Farming is intrinsic to the Hampshire, Franklin, Worcester district.
There are local farms and farmers in every city and town and we have some of the richest soil in the nation.
As much as our region values local produce, meat, and dairy, we know that our farmers often struggle financially. It is nearly impossible for them to compete with the big agribusinesses that benefit from larger scale, lower pay, and notoriously lower environmental standards. Yet our farmers and farms persist, season after season.
I firmly believe “No farms, No food.” It’s as simple (and as profound) as that. When farms and farmers thrive, everyone thrives.
Please take a moment to look at the farm-related bills I have filed this session.
You can also view all bills I’ve co-sponsored this session here.
Advance Equity in Agriculture
S.502, An Act promoting equity in agriculture
While we know people of color are significantly underrepresented among our farmers, we do not have good data to see who is receiving state grants for agriculture. The state has an obligation to act to address inequities. My bill establishes a Commission on Agricultural Equity to develop recommendations for supporting racially equitable investments, policies, and practices to promote equity in agriculture in the commonwealth.
Encourage Food Donations
S.954, An Act encouraging the donation of food to persons in need
COVID-19 has caused food insecurity levels to spike in a region where food insecurity was already high. Unfortunately, around 900,000 tons of food ends up in landfills every year in Massachusetts. My bill facilitates the donation of food by extending liability protection in existing law to allow for direct donations of food from individuals or organizations, and allows for a tax credit of up to $2,000 for the donation of food to non-profit organizations.
Support Our Farmers
S.1822, An Act An Act Supporting the Commonwealth’s Farmers
Farms and farmers underpin our economy, our region is the breadbasket of the Commonwealth, and yet many farmers are not turning a profit but instead are struggling just to stay in business. My bill makes a number of reforms to state law to support farmers, including setting up a program to train new farmers, allowing small parcels of non-contiguous farmland that are part of the same farming operation to be taxed as a single farm, including farm stands as part of agricultural land for tax purposes, and other provisions to help farmers stay profitable.