Agriculture Summit Sunday at Mohawk

  • Congressman Jim McGovern, D-Mass. Carol Lollis

Recorder Staff
Wednesday, February 07, 2018

BUCKLAND — Farmers, small-batch food growers, foresters and town leaders are invited to a free Agriculture Summit on Sunday at the Mohawk Trail Regional School. The summit will present news on the latest state and federal legislation to affect farming, along with workshops led by local growers and food producers.

In anticipation of the Farm Bill to be debated in Congress over the coming weeks, U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Massachusetts, 2nd District, will discuss the pending federal legislation and answer audience questions about agriculture and forest products at 1 p.m. McGovern is a member of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture.

His talk will be followed by state Sen. Anne Gobi, co-chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, state Sen. Adam Hinds, and state Reps. Paul Mark and Steve Kulik. They will also answer audience questions.

Registration begins Sunday at 9 a.m., with workshops starting at 9:30.

The workshops include:

An Ag Business Marketing Workshop with Beth Lewand of Cricket Creek Farm of Williamstown. Cricket Creek is a small, grass-fed cow dairy that produces raw milk, artisanal cheese, beef and whey-fed pork. Before farming, Lewand had owned and operated a specialty food shop in Brooklyn, N.Y. She’ll talk about the marketing tools she uses to publicize the farm products. Her tools include an engaging website, a Facebook page (with at least 4,500 followers) and Instagram (with about 9,500 followers).

Farm product distribution with Sidehill Farm and Marty’s Local. One of the Sidehill Farm owners will talk about product distribution, as will Nick Martinelli, the founder and operator of Marty’s Local, a distributor of local and regional foods. Marty’s Local is based on a food hub model, aiming to strengthen the links between area buyers and nearby farmers and producers. Sidehill Farm in Hawley raises grass-fed cows and sells yogurt and dairy products.

“Municipal Leaders and Ag Business Owners — Bridging the Gap” is the title of the third talk. Former Agricultural Commissioner Jay Healy of Charlemont will lead a discussion on how town officials, farmers and foresters can work together for a stronger economy.

For more information about the event, call Rural Commonwealth directors Toby Gould (413-768-8253) or Beth Bandy (413-824-2593); or visit this website: http://www.ruralcommonwealth.org/agsummit/