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179 Action Items Found
Fully expend all existing bond authorizations for farm viability by 2018, and increase funding for the FVEP in subsequent authorizations.
Train Agriculture and Conservation Commissions on actions farmers may take under current law to manage on and off-farm beaver activity to avoid property damage. If needed, consider changes to state law to allow farmers recourse in the event of off-farm beaver activity that is damaging a farm’s crops or farmland.
Increase technical assistance to farmers around crop and livestock-specific climate change adaptation strategies. Include climate change adaptation strategies as eligible practices under USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
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.
Support revisions to the Community Preservation Act that will provide additional funding to the Trust. Encourage communities to adopt the CPA, which provides funding streams for open space protection (including agricultural land) and affordable housing, as well as recreation and historic preservation.
Provide technical assistance to town Community Preservation Committees, Agricultural Commissions and land trusts about how CPA funds can be used to support farmland protection, as well as affordable housing associated with farmland.
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.
Provide technical assistance to municipalities to identify suitable municipally-owned land, including parks, schools, and open land, for food production. Encourage municipalities to partner with community garden and other non-profit urban growing groups to grow on underutilized public lands.
Where needed, develop model contracts and leases that municipalities can use to lease city-owned land for farming. Train municipal land use managers and planners on these tools.
Educate municipal Planning Boards and Agricultural Commissions about the use of Conservation Subdivision/Natural Resources Protection Zoning and accessory apartment bylaws as tools to promote compact development, and provide technical support to communities seeking to adopt and use these zoning tools.
Encourage and support Agricultural Commissions and, in communities where there are no Agricultural Commissions, other municipal boards, land trusts, and farm organizations, in: educating landowners about Chapter 61/61A/61B, farmland protection and conservation programs, and land listing, linking and matching services; inventorying current and potential farmland in town; and identifying opportunities for restoring active farming on land that has been abandoned.
Provide technical assistance and model zoning bylaws and ordinances to encourage municipalities to support the use of land, rooftops, and unused infrastructure for urban agriculture.
Develop guidance for farmers and municipal officials around solar development and the types of arrays and installation techniques that minimize the long-term impact on agricultural resources.
Provide adequate funding for APR Program stewardship. Consider a dedicated fund for this purpose, as was proposed in the 2014 Environmental Bond. Include outreach to landowners around farm transfer and succession strategies as part of APR Program stewardship.
Update the state Farming in Wetlands guide (last updated in 1996), and include new examples of situations involving the Wetlands Protection Act agricultural exemption. Provide training to farmers and Agriculture Commissions on the guide and the agricultural exemption. Require Conservation Commission members to take a training course on the agriculture exemption.
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.
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.
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.