020 WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced that it is has published a final rule clarifying agricultural commodity and livestock definitions in hours-of-service (HOS) regulations. The…

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19
Nov
USDA announces updated Conservation Practice Standards

Katelyn Parsons

Provides guidelines for planning, designing, installing, operating and maintaining conservation practices WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has completed and published updates to its set of National Conservation Practice…

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18
Nov
MDAR: Extras - Deadlines and Upcoming Event

Katelyn Parsons

USDA Reminds Dairy Producers of December 11th Deadline for 2021 Safety-Net Enrollment September Triggers Fourth Dairy Margin Coverage Payment for 2020 Program Participants The USDA reminds dairy producers that the deadline to enroll in Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) for calendar year 2021 is Friday, Dec.…

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5
Nov
Learn How Your Operation Can Benefit from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) 2

Katelyn Parsons

The UMass Extension Risk Management Education Program in cooperation with the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation and the USDA – Farm Service Agency (FSA) conducted an information session via Zoom Meeting on CFAP 2 along with some upcoming Federal Crop Insurance deadlines on Wednesday, November…

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4
Nov
October/November News & Views Now Available!

Katelyn Parsons

The newest issue of Massachusetts Farm Bureau’s News & Views is now online!

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30
Oct
Financial Assistance Available: Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) 2

Katelyn Parsons

Signup began September 21 and runs through December 11, 2020, for the second round of Coronavirus Food Assistance Program payments (CFAP 2) at the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Office that serves your farming operation . The purpose of CFAP 2 is to provide financial assistance to producers who continue…

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28
Oct
Upcoming Webinars: USDA Coronavirus Relief Programs and Dairy Risk Management - Updated Economic Impact Study Released

Katelyn Parsons

The USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, Part 2 (CFAP 2): What “Specialty Crop” Producers Should Know Date: Friday, November 6, 11AM-Noon EST Target Audience: Nursery & Greenhouse Growers, Fruit & Vegetable Growers, Aquaculture Producers, Tobacco Growers, Maple Syrup Producers,…

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26
Oct
Agricultural Business Training Program (ABTP)

Katelyn Parsons

Offers courses, trainings, and workshops to Massachusetts farmers. MDAR’s Agricultural Business Training Program offers two courses for Massachusetts agricultural enterprises: Exploring the Small Farm Dream – five session course, typically offered on weekday evenings, using curriculum and…

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23
Oct
Learn How Your Operation Can Benefit from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) 2

Katelyn Parsons

The UMass Extension Risk Management Education Program in cooperation with the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation and the USDA – Farm Service Agency (FSA) conducted an information session via Zoom Meeting on CFAP 2 along with some upcoming Federal Crop Insurance deadlines on Wednesday, November…

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20
Oct
Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) has upgraded to a new system known as ATLAS

Katelyn Parsons

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) has upgraded to a new system, ATLAS, to deliver exceptional customer service. As part of the upgrade to ATLAS, the  system  includes a new eServices Portal for Section 5. The eServices Portal will give your users the ability to: Apply for…

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15
Oct
AFBF21 Virtual Annual Convention

Katelyn Parsons

2021 Virtual Annual Convention The 102nd American Farm Bureau Convention will be held online following the cancellation of all events through January 31, 2021, at the San Diego Convention Center where the convention was scheduled to take place. Our event will be fully virtual to accommodate this change…

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15
Oct
12 Massachusetts County Farm Bureaus Gather Virtually To Set Policy Priorities For 2021, Beyond

Katelyn Parsons

MARLBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – Oct. 15, 2020 – This year, the 12 counties that make up Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) met virtually to elect their officers and establish legislative priorities for 2021 and beyond. Typically, these meetings are held in person, during which members…

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14
Oct
Dairy Margin Coverage Program Enrollment for 2021 Opens Oct. 13

Katelyn Parsons

Enhancements to Online Dairy Decision Tool Now Available CHIPPEWA FALLS, WISCONSIN, Oct. 8, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin accepting applications for the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 for 2021 enrollment. “This year has been…

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14
Oct
Critical drought conditions declared in parts of Massachusetts

Katelyn Parsons

BOSTON — Due to five months of below normal rainfall, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Kathleen Theoharides today declared a Level 3 – Critical Drought in the Southeast Region of the Commonwealth. The other six regions across the state — the Western, Connecticut River…

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9
Oct
Baker-Polito Administration Declares October “Massachusetts Cranberry Month”

Katelyn Parsons

Boston — Governor Charlie Baker today declared October as “Massachusetts Cranberry Month,” continuing the Commonwealth’s support of cranberry farmers and encouraging Massachusetts residents to purchase locally produced cranberry products. “The cranberry industry is a significant…

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7
Oct
MA DPH COVID-19 Community Impact Survey

Katelyn Parsons

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MA-DPH) is trying to hear from communities so that it can better help people through the COVID-19 crisis. By taking this survey, you can help find new solutions to community problems, and give MA-DPH the information they need to take action and support…

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7
Oct
White-Reinhardt Grants and Scholarships

Katelyn Parsons

Applications for White-Reinhardt grants and scholarships are due October 15! $1,000 grants are available for county and state Farm Bureaus to fund Spring 2021 ag literacy projects. Scholarships to the 2021 National Ag in the Classroom Conference in Iowa are also available! Scholarships provide travel…

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5
Oct
FMLA Important Notice Pertaining to Annual Rate Adjustments

Katelyn Parsons

Pursuant to Section 30 of the Acts of 2018, the Department of Family and Medical Leave will not make adjustments to the contribution rate or the maximum weekly benefit amount until October 2021. Accordingly, the following rates will remain in effect for calendar year 2021: The contribution rate will…

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1
Oct
Zoom Meeting on Covid-19 and Agritourism/PYO - 10/5 at 1 PM

Katelyn Parsons

Farm Bureau/DAR call on  COVID-19 Violations at PYO and Agritourism Facilities There have been many complaints coming into the state about alleged violation of COVID19 restrictions at Agritourism and Pick-Your-Own operations. Farm Bureau is hosting a Zoom Meeting  on Monday to discuss this…

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1
Oct
2021 Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar..Buy Yours Today!

Katelyn Parsons

The annual Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar is an excellent resource that serves as an educational tool for teachers, legislators and the public. The calendar provides an attractive daily reminder of the diversity of agriculture across the state. It includes monthly educational/teaching tips, special…

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29
Sep
Martha’s Vineyard Establishes First New County Farm Bureau in 40 Years

Katelyn Parsons

The unique challenges and opportunities of farming on an island just 20 miles long and 9 miles wide prompted growers on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, to establish their own county Farm Bureau – believed to be the first newly created Farm Bureau in the country in at least 40 years. “Farm…

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28
Sep
USDA Disaster Designation: MA and NH

Katelyn Parsons

Today the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a primary agricultural disaster designation for counties in New Hampshire.  Under this disaster designation, producers in contiguous counties in Massachusetts also qualify for benefits. The designated counties are listed in the attached…

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22
Sep
New Federal Crop Insurance for 2021

Katelyn Parsons

In 2021 there will be two new Federal Crop Insurance programs available to Massachusetts Farmers. Quality Loss Option (QL) is a new crop insurance option that you can elect starting with the 2021 crop year. The Risk Management Agency implemented the QL in response to the 2018 Farm Bill to carry out…

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22
Sep
The Ins & Outs of COVID-19 Testing for Farms and Farm Workers

Katelyn Parsons

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — As farms enter peak harvest season, the possibility of a second wave of coronavirus and “cluster” outbreaks among farmworkers looms. Farm owners and workers have the opportunity to get up-to-date, relevant information on topics such as coronavirus testing options…

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18
Sep
CFAP 2.0 Announced

Katelyn Parsons

The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) 2.0 program was recently announced and includes expansion of eligible commodities to include several specialty crops and notably “any species of aquatic organisms grown as food for human consumption, fish raised as feed for fish that are consumed…

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17
Sep
USDA Needs Tools to Help Farmers

Katelyn Parsons

The American Farm Bureau Federation and 41 other agriculture organizations are asking Congress to ensure the USDA has the tools necessary to help farmers in times of crisis. The group sent a letter to House and Senate leadership requesting they immediately provide replenishment for the Commodity Credit…

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14
Sep
August/September News & Views Now Available!

Katelyn Parsons

The combined issue of MFBF’s award winning newsletter is now available.  Click here to read the latest issue…

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10
Sep
News Self Insured Exemption Renewal Notifications

Katelyn Parsons

If you currently have an exemption from remitting contributions to the Family and Employment Security Trust Fund for the period beginning October 1, 2019 and ending September 30, 2020, this exemption is due to expire on September 30, 2020. You must renew your exemption on or before this date…

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9
Sep
Deadline approaching for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

Katelyn Parsons

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds farmers and ranchers that the deadline to apply for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) is Sept. 11, 2020. This program provides direct relief to producers who faced price declines and additional marketing costs due to…

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3
Sep
2020 Farm Bureau Virtual Target: Trust Engagement Training

Katelyn Parsons

Registration for the 2020 Farm Bureau Virtual Target: Trust Engagement Training is now open. Due to the ongoing concerns of the pandemic the programming will now be provided virtually and is open to all Farm Bureau members free of charge. Mark your calendar for two special events: Thursday, September…

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1
Sep
Updated COVID - 19 Guidance for Agritourism

Katelyn Parsons

The state has updated their standards for BUSINESSES PROVIDING OUTDOOR RECREATIONAL EXPERIENCES AND EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES to include references to agritourism. It now specifically includes as well as specific guidance on corn mazes. You can find the updated guidance at https://www.mass.gov/doc/businesses-providing-outdoor-recreational-experiences-and-educational-activities-phase-iii-step/download…

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25
Aug
USDA/RMA is Soliciting Feedback About improved Federal Crop Insurance Coverage

Katelyn Parsons

The USDA, Risk Management Agency (RMA) is soliciting feedback about improved Federal Crop Insurance coverage options for farmers selling to local food markets including but not limited to farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs), road-side stands, restaurants, retailers, schools, and…

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25
Aug
Significant Drought conditions declared across Massachusetts

Katelyn Parsons

BOSTON — Due to above normal temperatures throughout July and early August and more than three months of below normal rainfall, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Kathleen Theoharides today declared a Level 2 – Significant Drought in all seven regions of the Commonwealth –…

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12
Aug
Have RMV Business? Save Time and Go Online

Katelyn Parsons

The Massachusetts RMV continues offering more ways for business partners and the general public to conduct business and reduce in-person customer visits in service centers throughout the Commonwealth. Expanding Online Services for Partners and Residents  The RMV recently expanded the selection…

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10
Aug
Online Platform to Enhance Food System Connections

Katelyn Parsons

MassGrown Exchange Will Assist Farmers, Fisheries, and Food Businesses Across the Commonwealth BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced the launch of MassGrown Exchange, an online platform designed to facilitate business-to-business connections within the local food system…

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10
Aug
State Officials Announce Plans to Conduct Aerial Spraying for EEE

Katelyn Parsons

Spraying is expected to begin on Monday, August 10, and continue over several evenings. Boston — The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), State Reclamation and Mosquito Control Board (SRMCB), and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced that aerial…

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5
Aug
First human case of eastern equine encephalitis confirmed

Katelyn Parsons

Infection occurred in a male under the age of 18 who was exposed to EEE in Plymouth County BOSTON (AP) — Laboratory testing has confirmed the first human case of an eastern equine encephalitis virus infection in Massachusetts this year. The infection occurred in a male under the age of 18 who…

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31
Jul
Receipt of Unsolicited Seeds

Katelyn Parsons

As a reminder, if you have received an unsolicited package of seeds, please do the following: Do not plant the seeds Immediately complete the following form to provide important information to state officials: https://www.mass.gov/forms/receipt-of-unsolicited-seeds Hold on to the seeds and all packaging,…

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31
Jul
MFBF Member Article Submissions for Social Media & Website

Katelyn Parsons

MFBF is proud to announce that current members in good standing can now submit articles they would like MFBF to share on our social media platforms as well as on our website. Click here to learn more and to submit link to the article that you would like us to share.

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30
Jul
Additional Coronavirus Relief Critical to Farm Businesses

Katelyn Parsons

Senate leadership introduced the Health Economic Assistance Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act.  The HEALS Act is the latest in response to the COVID-19 national emergency and would provide an additional $20 billion to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help farmers and ranchers. The…

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30
Jul
Insurance Program for Cattle, Swine Sees Improvements

Katelyn Parsons

WASHINGTON — USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) today announced changes to the Livestock Gross Margin (LGM) insurance program for cattle and swine beginning in the 2021 crop year. Changes include adding premium subsidies to assist producers and moving premium due dates to the end of…

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29
Jul
MDAR: Receipt of Unsolicited Seeds

Katelyn Parsons

If you have received one or more packages from a foreign country, containing seeds that you did not order, please use the form below to provide the Mass. Dept. of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) with your contact information. MDAR will provide this information to the USDA. While the seeds are not expected…

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29
Jul
Another potentially bad summer for EEE and other insect-borne illnesses on the horizon

Katelyn Parsons

BOSTON — Sophia Garabedian had been dealing with a persistent fever and painful headache when her parents found her unresponsive in her bed one morning last fall. Doctors ultimately diagnosed the then-5-year-old Sudbury, Massachusetts, resident with eastern equine encephalitis, a rare but severe…

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23
Jul
MDAR: Farm and Market Report Extras

Katelyn Parsons

Calling all Massachusetts Cheese Makers!  Complete this quick survey by September 1st We have great cheese makers across the Massachusetts, producing a wide variety of world class artisan products.  Being able to describe the value of the industry in…

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23
Jul
Produce Safety & Market Access Regulations Summary and Notice of Public Hearing

Katelyn Parsons

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources will hold a public hearing on proposed draft regulations for Produce Safety and Market Access regulations for fresh fruits and vegetables in the Commonwealth. Foodborne illness, and their associated outbreaks, related to the contamination and consumption…

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16
Jul
Farm Bureau Asks Senate to Expand Access to PPP for Farmers

Katelyn Parsons

The American Farm Bureau is asking Senate lawmakers to make several changes to the Paycheck Protection Program to make it more workable for farmers and ranchers. “While the PPP is providing vital assistance to farmers and ranchers who were able to receive loans, more funding is needed to support…

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15
Jul
Farm Credit East Presents Webinar to Review the Paycheck Protection Program and Forgiveness

Katelyn Parsons

Enfield, Conn., July 15, 2020 — Join Farm Credit East for a webinar on Thursday, July 23 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., that will present a top-to-bottom guide on preparing for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness. Many Northeast businesses and employees have benefitted from loans approved…

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15
Jul
UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture is offering 13 online classes this fall

Katelyn Parsons

AMHERST, Mass. — The UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture is offering an online class on raising dairy goats sustainably again this fall. STOCKSCH 184 is a 3 credit, college class taught by Stockbridge instructor, Deboaah Niemann-Boehle, who lives in central Illinois and has experience both…

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14
Jul
May margin triggers Dairy Margin Coverage payment

Katelyn Parsons

Authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill, DMC is a voluntary risk management program that offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed price (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. Over 13,000 operations enrolled…

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10
Jul
Additional Commodities Eligible for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

Katelyn Parsons

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2020 – Today, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced an initial list of additional commodities that have been added to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), and that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) made other adjustments to the program based…

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9
Jul
June/July News & Views Now Online!

Katelyn Parsons

The combined June/July issue of MFBF’s award winning newsletter is now available.  Click here to read the latest issue…

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9
Jul
UMass Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing Lab Update

Katelyn Parsons

The UMass Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing Lab is pleased to announce that it will be accepting new orders for ROUTINE SOIL ANALYSIS and PARTICLE SIZE ANALYSIS orders ONLY beginning Monday, 7/13/20. Please do not send orders for other types of analyses at this time. Orders should be sent via USPS, UPS,…

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8
Jul
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Updates

Katelyn Parsons

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has reopened the application period until August 8, 2020. The PPP original application period closed on June 30, 2020. As a recap, PPP is a program administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) with applications being processed through an SBA-approved…

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8
Jul
USDA food box program reaches milestone

Katelyn Parsons

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farmers to Families Food Box Program has distributed more than 20 million food boxes in support of American farmers and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.…

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7
Jul
Non-Insured Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) Deadline

Katelyn Parsons

Acreage Reporting: The deadline for filing acreage reports for Spring-seeded crops for both Federal Crop Insurance and NAP is Wednesday, July 15, 2020. If you have questions, contact your Federal Crop Insurance agent or your local FSA Office. Loss Reporting: 2020 has presented farmers with challenging…

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6
Jul
2020 BIG E CANCELLED

Katelyn Parsons

For the safety of fair goers, staff, vendors, entertainers, exhibitors, sponsors, suppliers and the broader community, THE have made the decision to cancel the 2020 Big E. Please know that this decision was not made lightly. In fact, it was one of the hardest decisions we, as an organization, have had…

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6
Jul
Digital options for farmers to apply for CFAP

Katelyn Parsons

WASHINGTON — USDA’s Farm Service Agency will now accept applications for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) through an online portal, expanding the options available to producers to apply for this program, which helps offset price declines and additional marketing costs because…

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6
Jul
MA health officials announce season’s first EEE positive mosquito sample

Katelyn Parsons

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced that eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus has been detected in mosquitoes in Massachusetts for the first time this year. The presence of EEE was confirmed today by the Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory in a mosquito sample…

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22
Jun
The UMass Plant Diagnostic Laboratory has Reopened

Katelyn Parsons

The UMass Plant Diagnostic Laboratory has reopened for plant disease, insect pest and invasive plant/weed samples. At this time, only accepting mail-in samples; walk-in samples cannot be accepted. Please refer to website for instructions on sample submission and to access the submission form: https://ag.umass.edu/services/plant-diagnostics-laboratory…

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22
Jun
Farm Credit East Webinar Series

Katelyn Parsons

This month, Farm Credit East is hosting a series of webinars that will provide outlooks for specific sectors of agriculture, including feed grain and dairy, forestry, livestock, and the fruit and vegetable industries. Each webinar aims to equip Northeast producers with relevant information and insights…

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22
Jun
State Agriculture Officials Urge Horse Owners To Vaccinate Against Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Katelyn Parsons

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources is urging horse owners to vaccinate their horses against the mosquito-borne viral diseases Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus. Annual vaccinations should be given now to provide protection to animals prior to peak mosquito season which…

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22
Jun
MDAR: June/July Farm and Market Report

Katelyn Parsons

The Farm and Market Report is the MDAR’s bi-monthly newsletter which includes the Commissioner’s Column, program and grant updates, workshop and educational updates, USDA News, along with a Calendar and Classified section. Click HERE for the latest Issue

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12
Jun
More Funding and More Vendors for HIP

Katelyn Parsons

Below is language that we can use HIP Expansion Opens up Opportunities for Farms As part of the response to COVID 19, the Commonwealth is both increasing the amount of funding for the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) as well as allowing more farmers to participate. HIP is a nutrition program that allows…

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11
Jun
Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program

Katelyn Parsons

EEA is committed to ensuring that individuals and families throughout the Commonwealth have access to food. The goal of the Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program is to ensure that individuals and families throughout the Commonwealth have access to food, with a special focus on food that is produced…

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2
Jun
Temporary Rule: Paid Leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Katelyn Parsons

On April 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor announced new action regarding how American workers and employers will benefit from the protections and relief offered by the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, both part of the Families First Coronavirus…

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27
May
RMV Implements Further Credential Extensions

Katelyn Parsons

Many Expiring Licenses, Registrations, and Other Credentials Further Extended The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) has implemented further extensions to the renewal timelines for expiring motor vehicle inspection stickers, passenger plate registrations, professional credentials, and driver’s…

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26
May
AFT is hiring in Pittsfield & Wareham

Katelyn Parsons

American Farmland Trust is seeking two experienced professionals to help farmers and other landowners with on farm conservation.  Both positions will be in Massachusetts, one located in Pittsfield and primarily serving Berkshire County, the other located in Wareham, primarily serving the southeastern…

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19
May
Guidance for the Reopening of Stables

Katelyn Parsons

WORKPLACE SAFETY and REOPENING STANDARDS FOR BUSINESSES PROVIDING OUTDOOR RECREATIONAL EXPERIENCES AND EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES The governor’s office released guidance for the opening of stables on Monday the 25th – The guidance can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/doc/ecotourism-application-of-guidelines-5-18-20/download…

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15
May
Seeking Your Input: Supply Chain Issues in the Ag Industry

Katelyn Parsons

The Senate Sub-group on Supply Chain and Price Gouging is looking at these issues as they impact agricultural industries and we would like to hear from you about any issues related to either accessing supplies you need or being able to sell your products. If you have any feedback you would like the…

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13
May
CFAP Direct Assistance to Producers Webinar 5/14 at 1pm

Katelyn Parsons

USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) Direct Assistance to Producers Webinar Thursday, May 14 at 1pm Pre-register at the link below   https://www.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_SPWI7yOFSqaGG1JKzhEbjA The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and Farm…

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11
May
State Officials Remind Horse Owners to Vaccinate Against Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Katelyn Parsons

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) is reminding horse owners to vaccinate their horses against the mosquito-borne viral diseases Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile Virus (WNV). Annual vaccinations should be given now to provide protection to animals prior to peak…

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6
May
Department of Labor Standards OT Opinion Letter

Katelyn Parsons

In this letter the Department of Labor Standards (DLS) attempts to make clearer the line between harvesting and post-harvesting activities, and to answer the question Chief Justice Gants posed to plaintiffs’ counsel at oral argument in Chang & Sons:“What is the overtime obligation of…

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6
May
EIDL Loan Portal Reopens for Agricultural Businesses Only

Katelyn Parsons

www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance Agricultural businesses are now eligible for SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance programs. SBA’s portal opened on May 4th as a result of funding authorized by Congress through the Paycheck Protection Program…

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6
May
Submit Comments to the Reopening Advisory Board

Katelyn Parsons

On April 28, Governor Baker announced the creation of the Reopening Advisory Board. This group is charged with advising the administration on strategies to reopen the economy in phases based on health and safety metrics. Click HERE, if you are interested in submitting comments to the board.  

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5
May
MDAR: COVID-19 Impact Survey

Katelyn Parsons

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources is conducting a survey to gain insights from the farming community on the impact of COVID-19 on Massachusetts agriculture. We understand that this is a busy time of year, and your participation is greatly appreciated. Your response will help the…

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5
May
May 7th - COVID-19 Relief for Farmers in MA 1st District

Katelyn Parsons

Please join Congressman Richard Neal and Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, Collin Peterson, for an update and discussion about how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting farmers in western Massachusetts, and what resources Congress is providing to help. Learn more about the status…

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5
May
Dairy Farmers to Give Away Free Milk in Boston on May 7th

Katelyn Parsons

Beginning at 9 a.m. on May 7th, participants can drive or walk up to the school, located at 150 Morrissey Blvd. in Boston, and receive up to 2 gallons of free milk. Participants must wear face coverings during their visit. Learn more…

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4
May
SBA to Make Economic Injury Disaster Loans Available to U.S. Agricultural Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic

Katelyn Parsons

U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza announced today that agricultural businesses are now eligible for SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance programs. SBA’s EIDL portal will reopen today as a result of funding authorized by Congress through…

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4
May
Farm Pick-Your-Own (PYO)/Agricultural Tourism Activities - Guidance Memo

Katelyn Parsons

The current COVID-19 pandemic continues to be an on-going concern, and many farms are wondering what they can and should do. The Department of Ag Resources with the help of Massachusetts Farm Bureau provided the document linked below that is intended to help guide the fruit and vegetable farming community…

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4
May
FY2021 Chapterland and Farm Animal Excise Tax Valuation.

Katelyn Parsons

The Farmland Valuation Advisory Commission (FVAC) annually meets to adopt the range of recommended agricultural, horticultural and forest land use values for the various categories of land classified under Chapter 61 and 61A. In valuing land classified as agricultural, horticultural or forest land under…

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28
Apr
Webinar: Small Business Association’s Economic Resources for COVID-1

Katelyn Parsons

This webinar, presented by the Small Business Association, will provide a high-level general overview of the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). We will cover the qualifications, terms, and features of each program and briefly cover the application…

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28
Apr
UMass Mini-Twilight Meetings for Vegetable Farmers

Katelyn Parsons

April 29th –  3:00 pm  This week’s topic: COVID-19 business relief programs and assistance Learn about the Paycheck Protection Program, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance Payment Program, and the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. Information will be presented by the…

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28
Apr
USDA to Host Webinar April 28 at Noon to Discuss Technical Details of Request for Proposal for the Farmers to Families Food Box Program

Katelyn Parsons

Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will host a webinar Tuesday, April 28, 2020, at noon ET to discuss technical details of the Request for Proposal for the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. The conference will be held via Zoom at www.zoomgov.com/j/1602561314; or join by phone at US: +1-669-254-5252…

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27
Apr
DOT Safety Audit

Katelyn Parsons

In light of recent FMCSA scam letters, phone calls and emails, we reached out to FMCSA regarding the required DOT Safety Audits.  Below is information that they provided to us: FMCSA safety audits will ALL be done offsite.  The process requires the carrier to upload certain documents to a…

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27
Apr
The SBA Paycheck Protection Program will resume on Monday, April 27 at 10:30am

Katelyn Parsons

WASHINGTON – Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration Jovita Carranza and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin issued the following statement today on the resumption of the Payroll Protection Program (PPP): “We are pleased that President Trump has signed into law the…

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27
Apr
USDA Announces RFP for the Food Box Distribution Program and more funding for SBA EIDL and PPP - Apply Now

Katelyn Parsons

USDA just released the RFP for the food box distribution program, which is being implemented as part of the Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program. NASDA is currently reviewing the document and will provide additional updates as needed. In addition, this afternoon President Trump signed the Paycheck Protection…

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24
Apr
Grant Program and Partnership to Provide Relief for Small Businesses During COVID-19 Pandemic

Katelyn Parsons

Attorney General Maura Healey has announced two new initiatives to provide financial relief and legal assistance to small businesses impacted by closures and losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. “This is an incredibly difficult time financially for people across the state – and our…

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24
Apr
AFBF Applauds $19 Billion in Coronavirus Aid for Farmer

Katelyn Parsons

The American Farm Bureau applauds the $19 billion economic aid package for America’s farmers and ranchers announced by Secretary Perdue this evening. We understand the package includes $16 billion in much-needed direct payments to producers with another $3 billion to purchase meat, dairy products,…

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23
Apr
Webinar: Dairy Risk Management Concepts for the Current Environment

Katelyn Parsons

Farm Credit East and Crop Growers, LLP will be hosting a webinar on Thursday, April 30, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. that will address risk management tools for the current dairy situation. Dairy farmers and industry professionals are invited to register for this free webinar. Webinar attendees will hear from…

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21
Apr
Impact of Covid-19 on the Food Chain and Agricultural Economy

Katelyn Parsons

The Coronavirus and Potential Impacts on the Agricultural Economy by, Nicholas E. Piggott Professor and Extension Specialist, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at North Carolina State University Introduction The impacts of the coronavirus on the U.S. and NC agricultural economies are…

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21
Apr
Conservation Innovation Grants

Katelyn Parsons

USDA grants available to spur innovative conservation technologies in Massachusetts. Learn more

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17
Apr
DOT Biennial SCAM Update

Katelyn Parsons

MFBF has become aware that members have been receiving emails and phone calls from third party vendors regarding the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) DOT “biennial update”.  Please do not respond to these emails and phone calls. While FMCSA does require a biennial…

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17
Apr
How Produce Growers and Packagers Can Stabilize Retail Supply Chain During Coronavirus Pandemic

Katelyn Parsons

– Written By Justin Moore, Director of Marketing and Communications, NC State Extension Chaos in the Supply Chain? Regulatory officials confirm food products are safe, available and meeting consumers’ needs during this pandemic. However, the press is reporting incidences of producers not…

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16
Apr
Payroll Protection Funds Exhausted; SBA No Longer Accepting Applications

Katelyn Parsons

The $349 billion authorized for Paycheck Protection Program loans has been exhausted, the Small Business Administration said today, and the SBA is no longer accepting applications for PPP loans. Loan applications received by banks but not yet submitted to SBA will not be able to be completed, and the…

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16
Apr
RMV Implements Further Extensions

Katelyn Parsons

The Massachusetts RMV has implemented further extensions for expiring motor vehicle inspection stickers, passenger plate registrations, professional credentials, and licenses and permits, including Commercial Driver’s Licenses and Permits (CDLs / CLPs). Learn More

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15
Apr
SBA Guidance for Sole Proprietor

Katelyn Parsons

The SBA released it’s Paycheck Protection Program guidance for sole proprietors. Read Full Release (PDF)

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14
Apr
Farm Stress Training Program Now Available to All State Farm Bureau Members

Katelyn Parsons

With impacts from COVID-19 adding to depressed commodity prices, declining farm income, labor shortages and many other pressing issues, America’s farmers and ranchers are experiencing ever-increasing levels of stress. Understanding the urgent need to support our farmers during this difficult time,…

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14
Apr
DUA COVID-19 Employer Notice

Katelyn Parsons

Below is a notice from the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA), this notice will be sent to employers in Massachusetts.  If you should have any questions, please contact DUA's Legislative Director, Jessica Muradian at jessica.muradian@mass.gov. DUA COVID-19 Employer Notice (PDF)

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13
Apr
Online CDL Renewal Now an Option

Katelyn Parsons

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) continues to thoroughly review its licensing protocols and credential requirements to identify and implement additional measures to reduce non-essential travel, reduce the need for customers to visit an RMV Service Center, and ensure proper “social-distancing”…

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13
Apr
Update from the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance

Katelyn Parsons

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) PUA will provide up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals who are not working as a result of COVID-19 and are self-employed, independent contractors, gig economy workers, and others who otherwise would not qualify for regular UC or EB under state…

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10
Apr
COVID - Bulletin regarding Honey Bee Colony Health Inspections

Katelyn Parsons

The Department of Agricultural Resources has been contacted by the beekeeping community regarding the status of its apiary inspection program. The Department will continue to provide only the following honey bee colony health inspections as they are designated as essential agriculture: Emergency inspections…

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10
Apr
COVID-19 - Latest DOL H2A Guidance

Katelyn Parsons

U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration Office of Foreign Labor Certification – COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)

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9
Apr
COVID Guidance for Grocery Stores & Local Boards of Health

Katelyn Parsons

On March 25, 2020, the Commissioner of Public Health, issued an order relevant to grocery stores to provide continuation of essential services while additionally reducing exposure of shoppers and employees to COVID-19 (hereinafter, the Order). This guidance is issued pursuant to that Order to further…

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8
Apr
Maple Syrup Producers are Eligible for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)

Katelyn Parsons

Maple syrup producers are eligible for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). This program features a $10,000 immediate loan advance that does not require repayment. Maple syrup producers that package, wholesale and/or retail their product are qualified for this EIDL program and should not identify…

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7
Apr
MDAR Grant Extensions

Katelyn Parsons

Application Deadlines Extended for MDAR beginning farmer program MEGA to April 20 The Request for Response for the Fiscal Year 2021 Matching Enterprise Grants for Agriculture (MEGA) program RFR: AGR-MEGA-FY21-11 has been amended. The amendment allows applicants that have not yet filed 2019 taxes for…

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6
Apr
COVID Guidance on Operation of Nurseries, Greenhouses, Garden Centers and Ag Supply Stores

Katelyn Parsons

On March 31, 2020, the Governor extended that Order and updated the list of “COVID-19 Essential Services.” The Order designated nurseries, greenhouses, garden centers, and agriculture supply stores are as COVID-19 Essential Services. See below for “binding guidance” (this means…

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2
Apr
Pesticide Exams Bulletin

Katelyn Parsons

On March 10, 2020, the Baker-Polito Administration declared a state of emergency due to Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Administration has advised that gatherings of 10 or more people be discouraged to prevent and mitigate the spread of the COVID-19.  Due to the directive of not holding gatherings…

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1
Apr
COVID-19 Loans For Farms

Katelyn Parsons

Massachusetts Farm Bureau’s office has been getting a lot of inquiries about the loan packages available for farmers. At this point, the Small Business Association (SBA) “Economic Injury Disaster Loan” is not available to farmers. SMALL BUSINESS PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM The Paycheck…

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31
Mar
Agricultural Land Licensing Opportunity in New Braintree

Katelyn Parsons

MDAR is soliciting proposals for the ag use of approx. 63 +/- acres of state-owned property located at the State Police Academy on W. Brookfield Rd in New Braintree. The agricultural land consists of 9 field areas. Deadline to respond is April 13th. Details: www.mass.gov/service-details/state-owned-farmland-licensing-program…

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27
Mar
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Guidance for Horseback Riding Schools and Stables

Katelyn Parsons

Attention: MDAR has released a document with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Guidance for Horseback Riding Schools and Stables / Boarding Stables. To see it, please visit: https://www.mass.gov/…/covid-19-guidance-for-horse…/download

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23
Mar
Farm Bureau COVID-19 Alert

Katelyn Parsons

Farm Bureau COVID-19 Alert As you are no doubt aware, Governor Baker today  put in additional restrictions relative to COVID-19 including the closing of non-essential businesses. Please note that: 1. The Commonwealth has included agriculture as an essential business. Farms and related businesses…

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20
Mar
MFBF/MDAR COVID-19 Response Briefing for Farmers - Conference Call

Katelyn Parsons

Monday, March 23, 2020 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM Dial-in Information: Call In Number – 605-475-3235 Participant Code – 572085# Please be sure your phone is muted during the call, except when speaking. We expect a high volume of callers and this will be necessary for this to work. Agenda: 1:00…

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18
Mar
USDA Grant Updates

Katelyn Parsons

Specialty Crop Block Grant Program – Submission Update Due to COVID-19 and in compliance with State guidelines, MDAR can only accept email submissions for this year’s SCBG applications. The purpose of the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) is to enhance the competitiveness of specialty…

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6
Mar
March News & View Now Available

Katelyn Parsons

Massachusetts Farm Bureau’s March 2020 award winning newsletter now available.

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5
Mar
FSA Hiring Full-time Position in Worcester County

Katelyn Parsons

This is a County Program Technician position located in the Worcester County FSA Office in Holden, Massachusetts. Learn More

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2
Mar
Application Period Open for MDAR Viability Grant Programs

Katelyn Parsons

Application Period Open for MDAR Viability Grant Programs The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) is accepting applications from Massachusetts farmers who wish to participate in these Department programs that help with farm viability in Fiscal Year 2021. The due date for applications…

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19
Feb
County Farm Bureau Members, Legislators Connect Over Breakfast Meetings

Katelyn Parsons

February kicked off a Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) tradition, where County Farm Bureaus hosts breakfasts for their legislators and farmer members. During these gatherings, farmers discuss issues that are important to them with their local legislators. “The relationships that our…

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19
Feb
Crop Insurance Deadline Nears in Massachusetts

Katelyn Parsons

Growers with Spring Planted Crops Need to Make Insurance Decisions Soon RALEIGH, N.C., Feb. 14, 2020 – The USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) reminds Massachusetts growers that the final date to apply for crop insurance coverage on most spring-planted crops for the 2020 crop year is March…

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12
Feb
Farm Vehicle Excise Exemption

Katelyn Parsons

As a reminder, there is an exemption from excise tax for motor vehicles registered with Farm Plates. However, the vehicle cannot be used at all for personal use or the owner is subject to the tax and a $100 penalty. State Tax Form 126A-MVE may be filed with the local assessors to claim an exemption.…

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