BOSTON (WWLP) – This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture designated parts of the state disaster areas, which opened up new avenues for farmers to receive aid.

Farmers in the Commonwealth can now apply for low-interest and refinancing loans. The disaster designation comes after torrential rains from July 9th to July 16th. Many farms were completely flooded and crops were lost.

The designation also allows farmers to opt into the Emergency Conservation Program. That program helps with clean-up costs associated with natural disasters. It is estimated that about 2,000 acres of crops were lost due to the flooding.

Aid will also be coming from the state. A late Monday night agreement will send $20 million to western Massachusetts in flood relief.

Acting Chair of the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Senator Jo Comerford, said in a statement that read in part:

“I am tremendously grateful that the Legislature is coming to the aid of our farmers in strong partnership with the Healey-Driscoll Administration. The $20 million in the fiscal year 2023 supplemental budget will support farmers who have experienced massive hardships and losses, from extreme flooding earlier this month to the frosts and freezes earlier this year.”

Governor Maura Healey also launched a fundraiser in coordination with United Way to raise private donations for affected farmers.

Also in the supplemental budget was funding to strained hospitals and an extension to the state’s simulcasting law. That deal that was struck on Monday by the legislature was quickly signed into law by Governor Maura Healey.

Local News

Ellen Fleming is a reporter at the Boston State House who has been a part of the 22News team since 2022. Follow Ellen on X @EllenFlem and view her bio to see more of her work.