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688 Action Items Found
Offer state-underwritten loan guarantees for infrastructure development, such as slaughterhouse facilities and mobile slaughterhouse services for small producers.
Encourage farmer participation in USDA’s Census of Agriculture and other surveys so that the agricultural sector of the economy is better understood, and so that accurate data is available for formula-based federal grants and programs.
Develop guidelines to ensure that nonprofit farms do not receive unfair competitive or financial advantages over for-profit commercial farm businesses.
Forgive student debt for graduates of UMass agricultural education programs and other public agriculture programs who choose to work on a Massachusetts farm for at least ten years after graduation, consistent similar with federal programs for other professions with a public benefit.
Establish peer networks of business technical assistance service providers and financiers to share information, enhance referrals, provide opportunities for skill development, and work to address gaps and duplication within the agricultural sector.
Develop a range of credit options and business support services, including financial products that are flexible enough to support seasonal cash flow and meet fast turn-around approval and disbursement demands of some agricultural projects, to help farmers of all types at all stages of growth and development. Immediate, pre-qualified access to short-term loans is particularly critical.
Ensure that financial products for farm businesses are coupled with services and technical assistance that help farmers understand all options, commitments, and risks.
Develop resources to incubate and increase the number of farms and other agricultural businesses in urban areas, especially in low income communities and those with limited access to fresh and healthy foods. Support these businesses with technical assistance for legal matters, marketing, finance and strategic services, and public funding.
Develop a Venture-Oriented Investment Fund for farms, with tiers for a range of ventures such as: business planning and technical assistance, including small grants; lending programs targeted to agricultural businesses; philanthropic funding for start-ups; and more return-oriented traditional investment for growing ventures.
Align and leverage existing small business development centers, community development financial institutions, community development corporations, and development finance agencies to develop innovative and unique small and micro business development services for farms.
Support the development of a network of urban agriculture practitioners to share resources and ideas that are specific to urban farming practices and considerations.
Encourage the Massachusetts Congressional delegation to request USDA development of crop insurance products that meet the needs of small crop-diversified farms.
Fund existing and new programs that support marine ecosystem protection and restoration, such as NOAA’s wetland protection and carbon sequestration initiative, efforts by Massachusetts towns and their partners on eelgrass and oyster reef restoration projects, and Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership’s restoration projects.
Improve data collection methods, systems, and technology for ‘fishery dependent’ and ‘fishery independent’ fish stocks. NOAA’s Northeast Federal Fishery Dependent Data Visioning project and the Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program are leads in fishery dependent data collection.
Investigate reallocating state fishing quotas based on projected changes in fish distribution. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) Management and Science Committee and other entities’ research, monitoring, and advocacy efforts toward this action item should be supported.
Develop more resources for technical assistance, such as cooperative extension, for the aquaculture industry.
Provide funding to improve shellfish management and stock assessments.
Ensure continued and expanded permitting for shellfish habitat projects.
Develop solutions to address property owners’ disputes regarding adjacent shellfish habitat projects.
Study the ecological benefits of no-take oyster reserves.