Homegrown News Blog
We were recently interviewed about the government shutdown and how it's impacting our farm. Change doesn't come by looking the other way. We are all in the same boat and need to be heard. Be a voice.
Many thanks to Caroline Powers and Western Mass News for the opportunity.
Local farmers feeling the impact of partial government shutdown
WGGB/WSHM Ryan Trowbridge & Caroline Powers
HATFIELD, MA - Monday marks day 24 of the government shutdown.
800,000 federal workers continue to go without pay and with major departments being closed, the people they help are also left in the dark, creating a bigger impact.
One group that people might not realize rely heavily on federal dollars are local farmers.
A Hatfield farmer told us they are really feeling the effects of the shutdown.
For the past eight years, Harrison Bardwell has continued his family's long history of farming.
"This farm was actually established in 1685. Yes, you heard me, 1685. I'm ninth generation farmer, eleventh generation Bardwell in this town. We go back quite a way," Bardwell noted.
The farm has 15 acres full of carrots, tomatoes, peppers, and other vegetables.
"We've been farming this land for hundreds of years and it's pretty cool to think about and I continue to keep it going, so I look forward to it," Bardwell explained.
However, right now, Bardwell is facing multiple obstacles as he tries to continue his family's legacy.
"We're dealing with situations with money issues. This past season was pretty tough crop wise with the rain and excessive heat. We experienced a lot of crop loss, lower yields," Bardwell noted.
While crop loss is a concern, Bardwell told Western Mass News it's something farmers are used to dealing with. He can usually make up for it with crop insurance from the USDA, but right now, that's on-hold as the government shutdown continues.
"All the work I had to do is in and now I'm sitting here and waiting not knowing when I'm going to get a check or how much that check is going to be. I have a grant out for harvest bins and I can't talk to my rep that's dealing with it. I can't go to the USDA office in Hadley right now or call them if I have questions regarding my insurance or my loan that I have out with them. It's nerve racking to not know when we're going to get answers or when we're going to get paid and for farming, we don't get a check every day," Bardwell explained.
Bardwell said their 2019 season will start in about two to three months. He's taking a closer look at his budget and expenses to see what he'll be able to do as the shutdown continues.
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