There is hope for Massachusetts farms even with declining numbers, survey says

Hampshire County

SOUTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Though the number of farms has dropped, the value of a Massachusetts farm has increased.

A 2017 federal survey offered hope to the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation. Farms remain a valuable asset in Massachusetts.

Bashista Orchards owner Tom Bushista is the fourth generation to run the family-owned farm, which has been growing fruit since 1926.

“My wife and I have been operating this for a little over 10-years, but I’ve been working it, of course, my whole life,” said Bashista.

Bashista said one of the biggest challenges farmers face is the job market, which is why he said it’s important to know what people want.

As a commercial orchard, Bashista told 22News, it’s all about meeting public demand.

“The community has to support the farm and in our area, the communities do support local farms, and that makes the difference between being able to be sustainable and not. So I think you’re going to see the farms continue to do well in this area,” said Bashista.

Bashista Orchards attributes their success to the people who buy their products and produce.

Bashista’s father, Tom Bashista, told 22News, “Well, mostly it’s our customer base, they’ve been wonderful to us and without them, we’d be nothing.”

The 2017 census also found there are more than 1,200 “young producers,” people 35 and younger, farming more than 73,000 acres in Massachusetts.

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