Congressman Neal tours farms in Franklin County

The U.S. representative is looking to get more financial aid to these farms

COLRAIN, Mass. (WWLP)- U.S. Representative, Richard Neal toured five farms in Franklin County Tuesday, all important contributors to the local economy

It’s been a tough year for western Massachusetts farms, with the February freeze and the drought.
The congressman wanted to see these farms for himself to determine what he can do to help.

The farm tour included a trip to Pine Hill Orchards in Colrain. Congressman Neal is looking to get more financial aid to these Franklin County farms.

“We’re pointing out to them what’s available in terms of USDA federal loans, low interest loans that might come to their assistance and reminding them we appreciate everyday what they do,” said U.S. Representative Richard Neal.

The drought that began this spring triggered disaster programs for farms and federal emergency loans from the USDA. Many farms lost their peach crop, including Pine Hill Orchards.

“Any sort of assistance that the government can give when we do run into trouble, when we lose a crop, things like that. It’s good to know that we have someone who backs us up,” said Brady McElaney, Owner of Pine Hill Orchards.

McElaney told 22News they had to add irrigation systems to get more water to their crops. Neal later visited Apex Orchards and Maple Row Farm in Shelburne Falls, and Sidehill Farm in Hawley.

Neal told 22News that these farms are big reason why the quality and quantity of the American food supply has improved significantly.