The office of U.S. Rep. Bill Delahunt will host an informational forum on Martha’s Vineyard to discuss U.S. Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency Programs (USDA-FSA) at 11 am, Friday, Oct. 22, at the Vineyard Transit Authority meeting room, 11 A Street, Airport Business Park, Edgartown.
The speakers will include Richard Burke, State Executive Director for USDA-FSA.
“With the resurgence of local agriculture and shellfish aquaculture in the towns on Martha’s Vineyard, this forum can be helpful to farmers, those interested in aquaculture and seeking start-up assistance,” Mr. Delahunt said in a press release. “I think there are potential business opportunities that Islanders can take advantage of.”
The Farm Service Agency administers farm commodity, crop insurance, credit, environmental, conservation, and emergency assistance programs for farmers and ranchers and aquaculturists. FSA promotes economic development by supporting loans to family sized farmers, ranchers, and aquaculturists to purchase livestock, equipment, feed , seed and supplies, construct buildings or make improvements
Last year FSA provided over $17 million in program funds to Massachusetts farmers. In recent years, FSA has been pivotal in helping establish new aquaculture grants in the region through annual operating loans. This year, FSA has approved over $200,000 in aquaculture loans to area fishermen to aid in seed purchase, equipment purchases and annual operating expenses.
The forum is hosted by the Dukes County Commission and is free and open to the public. Municipal leaders, agricultural and aquacultural interests are especially encouraged to attend. Inquiries can be made to 800-870-2626.