WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Tuesday is National Farmer’s Day, a day to celebrate and honor hard-working farmers throughout America’s history.
The American Farm Bureau Federation says only two percent of people in the U.S. are farmers. However, here in western Massachusetts, the state says there are more than 2,500 farms making up nearly 35 percent of all farms in Massachusetts.
“We do feed an incredible amount of people. There is a lot of agriculture in Massachusetts,” said Gene Kosinski, owner of Kosinski Farms.
Franklin County has the largest percentage of land that’s used for farms. Twenty-five percent of farms sell directly to consumers, like Kosinski Farms in Westfield. “It’s satisfying to produce a crop and feed hundreds of families throughout New England,” said Kosinski.
The average age of farmers in the U.S. is 58-years-old but local farmers told 22News they hope that younger generations continue on the tradition.
“It’s going to be difficult. I mean, there are other jobs that pay well and people can get a salary and they don’t have to take a chance. This is like going to Vegas all the time,” said Kosinski.
Family or individually owned farms account for almost 80 percent of Massachusetts farms. Gene’s been farming with his family for 40 years. It’s where he was born and raised. “It’s a way of life and I guess I’m, at the point where I’ll continue this and hopefully someone will carry it on,” said Gene.
With too much rain and labor shortages during the pandemic, it’s been a hard year for local farmers. What they need most as harvest season ends is your support.