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Grants to Massachusetts Farmers to Retain
Their Land for Agricultural Purposes

Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program

Agency Type:

State

Funding Source:

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Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) - Division of Agricultural Technical Assistance

Deadline Date:

06/30/22 4:00 PM Receipt

Description:

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Grants to Massachusetts farmers to continue using their land for agricultural purposes. Funding is intended to protect productive agricultural farmland from developers and rejuvenate the state's agricultural industry. The program allows farmers to retain their property and to more easily transfer ownership to their children.

It is essential to keep the agricultural industry in Massachusetts thriving. The APR Program helps to preserve agricultural land to keep valuable farmland soil from being built on by development companies for non-agricultural purposes that could be detrimental to the environment. The program offers to pay farmland owners the difference between the "fair market value" and the "agricultural value" of their farms in exchange for a permanent deed restriction which prevents any use of the property that will negatively impact its future agricultural viability.

It is a voluntary program for farmers who are faced with a decision regarding the future use of their farms. The main objective of the APR program is to protect productive farmland with the deed restrictions and revitalize the agricultural industry by making land more affordable to farmers and their operations more financially secure. 

The purpose of the Agricultural Preservation Restriction program is to protect farmland. Related benefits are:

  • Strengthening the local farm community by keeping farmland in productive agricultural use and in the hands of farmers
  • Offering estate planning and retirement options such as the continued operation of the farm (for example land can be transferred to one child with cash disbursements to other children), or the owner can retire now or in the future without having to sell the farm for development
  • Providing experienced and beginning farmers with the opportunity to purchase farmland near or at its fair market agricultural value
  • Stabilizing farmland values in regions with escalating land values to guarantee long-term availability of farmland for farmers who want to rent or purchase land to farm
  • Providing farmers access to the equity in their land so they can keep their land instead of having to sell for development, making it possible to reinvest in their farms with the purchase of more land, equipment, buildings, or the retirement of farm debt, or to provide for other family needs
  • Ofering a resource for farmers to transfer ownership to their children by reducing the value of restricted farmland to its fair market agricultural value, which may greatly reduce inheritance taxes and the need for second generation farmers to sell the farmland to pay taxes
  • Contributing to food security by making fresh, healthy, local agricultural products available to people in Massachusetts
  • Responding to climate change with farmland conservation practices that contribute to soil health and the reduction of greenhouse emissions
  • Securing a better future for all Massachusetts residents by contributing to the scenic beauty of the state, tourism, agricultural economy, local food availability, wildlife habitat, quality of life, recreational opportunities, and the preservation of natural resources that might otherwise be lost to development

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 202790

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Landowners with at least five acres of land with suitable soils in agricultural production for the last two years.

Primary Requirements:
- Farm must be at least five (5) acres in size.
- Land has to have been actively devoted to agriculture for the two (2) immediately preceding tax years.
- Farm must produce at least $500 in gross sales per year for the first five acres plus $5 for each additional acre or 50 cents per each additional acre of woodland and/or wetland.

Other criteria considered:
- Suitability and productivity of land for agricultural use based on soil classification, physical features, and location
- The degree of threat to the continuation of agriculture on the land due to circumstances such as owner's health, retirement, financial positions, development pressure, or insecurity due to rental agreements
- The size or composition of the land that determines if it is economically viable for agricultural purposes, and the likelihood that it will remain in agriculture in the future

Pre-Application Information:

The program accepts applications on a rolling basis. In order to be considered a priority for the next
funding cycle applications should be received by 4:00 P.M. on June 30, 2022.

The APR process may take two or three years, so contact them when you frst consider farmland protection.

Applications may be mailed, hand-delivered or sent electronically; those sent by fax will NOT be accepted. Postmarks will not be considered. A copy of the completed application is acceptable for meeting the submission deadline. Original signature page can be submitted at a later date.

For a sample timeline, see: https://www.mass.gov/doc/apr-application-process/download#page=2

APR Program Guide: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/apr-program-guide
APR Application Instructions: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/apr-application-instructions

For additional relevant links, see URL for Full Text (RFP).

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Submit all applications to:
Dorothy Du, APR Program
dorothy.du@mass.gov
Mass Department of Agricultural Resources
251 Causeway Street, Suite 500
Boston, MA 02114

Get in touch with APR staf for information and an application.
Eastern Massachusetts/ Hampshire
Ron Hall | 413.726.2002
Ronald.Hall@mass.gov

Hampden/Berkshire
Barbara Hopson
413.726.2003
Barbara.Hopson@mass.gov

Franklin/Worcester
Michele Padula
617.626.1758
Michele.Padula@mass.gov

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Massachusetts

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