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Helping Farmers Through the Drought

A unique opportunity to give grants to farms in needPhoto of Bruce Bickford

The summer of 2016 was difficult for farmers throughout southern New Hampshire. Bruce Bickford, farmer-owner at Abenaki Springs Farm in Walpole, knows this all too well. The farm’s sprinkler system, which runs off of groundwater, completely dried up a few months into the growing season. The vegetable farm had a very hard time growing crops to full size, and lost nearly half of its long-term plantings.

With the reduced income, Bruce wasn’t sure what he was going to do to cover costs for the next year. Thanks to a close friend of the Conservancy’s, a farm disaster relief fund was created this fall and we were able to make the first grants in January. Ten grants were awarded and Bruce received one of those grants.

“The timing was more than perfect, I was feeling very frustrated,” he said.

With the money, Bruce was able to get the tractor fixed and buy seed for this season. “It has been a great stop gap and helped a lot for sure,” reflected Bruce.

Even through the tough times, farmers like Bruce are passionate about farming and saving the land for future generations. The drought posed a real threat to local farmers last summer, but they are working to overcome it, bucket by bucket, seed by seed.