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688 Action Items Found
Ensure water conservation practices are called for in lease agreements for state- and town-owned land used for agriculture.
Create demonstration areas or pilot projects where cisterns or other water catchment systems are incorporated into the farm landscape and farming system, particularly in urban environments. Provide technical assistance to size the water harvesting devices and incentives or grants for incorporating water harvesting techniques.
Expand research to identify and fill gaps in the literature about the level of non-point source water pollution that agricultural activities can generate.
Provide more resources and introduce regionally-appropriate program reforms to improve water quality. The NRCS, UMass Extension, and non-profits should provide additional technical assistance and resources.
Provide technical and financial support to farmers for irrigation and waste water testing, to assist in compliance with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations and USDA’s Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) certification.
Provide more technical support to urban farmers on water quality impacts from urban farming.
Include a representative from the urban farming sector on the NRCS’ State Technical Committee to represent the particular needs of the Massachusetts urban farming sector.
Research the impact that urban agriculture has on stormwater runoff reduction and treatment.
Develop a model ordinance to exempt urban farms from sewerage fees.
Streamline water connection requirements for urban farms, eliminating unnecessary requirements and reducing connection costs.
Change municipal ordinances to allow and encourage water catchment systems and other green infrastructure on urban farms.
Consider changes to Mass DEP’s Groundwater Discharge Permitting regulations that would exempt farms from needing a groundwater discharge permit for farm waste provided they adhere to MDAR and NRCS best practices.
Mass DEP and MDAR should continue to implement the “Regulatory Certainty” effort.
Provide more education and technical assistance to homeowners and landscapers for proper use of pesticides through local Boards of Health.
Anticipate increased pest issues in light of climate change impacts. UMass Extension should monitor pest issues experienced in warmer climates that may migrate to Massachusetts under warmer and changed climate conditions.
Increase UMass Extension resources for providing integrated pest management (IPM) technical assistance and education to farmers, homeowners, and other pesticide users.
Educate farmers to make sure they are aware that burning chemicals and plastics is illegal, and impacts human and environmental health.
Make it easier to dispose of hazardous chemicals through municipal and regional collection programs.
Promote tire stewardship legislation and education to safely dispose of tires.
Work with towns, cities, and solid waste districts to create an agricultural plastic recycling system.