Nov 5, 2019
For episode 93 we welcome US Congressman from the Massachusetts
2nd district, Jim McGovern. Representative McGovern’s
district ranges from Worcester to the Pioneer Valley, and includes
a good portion of the Connecticut River – the lifeblood for much of
the state’s remaining dairy & orchard infrastructure.
McGovern’s district also includes the Quabbin Reservoir – the
largest inland body of water in the State – which also happens to
supply Boston and much of the metro area with crystal clear, world
class drinking water.
In our 45 minute discussion we look at the future of food and its production through a federal lens, as well as for the 1800 farms in his home district in Massachusetts. We discuss both the positive steps forward in the latest version of the farm bill, as well as some of the intrinsic problems of this huge and glacial policy bucket. We look at the discrepancies in supporting big vs. small farms. It was recently announced that US Farm income hit $88 Billion – the highest since 2014. But, nearly 40% of that 2019 farm income income will come from federal aid. Much of that has been tied to disaster assistance, and aid for the current trade war. But, Chapter 12 farm bankruptcies are up 24% over the last year, at their highest levels since 2011. That’s the crux of the issue – big farms are getting paid, and small farms are going out of business. Hear how this can change!
Joining in as cohost is Scott Soares. Soares is former commissioner of Agriculture in Massachusetts, and served as the Director of USDA Rural Development for Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island for the Obama administration. Scott has 15 years of fishery and aquaculture experience prior to that – including early in his career serving as the 1st Massachusetts coordinator of aquaculture for nearly a decade. Soares has recently returned to these roots by taking on the role of the Mass Shellfish Initiative coordinator. Scott and Congressman McGovern are good friends, and that quickly becomes evident only a few minutes into our chat. We try to keep the conversation lively and upbeat, while still evaluating important subject matter.
So, if you want to hear how systems thinking connects food, health and stability. Or, if you want to know more about how farm raised fish in land based RAS systems could regulated and propagated by the USDA. Or, if you want to learn more about the perils of New England dairy, and what can be done about it. Or, how hemp is an agricultural product for medication, fiber and material sciences to replace plastics – tune-in to learn more about what’s going on in Massachusetts’s 2nd, and on the Hill.