Photo Credit: Eric Muhr
Update: On June 9, 2020, NOFA-NH and eighteen farms, agriculture and food system organizations signed a letter to Governor Sununu, Agricultural Commissioner Jasper, and the GOFERR Advisory Board, urging reconsideration of the CARES Act eligibility criteria, and the creation of a relief package that benefits all NH farmers, large and small. Read the letter here.
NH agricultural grants will be provided to dairy, fruit, vegetable, and ornamental plant growers in the state, drawing from a $10 million appropriation: $4.5M to dairy farmers, $1.5M to other farmers, and $4M in reserve. Despite written testimony from NOFA-NH based on a community survey of 60 farmers, many of whom indicated negative financial impacts from COVID-19, farms that grossed less than $50,000 in 2019 will not qualify for this aid. The present plan excludes almost 90% of the over 4,100 farms in the Granite State.
Though NOFA-NH understands that a sense of limited funds motivated this decision, we are disappointed with the outcome, and feel it does not reflect the findings of our community survey. NOFA-NH believes that every farm in New Hampshire has inherent cultural, economic, natural resource, and human value, and each contributes to the beloved rural character of the state. Small and mid-size farms are powerful engines for economic development, and can provide for resilience, food security, and ecological health now and in the future. Over time, NOFA-NH hopes that a more holistic analysis of the multi-dimensional values of all of NH's farms will lead to more inclusive policies.
We appreciate the invitation to submit testimony to the GOFERR (Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery), the work of the Stakeholder Advisory Board, and invite future opportunities for dialogue.
If you would like to contest this decision, please contact the Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food, and Commissioner Jasper to make your voice heard. Contact information can be found here: https://www.agriculture.nh.gov/contact/staff.htm
Our community survey results and written testimony can be read here: https://www.nofanh.org/covid19-impact-survey
Oral testimony from the GOFERR can be heard here. https://mm.nh.gov/media/goferr/goferr-20205014-meeting.mp3