BOSTON (SHNS) – Congressman Jim McGovern kicked off his 10th annual Farm Tour on Wednesday, making stops in Sunderland, Hatfield and Hadley to highlight the needs of Massachusetts farmers and discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on small family farms.
McGovern will continue his tour Thursday with visits to farms in Hardwick, the Jefferson section of Holden and Northborough.
The Worcester Democrat does not have an opponent in the Sept. 1 primary election, but is expected to face Grafton Republican Tracy Lovvorn in the November general election. In addition to the challenges presented by COVID-19 and associated health and safety requirements, farmers this summer are also contending with a drought.
About a quarter of Massachusetts is now experiencing a severe drought that threatens crops, diminishes air quality, makes trees more susceptible to insects and could lead to widespread water conversation measures, the U.S. Drought Monitor reported last week.
One hundred percent of the state is at least abnormally dry.
A significant drought that stretched from 2016 into 2017 was blamed for contributing to wildfires, an outbreak of gypsy moths, higher rates of ant infestation, smaller than usual apples, loss of crops, a shortage of cattle feed, and an elevated population of mosquitoes able to carry West Nile virus.