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688 Action Items Found
Enact legislation to modify state estate tax to allow farmland to be valued according to its current use.
Expand farm succession planning services for farmers. Consider models such as UMass’ Your Forest, Your Legacy program, Land for Good and various programs the U.S. Forest Service is doing with forestland owners.
Increase funding and technical assistance for farmland succession planning and matching services through state, federal, and NGO programs.
Consider eliminating state capital gains tax on farmland that is sold to a farmer. The sale should be subject to a look-back provision, to ensure the land stays in active agriculture for a period of years.
Enact a farmland restoration program similar to Connecticut’s Department of Agriculture’s Farmland Restoration Program, which cost shares with farmers on land management and conservation practices aimed at bringing former farmland back into food production. Consider including in the program projects that would also benefit pollinators and other rare species that thrive on agricultural land.
Enact legislation to expand Chapter 61A eligibility to parcels smaller than 5 acres. Consider requiring an increase in the value of production threshold on smaller parcels to ensure that those parcels are being actively used for commercial agriculture.
Provide technical assistance to Agriculture Commissions and, where no Agricultural Commissions exist, municipal land managers and relevant town committees to inventory municipally-owned land and assess its suitability for agriculture.
Educate land trusts, Agriculture and Conservation Commissions, and municipal land managers on farm-friendly lease arrangements, and provide technical assistance to these entities to assist with implementation of farm leases.
Establish a task force with MDAR, ALPC and stakeholder representation to recommend revisions to APR policy around housing on future APRs, including ways to keep existing farmhouses with protected parcels.
Educate land trusts, Agriculture Commissions, and others involved in farmland protection about the role and value of ground leases in linking housing and farmland protection.
Integrate and expand existing NGO farm-linking databases, so farmland owners and seekers in all parts of the state, including urban areas, can more readily find each other. Provide state support for these databases. Educate farmland owners and Agricultural Commissions about these databases.
Integrate succession planning and farmland matching into MDAR’s APR stewardship.
Provide state support for succession planning and land matching services. Incorporate these services more fully into the state Farm Viability Enhancement Program; consider expanding eligibility for FVEP to non-farming farmland owners seeking farm transfer and succession support.
Develop a more flexible Conservation Restriction that allows for commercial agriculture in situations where land being protected is suitable for agriculture. Educate land use attorneys and land trust staff on these terms and conditions.
Change MDAR policy to accept donated APRs on farmland that does not meet eligibility requirements for restrictions purchased through the program.
Focus analysis on Gateway Cities to assess the potential for those cities to support both short- and long- term urban agriculture on vacant and underutilized land. Work with city planners to inventory these municipalities’ surplus land and prioritize based upon criteria developed in the action plan as called for in Recommendation 2.1. Consider using Health Impact Assessments to evaluate soil remediation on urban land.
Advocate for dedicated funding conduct soil testing, and import or remediate soil on prioritized land in Gateway Cities and other cities. Consider using the MEPA process to secure clean soil from development projects that could replace contaminated soils in urban locations.
Provide technical assistance to Gateway City municipal officials on creating mutually beneficial lease agreements with urban farmers, both commercial and not-for-profit.
Host information sessions and provide other technical assistance for communities interested in forming community land trusts, involving existing land trusts as well.
Support state and municipal tax incentives to encourage short- and long- term use of urban land and buildings for food production, such as for the installation of green roofs that include food production and the transformation of vacant lots into community gardens.