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688 Action Items Found
Bring together farmers, plumbers, and regulators to develop a suitable agricultural plumbing code.
Adapt building codes and regulations to promote utilization of vacant industrial buildings for hydroponic growing and other food production.
Develop regulations to facilitate dairy farms’ capacity to sell raw milk and related value-added products direct to consumers while ensuring adequate oversight to protect safety and consumer confidence.
Establish a committee to review state apiary laws and propose recommendations to support the growth of native pollinators.
Work with the congressional delegations of Massachusetts and other New England states to advocate for changes in the federal dairy pricing structure so that it is more sensitive to the particular needs of Massachusetts dairy farms.
Develop a system of checks and balances to support appropriate engagement of municipal boards of health and conservations commissions in agricultural issues and reduce unwarranted or unjustified regulations.
Develop the capacity of agricultural commissions through an organization such as the Massachusetts Association of Agricultural Commissions, with support from MDAR, to play a formal role in local decisions and issues related to agriculture.
Encourage farmers to serve on local select boards, boards of health, conservation commissions, planning boards, water and sewer commissions and similar local bodies to ensure that the perspectives of agriculture are represented in local government.
Develop incentives to encourage towns and cities without agricultural commissions to create them, particularly in Gateway Cities, and support technical assistance, education, and networking opportunities for all commission members.
Work to achieve greater overall consistency in municipal health regulations pertaining to agricultural production and marketing so that farmers can more efficiently manage agricultural operations and market opportunities across town lines. State agencies, regional planning agencies, and support organizations should encourage and assist with this action.
Require and publicly fund training of local and state regulators in agriculture and food issues.
Explore and implement options for credentialing of the local public health workforce, accreditation of local health departments, and regionalization of local public health services and regulations.
Create a professionally-facilitated working group that includes representatives from the fields of public health and food systems, as well as regulatory agencies, to develop a proposal to improve regulatory oversight of the local food system with respect to public health. This proposal should address: (1) Actions to achieve consistent, science-based state and local regulations that are developed by practitioners and public health professionals concerning animal slaughter, on-farm processing, product aggregation, farmers markets, and other relevant issues that may be identified. (2)Requirements for training local regulators in food system practices and current science, and a plan for developing resources for doing so. (3) Requirements for training local regulators to enforce regulations consistently and, wherever possible, to offer resources to remedy concerns before taking punitive action. (4) A requirement for public review of new regulations that is timely and transparent, involves affected stakeholders early on, and includes at least one public hearing. (5) A system of checks and balances on local regulations and actions, including appeal processes. (6) Consideration of other, related issues as raised in this plan. The working group should present its proposal to the Food Policy Council, appropriate agencies within the state administration, and the legislature within nine months of the first working group meeting. The proposal should note whether or not state legislative or regulatory changes are needed to implement the proposal’s recommendations, and it should include a draft budget for implementation.
Develop an online, centralized job matching hub for domestic agricultural workers.
Facilitate partnerships between farmers who require labor during different seasons.
Establish a time-limited youth and training minimum wage for farm workers.
Allow retail farm workers to qualify for the agricultural minimum wage.
Educate farmers about federal and state labor laws, with an emphasis on assistance with compliance, rather than punitive measures for violations.
Ensure that when changes to state labor laws are considered that may affect sick leave, scheduling, overtime, and other related topics that consideration is given to relevance and applicability for on-farm workers.
Change the definition of agriculture as it is applied to the federal Fair Labor Standards Action (FLSA) so that it allows for retail agriculture (work other than field work) and a limited amount of aggregation of goods from area farms.