Farmers and legislators celebrate Agriculture Day

BOSTON (WWLP) – The State House smelled like delicious food all day as legislators packed the Great Hall to try locally-grown food. 22 News spoke talked to farmers about the importance of agriculture in Massachusetts.

Agriculture is a more than half a billion dollar industry in the Massachusetts.

Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Rick Sullivan said, “We have about 7,700 farms so you don’t think of little Massachusetts as being a farm state, but it is an important part of our economy.”

Farmers from across Massachusetts brought locally-grown foods to the State House to showcase what they can offer and to connect with lawmakers about issues affecting their business. One of those issues threatens a large part of the farming industry. The Massachusetts Beekeepers Association says pesticides are killing bees in the state and it is not only affecting honey production, it is affecting the food you eat.

“Over a quarter of our food is pollinated by honey bees and they’re in decline because of this colony collapse disorder which is a result of things like pesticides,” said Tony Lulek of the Massachusetts Beekeepers Association.

Farmers also want to stress the importance of buying foods locally, which in turn will benefit the state’s economy.

“When it comes to buying, buying food, it means that you can actually know where your food comes from, which farmer raised it,” said Bruce Howden of Howden Farms in Sheffield.

Farmers do not only provide fresh fruits and vegetables; they create 12,000 agricultural jobs in Massachusetts a year.

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