BOSTON — Governor Charlie Baker declared April 4, 2017 as Massachusetts Agriculture Day. To celebrate the occasion, state officials, legislators, farmers, and students gathered at a State House event as part of a collaborative effort between the Massachusetts Promotional Board,Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation, and Federation of Massachusetts Farmers Markets. During the event farmers, producers, and agricultural organizations joined together to promote the Commonwealth’s diverse locally-grown food and farm products, and discuss the agricultural industry.
“Agriculture Day is an opportunity to acknowledge the hard work Massachusetts farmers and producers do every day for their regional economies, and to encourage Massachusetts residents to buy locally produced items to support our state’s vibrant agricultural industry,” said Governor Charlie Baker.
“Our administration is proud to support the Commonwealth’s agricultural sector and the diverse set of products harvested for people in Massachusetts, across the country, and around the world,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “By declaring April 4th as ‘Massachusetts Agriculture Day,’ we hope to raise awareness about the contributions our local growers make to the farm economy and encourage people to buy local.”
With approximately 7,700 farms within Massachusetts maintaining nearly 523,000 acres of open space, local farms employ over 28,000 workers and contribute $492 million to the state economy. The Commonwealth is ranked fifth in the United States for direct market agricultural sales.
“Agriculture Day is an opportunity for farmers and producers to meet and discuss issues, ideas, and challenges currently being experienced within the Massachusetts agricultural industry directly with state officials and legislators,”said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton.“Massachusetts farmers ensure residents have access to nutritious, fresh, and environmentally sustainable agricultural products year round, and we appreciate their dedication to the Commonwealth’s many communities.”
“The Baker-Polito Administration remains dedicated to supporting Massachusetts farmers and producers, and we hope that the awareness Agriculture Day brings will help facilitate the expansion of Massachusetts products into new and viable markets,” said Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux. “With continued collaboration from our agricultural partners, we are preparing for another successful growing season.”
Additionally, during today’s State House event, Agriculture Day awards were presented to current State Representatives Sarah Peake (D-Provincetown) and Patricia Haddad (D-Somerset), as well as to former state legislator and Agriculture Commissioner Jonathan Healy, for their dedication and support of the Massachusetts agricultural industry. A posthumous memorial award for the late Assistant Commissioner and Chief of Staff Kent Lage was also presented to his wife Tami Nason.
“It’s my honor to support Massachusetts agricultural and the farmers and producers who grow and create delicious and nutritious products as diverse as Cape Abilities famous tomatoes, Wellfleet Oysters, and Truro Vineyards wine,”said State Representative Sarah Peake (D- Provincetown). “Farmers’ markets enable the public to have access to these locally grown and fresh farm items. The agricultural industry, through partnerships with our schools is not only providing products to school cafeterias, but also engaging students, helping them plant gardens, and learn how to make smart food choices. I cannot say enough good things about Massachusetts agricultural!”
“I am honored to be recognized today,” said State Representative Patricia Haddad (D-Somerset). “I am all too well aware of the needs and many challenges of the small family farmers throughout my district and I am always supportive of their endeavors. The Commonwealth’s first Agriculture School is sited in the heart of my district and I whole heartedly endorse their many Agri-science initiatives; after all, no farms, no food.”
Massachusetts Agricultural Day serves as a great opportunity to continue to empower students, children, and their families through education regarding healthy eating, behavioral practices, agriculture, food, and environmental science. Trevor Clapp, a high school student at the Bristol County Agricultural High School and active member of the “Cows-n-Clover” Massachusetts 4-H group, was a speaker at today’s event to provide a younger generations’ optimistic view on the future of agriculture in the Commonwealth.
“I believe the success of tomorrow’s agriculture is dependent upon the youth of today, if we are to sustain and improve the future of the agriculture industry,”said Bristol County Agricultural High School student Trevor Clapp. “I look forward to becoming an agriculture leader as I continue to pursue my career goals.”
“Agriculture Day is our time to discuss the issues related to agriculture with our legislators,” said Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation President Ed Davidian, who farms in Northborough. “The challenges and opportunities we face do not affect us alone, but our customers and communities as well.
A “Taste of Massachusetts” reception was enjoyed by attendees in the State House’s Great Hall. Culinary students and instructors from the Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management Program prepared and presented the menu, using products donated from approximately 40 farms and food producers across the Commonwealth.
—Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
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