The number of dairy farms in Massachusetts dropped significantly between 2007 and 2012, according to US Census data out this month.
Since the 1970s, the Cummington Fairgrounds in the western Massachusetts hilltown of Cummington has hosted sheep and wool enthusiasts for a weekend of family and sheep focused events.
A deadly pig virus has hit 27 states throughout the country, including Vermont. In Massachusetts agriculture officials are urging swine farmers to take precautions.
The disease is called Phytophthera Capsici It is somewhat similar to a blight that attacked local tomato and potato crops two years ago. Whereas that rot was caused by an airborne disease, Phytophthera Capsici is water-borne and targets other crops.
“It affects vine crops like pumpkins and summer squash and cucumbers…it can affect peppers.”