Massachusetts lawmakers tour Pioneer Valley farms as agriculture bill awaits hearings –


HADLEY — Denise Barstow, a seventh-period farmer, enlivened a tour Friday for state lawmakers, their staff, and advocates for the community of farms and retailers that make up the native meals system by answering A question youngsters typically ask.

“What does a cow say?”

Barstow, the education and advertising supervisor at Barstow’s Dairy Retailer and Bakery and Barstow’s Longview Farm in Hadley, paused for influence.

“Cows solely moo As quickly as they’re careworn,” she said. “Our cows are quiet.”

However wright hereas the 600 cows — 300 of them presently giving milk — at Barstow’s nestled on the slopes of Mount Holyoke are content material, farmers are problemd by factors collectively with the ovperiodbundance of milk, lack of staff, altering storeper type and The worth of land.

And the farmers are making noise.

An indication lays out the philosophy at Barstow’s Dairy Retailer and Bakery and Barstow’s Longview Farm in Hadley all by way of a tour Friday. (Jim Kinney / The Republican)

Friday’s tour was organized by state Sem. Jo Comerford, D-Northampton; state Reps Natalie Blais, D-Sunderland, Rep. Mindy Domb, D-Amherst, and Rep. Dan Carey, D-Easthampton; and by CISA (Group Involved in Sustaining Agriculture).

“Money, All of it comes Proper down to money,” said David Barstow, Denise’s father. “They maintain telling us thOn They will supply milk cheaper from Ohio and Pennsylvania and truck it in. We don’t like that.”

Barstow’s Method again diversified, working the ice cream store/restaurant and drive-by way of store As properly as to a digester to genperiodte Electricity using farm and meals waste.

Neverthemuch less The store is have problem hiring staff, Denise Barstow said. It’s A drawback many companies face. David Barstow said he thinks A lot of The extremeschool and school college students who usually work On the store are avoiding extreme-visitors public places.

Philip Korman, authorities director of CISA, said the COVID pandemic taught everyone how important native meals is. And he said demand for native meals elevated Through the lockdown — A great factor as a Outcome of dairy farmers misplaced restaurant And school cafeteria clients.

CISA estimates that 15% To twenty% of the meals on tables in Hampden, Franklin and Hampshire counties is areaally grown. If every househprevious Inside the area spent simply $5 extra on native meals on $5 much less on nonnative items every month, the group says, It’d genperiodte $7.5 million and create 48 jobs.

However now, with factors opening up, consumers Appear to be returning to their previous habits storeping for trucked-in meals.

Hadley farmer Joe Czjkowski, left, speaks to state legislators and completely different officals Regarding the state of farming And up So far farming legal guidelines all by way of a tour of Connecticut River Valley Farms on Friday. Wanting on at right is state Rep. Daniel Carey. (Dave Roagain photograph)

Aside from Barstow’s, the tour went to Straightforward Presents Farm in North Amherst, Reed Farm in Sunderland and Joe Czajkowski Farm in Hadley, wright here visitors found about greens. A late addition to the tour was the Franklin County Group Enchancment Corp.’s Western MA Food Processing Center in Greenfield. Individuals additionally found about Mass Food Supply and the Mycoterra mushroom farm in Westhampton.

Blais said tright here are covperiodge options to factors confronted by farmers, a lot of it in an omnibus invoice (S 1822/H 861) nonethemuch less awaiting a listening to on Beacon Hill. The invoice would create a $3 million Subsequent Genperiodtion Farmers Fund to assist agricultural teaching and education.

“You will Have The power To Converse about factors Inside the Statehouse, And completely different people tales are important, but nofactor beats coming right here and studying from a farmer,” she said.

A visitor on the tour, state Rep. Carolyn C. Dykema, D-Holliston, is chairwoman of the Joint Committee on Environment, Pure Resupplys and Agriculture. She bristled On the notion that It is exhausting for rural factors To understand a toehprevious in a state wright here Boston and its suburbs dominate the discourse.

“I really feel you’re underestimating the Western Mass delegation,” she said. “They are united They typically speak load and clear.”

Tright here Are only a few small farms in Holyoke, but state Rep. Patricia A. Duffy, a Democrat whose district is wholly Contained in the metropolis, was on the tour. She said agriculture funds are jobs funds. They are additionally open space safety funds.

“These farms feed my constituents,” she said.

Denise Barstow of Barstow’s Dairy Retailer and Bakery and Barstow’s Longview Farm in Hadley leads lawmakers and their staffers on a tour of the farm’s freestall barn Friday. (Jim Kinney / The Republican)


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