The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) has been working with its sister agencies and federal partners on establishing an emergency response plan for the introduction of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). Since mid-December 2014, there have been several ongoing HPAI incidents along the Pacific, Central and Mississippi Flyways. Due to the mixing of birds from different flyways up through Canada, it is likely that exposed birds will be found in the Atlantic Flyway during the current southern migration. This strain of the HPAI virus devastated the domestic poultry population in 21 Midwestern and Western states over the past year. It has not been found to affect humans. Ongoing, routine testing of wild birds and domestic poultry is being conducted and to date no HPAI has been found within Massachusetts. MDAR is seeking to educate poultry owners about the risk this virus poses to their birds in hopes that owners will take every precaution to prevent their flocks from being exposed. Additionally, the MDAR wants poultry owners to understand what will happen if their flock becomes infected.
HPAI is a deadly disease for poultry. It can infect all types of chickens, turkeys and many other kinds of birds. HPAI can strike suddenly and spread fast. Infected poultry may die within hours of becoming infected. The virus can be spread by contact with infected birds or contaminated materials. Read more →
BY KENDRA MURRAY
It isn’t hard to find a farm when driving around Southeastern Massachusetts. With over 1,700 farms across Bristol, Plymouth, and Norfolk counties and the continual growth of farmers markets, it’s easy to find fresh, local, and delicious ingredients. What about dining out, though? Stumped as to where you can find local lunch and dinner (without having to cook it yourself)? Read more →
As daylight wanes the farmers work stays steady. Cool season crops are starting to take shape after another dry summer. The Cranberry Industry and the apple growers have spread the good news that the yield will be stellar for these fall crops. The time to celebrate the harvest is upon us for late season corn and tomatoes to apples, peaches and farm fresh meats. Our local farmers have provided a great, local feast again.
SEMAP has worked hard over the past few months to reach out to farmers from all our territories; Bristol, Plymouth and Norfolk Counties. We have reconnected with some old friends and made some new connections as well. One focal point is our Member Benefits Package for farmers; we are very excited to share the details and we are also still polishing the General Membership benefits. Farmers will be getting the 2016 membership form in the mail soon if it hasn’t already arrived. Membership is just one of the things we count on for financial support. In return for your membership we want to be sure you know the value of what your membership does for SEMAP and what you get in return. The details are outlined in the new membership flyer. If you’re a farmer, or know a farmer, who didn’t receive the mailing then please reach out to Kendra and we’ll send a copy of the flyer. Read more →
BY TODD SANDSTRUM
Off of Route 1A in Wrentham, up and over the hill, down a windy road, sits a fall destination farm and a gem of Norfolk County. Known as ‘The Big Apple,’ the Pine Hedge Orchards has been a longtime autumn sweet treat, but this farm offers so much more. The 100 plus acres are still home to some of the original apple trees dating back to the former owners, George Gilman and Mrs. Osie, during the 1840’s. These majestic trees are still producing apples alongside the 26 other varieties now spotting the hill side. Read more →