Thursday, April 27, 2023

State Senator Bruce Tarr Receives Agriculture Day Award

BOSTON – State Senator Bruce Tarr was honored at a recent State House event with the “Agriculture Day Award” from the Massachusetts Agriculture Promotion Board as part of the annual Agriculture Day. The award recognizes Senator Tarr’s long involvement in promoting locally grown and harvested foods and his steadfast support in championing local farmers and those involved in the fisheries. Agriculture generates nearly $500 million for the state economy annually. 

“The hardworking people who make Ag Day possible by working in the fields, farms, and waters are responsible for adding value to our lives and I am honored to work with and be recognized, by them,” said Senator Tarr (R-Gloucester). “Promoting locally grown and harvested foods means that consumers and producers come together in the best possible way and seeing so many young people and students come to the State House for this special day gives me great hope that those traditions will continue for years to come.”

State officials, legislators, farmers, and students from Future Farmers of America, a career and technical student organization, and 4-H, a network of youth organizations whose mission is engaging youth to reach their fullest potential, gathered at the State House as part of a collaborative effort between the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation, agricultural commodity groups, commodity groups, and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR). Tarr has been a stalwart supporter of the state’s Regional Buy Local Promotional Grant Program, sustainable aquaculture development, and the Farmers' Market Program. In addition, he has authored legislation to stimulate research and development, innovation, and energy efficiencies to support and strengthen fishing and farming in Massachusetts.

“We lead the nation in innovation for the harvesting and processing of seafood products and our contributions to the country’s agricultural heritage are renowned; it’s vital that we support these industries, which go all the way back to our colonial history,” said Tarr. “Farmers and fishermen work hard, we should support them by connecting them with information and resources to help them prosper and grow.”

Among his successes, Senator Tarr facilitated the creation, growth, and advancement of the Massachusetts Seafood Collaborative, a coalition of harvesters, processors, and wholesalers with a focus on collaboration among industry stakeholders to deliver underutilized seafood products to a wider range of local consumers, and institutions such as schools and food pantries. In response to the growing food insecurity problems associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, he also helped shape the creation and funding of the state’s Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program. This initiative helps ensure that individuals and families throughout the Commonwealth have access to food, with a focus on food that is produced locally. The program also seeks to ensure that farmers, fishermen, and other local food producers are better connected to a strong, resilient food system to help mitigate future food supply and distribution disruption.

Total landings from commercial fishermen in 2022 were valued at $557 million with the commercial fishing industry supporting an estimated 83,000 jobs in the state/ Massachusetts has more than 7,200 farms on nearly a half-million acres of farmland and open space while employing 28,000 workers. The Massachusetts Agriculture Promotion Board is a state-affiliated commodity group that promotes the growth and development of the agricultural industry in Massachusetts. MDAR’s mission is to ensure the long-term viability of agriculture in Massachusetts and to support, regulate, and promote the Commonwealth’s agricultural future.