Printed: 5/25/2020 1:52:12 PM
Neighborhood Concerned in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) has given native farmers a complete of $183,000 in loans from its Emergency Farm Fund to assist them via the pandemic.
Government Director Philip Korman stated the South Deerfield-based group, in collaboration with the Franklin County Neighborhood Improvement Company (CDC) in Greenfield and the PVGrows Funding Fund in South Deerfield, gave the zero-interest loans to 13 farms which have not directly suffered losses due to COVID-19. He stated the fund will reopen its utility course of for a second spherical of loans on June 1.
“This is the first time that we have opened the Emergency Farm Fund for a non-weather event,” Korman stated. “It is the first time in this century that we are experiencing a pandemic that literally affects every single farm. Farms have lost existing markets and need to implement new safety practices. Our aim is to provide support in places where we see gaps in current programs, both public and private. We need to protect our local food supply and keep our local farms farming.”
The lending marks a brand new partnership between the three organizations with mixed sources totaling $400,000 in loan funds.
“This new partnership meant that the fund could make larger loans available to more farmers,” Franklin County CDC Government Director John Waite stated. “In an unprecedented crisis like this, it’s more important than ever to look for new ways to work together and to leverage all available resources.”
Farms producing a variety of merchandise in Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden counties obtained loans in the course of the first spherical, together with Reed Farm in Sunderland, a poultry farm and small-scale poultry processing facility.
“We’re still a new business that needs to make investments so we can grow, and one of the things that we planned on buying this summer was a refrigerated truck,” Reed Farm proprietor Peter Laznicka stated. “That’s a necessary piece of equipment for a poultry business. We lost the income we were relying on to make that purchase when restaurants and caterers closed this spring, so we used our Emergency Farm Fund loan to cover those losses and buy the truck so we can continue to operate this summer.”
Laznicka stated the farm is as soon as once more delivering processed chickens to native markets on the market to the general public.
“The loan was a real help,” he stated.
Different Franklin County farms that obtained loans embrace Headwater Cider Co. in Hawley, LaSalle Florist in Whately, Mycoterra Farm in South Deerfield and Sweethaven Farm & Flowers in Ashfield.
The CISA Emergency Farm Fund was launched in 2011 in response to the harm suffered by farms in Western Massachusetts resulting from Hurricane Irene.
The fund is managed by CISA, and loans granted in response to COVID-19 are administered by CISA and the Franklin County CDC. The loan Evaluation Committee consists of individuals with a wide range of agricultural backgrounds, together with farmers, CISA employees and board members, and representatives from the Franklin County CDC, PVGrows, Massachusetts Division of Agricultural Sources and Fairness Belief.
Attain Anita Fritz at 413-772-9591 at [email protected]