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63 Action Items Found
Advocate for federal crop insurance products that would cover the loss of fruit trees and other perennial crops in the event of vandalism, flooding, wildlife, or other damage not covered by existing crop insurance policies.
Work with USDA-NRCS to include in the state Farmland Action Plan any elements needed to enable the Plan to be used as an alternative pathway for ALE program eligibility. See Recommendation 2.1.
Allow pre-acquisitions of farmland through the ALE and APR program.
Establish a coalition of agriculture, conservation, forestry, and smart growth organizations to work together and with the ALPC and state and federal agencies to identify and take action on common issues and priorities around farmland protection.
Increase funding and technical assistance for farmland succession planning and matching services through state, federal, and NGO programs.
Educate farmers, including beginning and urban farmers about state and federal conservation programs.
Expand and improve technical assistance to farmers and farmland owners to assist with conservation planning and accessing state and federal conservation programs. Advocate for increased state and federal funding for this purpose.
Develop recommendations on how the federal Conservation Stewardship Program could be improved to better incentivize conservation practices on farmland in Massachusetts.
Ensure that the federal “regional equity” provision of the Farm Bill is being fully implemented, and track its implementation.
Increase participation in existing education and training around the handling of fresh food for those donating, distributing, and serving the food. Best management practices are being developed through a collaborative effort of the EPA, Massachusetts Department of Public Health(DPH), and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), with support from Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic and the Center for Ecological Technology.
Expand nutrient management planning and implementation technical assistance, especially in light of the new regulatory requirements. The NRCS, UMass Extension, Massachusetts’ Conservation Districts, and other technical assistance providers should provide increased resources and expertise.
Municipal and regional planning staff should collaborate with urban farms to secure EPA Brownfields Assessment Grants, EPA Brownfields Cleanup Grants, and Massachusetts Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities Program (PARC) monies.
Provide additional financial support beyond what NRCS now provides and expand markets for cover crops. UMass Extension is researching cover crops and can help identify new markets such as using grain for the craft beer industry.
Provide the resources and technical assistance needed to help farmers adapt to increased impacts from flooding, drought, and other expected impacts of climate change.
Increase utilization of NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funds by allowing regionally-appropriate practices and providing assistance with the application process.
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.
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.
NRCS should strongly encourage plantings and management practices that create and/or preserve pollinator habitat, including on property edges, and through cover crops.
EPA must improve pesticide labels to include information about potential risk to bees.