McGovern listens to farmers on 8th annual tour

The Recorder, August 21, 2018, by Jacquelyn Voghel

Over lunch on Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern met with local agricultural organizations as part of his eighth annual farm tour.

McGovern attended a lunch and roundtable discussion at the Hampshire College Farm, where he talked with representatives from groups such as the University of Massachusetts Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment and Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA), a nonprofit that works to foster strength in farming and the local food economy.

Beginning at Austin Brothers Valley Farm in Belchertown and concluding with a visit to Maple Hill Farm in Hardwick, the two-day tour brings McGovern across western and central Massachusetts to meet with local farmers and emphasize the role that farms play in both the economy and the community at large.

McGovern has long been recognized as an advocate for farms and legislation that fights hunger.

“Farmers in the Valley know you have our back,” one participant in the roundtable discussion said to McGovern.

In July, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi named McGovern to serve on a conference committee focused on a five-year reauthorization of the Farm Bill.

The current Farm Bill, which was enacted in 2014 and will expire at the end of September, governs the country’s food and agricultural programs, including SNAP (food stamps).

Through this conference, McGovern will seek to counter a House Republican-advanced bill that the congressman criticized as a proposal that “fails farmers and their families.”

“This conference will provide an opportunity to return to the grand bipartisan tradition of robust Farm Bills,” he said in a statement. “Our diverse and dynamic House Democratic Conferees will bring the strength of their values and wide-ranging expertise to the work of hammering out a bipartisan Farm Bill that honors our responsibility to the men and women of agriculture and hungry families.”