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240 Action Items Found
Enact legislation that provides a tax credit for agricultural buildings, exempting new or reconstructed agricultural buildings essential to a farm operation from local property taxes for a period of 10 years, provided the building remains in agricultural use.
Expand current law that allows towns to vote to waive excise tax on farm animals and equipment to include incorporated farming operations.
Enact legislation to exempt farmland eligible for Chapter 61A from municipal storm or floodwater fees.
To address concerns over potential loss of revenue to rural communities, explore ways to provide financial incentives to communities that enact farm-friendly zoning and tax policies, including through the Baker Administration’s Commonwealth Compact initiative.
Modify Chapter 61A to direct the Farmland Valuation Advisory Commission to guide and limit municipalities setting their own farmland values, to ensure that values are based on use value, not sales value. The University of Massachusetts’ Department of Resource Economics should provide increased resources and expertise to the Farmland Valuation Advisory Committee in evaluating and updating farmland values across the Commonwealth.
Develop 61A valuation for forestland where trees are tapped for maple products.
Expand “best practices” in Baker Administration’s Community Compact initiative to include zoning that allows ancillary commercial activities on farm properties, including accessory apartments.
Fully expend all existing bond authorizations for farm viability by 2018, and increase funding for the FVEP in subsequent authorizations.
Update the TDR model in the EOEEA toolkit and provide interested communities with technical assistance on how to implement TDR in their town or municipality.
Eliminate the requirement that land be in active agricultural use for 2 years to be eligible for the APR program.
Increase the state conservation tax credit, currently at $2 million annually, to $5 million annually, and improve its use with the APR Program.
Through the state Farmland Action Plan, task EEA with identifying land owned by the state and counties that is either in current agricultural production or suitable for agricultural production, with input from other state agencies and departments. Ensure that EEA, and other state agencies as needed, have adequate resources to undertake this assessment and to assist in Action 3.2. See Recommendation 2.1.
For land identified through the inventory as suitable for agricultural production and as appropriate per controlling agency mission, establish a process for negotiating potential agricultural use on parcels with the appropriate state agencies.
Create standard policies around farming state-owned land, allowing normal agricultural practices so long as they are not inconsistent with mission of the controlling agency and there is recognition of any restrictions on the parcel in question.
Open state-owned woodlands to maple syrup production.
Change state law or policy to enable state agencies to use leases longer than the current 5-year maximum licenses on state-owned land.
Change state law to allow state agencies to retain and reinvest the revenues they receive from leasing farmland to farmers. Develop guidelines around lease fees.
Change state law to give town Agricultural Commissions, at a town’s discretion, authority to manage and lease suitable town-owned land for agricultural use. Train Agricultural Commissions on how to work with town land managers to make suitable town-owned land available for leasing, and on where to find examples of model farm leases.
Ensure that statewide zoning reform reflects the concerns of the agricultural community over potential loss of value and equity.
Enact pending legislation to ensure no net loss of land protected under Article 97 of the state constitution.