Press Release

Press Release  State Agricultural Resources Commissioner Randle Tours Storm-Damaged Farms in Western Massachusetts

For immediate release:
  • Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources

Media Contact   for State Agricultural Resources Commissioner Randle Tours Storm-Damaged Farms in Western Massachusetts

Danielle Burney, Deputy Communications Director

Lieutenant Governor Driscoll, MDAR Commissioner Randle, and Director Gobi meet with farmers at Natural Roots in Conway.

BOSTONFollowing devastating storms that washed out roads and flooded fields and farms, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) Commissioner Ashley Randle visited Western Massachusetts two days this week to meet with farmers impacted by the storm. Commissioner Randle joined state and local officials to survey the damage and discuss how the state could help communities in recovery and mitigation efforts.

On Wednesday, Commissioner Randle met with 30 farmers in Deerfield, Hadley, Hatfield, and Northampton, while other MDAR staff were on the ground throughout the Valley to assess the damage and provide technical assistance. The Commissioner also joined Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll and Rural Affairs Director Anne Gobi in Conway on Thursday to offer support.

Although MDAR is still assessing the damage, the agency estimates at least 75 farms have been impacted, with over 1,000 acres of crop losses. That number will likely climb since land remains submerged and inaccessible due to standing water, with more rain forecasted. Today, MDAR’s Produce Safety team will visit farms in Deerfield, Florence, Hadley, Sunderland, and Whately to complete assessments of impacted farms.

“It is absolutely heartbreaking to see the devastation this storm has caused our farming community,” said MDAR Commissioner Randle. “We have boots on the ground to get an accurate scope of the damage so we can continue working with our local, state, and federal partners in assisting our farmers who continue to face these challenges. Despite these recent tragedies, we know our farmers are resilient, and we encourage consumers to continue supporting their local farms that support the communities they serve in so many ways.”

The recent flooding is another incident in a series of extreme weather events this year. In February, the state experienced subzero temperatures that destroyed many crops, including peaches and other pitted fruits. Farmers were hit hard again in May when a late frost happened for three days, causing significant losses to blueberry, strawberry, and apple crops. The results of these disasters threaten the local food system and will have negative repercussions on our local economy.

MDAR has been in close contact with state and federal agencies, including the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and the Farm Service Agency (FSA) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), to collaborate on ways to help affected farms. The University of Massachusetts-Amherst Extension Services is also a critical partner in our technical outreach efforts to farms.

In an effort to assess the scale of the impact, MDAR asks stakeholders to share damage reports from impacted farms to help the agency evaluate the extent of the situation. Farmers are encouraged to contact MDAR Deputy Commissioner and Chief of Staff Alisha Bouchard at and Director of Produce Safety Michael Botelho at with a report. Farmers should also reach out to Sue Scheufele, Production Agriculture Leader, at UMass Extension Center for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment. She can be reached at or by calling (508) 397 3361.

Farmers are also encouraged to contact their local FSA county office and insurance agent to report damages and impacts for covered crops.


Media Contact   for State Agricultural Resources Commissioner Randle Tours Storm-Damaged Farms in Western Massachusetts

  • Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources 

    The Department’s mission is to cultivate a robust and equitable agricultural economy, promote a safe and resilient food system, and preserve a healthy environment for Massachusetts farmers, animals, and consumers.
  • Image credits:  Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources

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