Do you own or manage farmland or forest land in Massachusetts? Could you use some technical and financial help in managing it more effectively? The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) encourages you to sign up for conservation assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Agricultural Management Assistance program. Applications may be submitted at any time during the year; however, the next ranking batching date will be January 15, 2021.
Welcome to the Hampden Hampshire Conservation District
The Hampden Hampshire Conservation District works with landowners and communities in Hampden and Hampshire Counties in the conservation and management of natural resources; farmland, woodland, wildlife management and farmland preservatiion.
Conservation Districts are state entities designated by the Massachusetts General Laws to address natural resources issues at the local level throughout the Commonwealth. There are thirteen (13) districts in Massachusetts, led by elected volunteer District Supervisors.
Each District is governed by a volunteer Board of Supervisors with additional input from Associate Supervisors. Historically, board members are farmers and environmentally conscious landowners reflecting a wide range of people and professions. They assist agricultural producers and landowners with conservation planning and development and in applying for financial assistance to address resource concerns. District programs promote the health and productivity of all landscapes, urban to rural.
HHCD researches and applies for Grant programs, delivers workshops and educational programs, sponsors the Massachusetts Envirothon competition for high school students, and holds conservation tours of local farms. Consider attending a monthly Conservation District meeting, or joining your local District as an Associate.
COVID 19 FARMER ASSISTANCE
The Emergency Farm Fund offers zero-interest loans to assist farmers and farm businesses struggling to meet their immediate financial needs because of market changes and closures. The goal of this fund is to respond to critical, time-sensitive needs. Loans up to $5,000 will be issued and administered by CISA, and loans above $5,000 will be issued and administered by the Pioneer Valley Grows Investment Fund/Franklin County CDC.
Other forms of disaster relief and assistance may become available; see information about these options under “Economic Assistance Resources” here. Please contact Kristen Wilmer at CISA if you would like help determining whether or not CISA’s loan is the best option for your business; email is best, but you can also call 413-665-7100, ext.12.
Visit https://www.buylocalfood.org/ for information.