Massachusetts

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Massachusetts Local Food Action Plan

The Massachusetts Local Food Action Plan was accepted by the MA Food Policy Council on December 10, 2015. The plan is designed to increase production, sales and consumption of Massachusetts-grown food; create jobs and improve wages in food and farming; protect the land and water needed to produce food, while maximizing the environmental benefits of agriculture and fishing; ensure food safety; and reduce waste, hunger and food insecurity, while making available more fresh, healthy food to everyone who lives here.

Keeping Farmers on the Land: New Research Underscores Need To Address Farm Transition in New England

Farmers age 65 and older own or manage nearly one-third of New England’s farms, and most are farming without a young farmer alongside them. New research from American Farmland Trust (AFT) and Land For Good sheds light on what this means for the future of New England agriculture.

Keeping Farmers on the Land: New Research Underscores Need To Address Farm Transition in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, farmers age 65 and older own or manage almost one-third of the farms, and most are farming without a young farmer alongside them. New research from American Farmland Trust (AFT) and Land For Good sheds light on what this means for the future of Massachusetts agriculture.

Gaining Insights, Gaining Access Webinar: Lessons Learned From Senior Farmers Without Successors

On November 23 and 24, 2015, American Farmland Trust and Land For Good hosted two Webinars to discuss the results of our Gaining Insights, Gaining Access project.

This is the second Webinar in a series intended for land conservation organizations, agricultural service providers and policymakers. We hope they will help inform services, programming and policies around farm succession, transfer planning and land access.

Gaining Insights, Gaining Access Webinar: Using New Data To Inform Farm Transfer and Land Access

On November 23 and 24, 2015, American Farmland Trust and Land For Good hosted two Webinars to discuss the results of our Gaining Insights, Gaining Access project.

This is the first Webinar in a series intended for land conservation organizations, agricultural service providers and policymakers. We hope they will help inform services, programming and policies around farm succession, transfer planning and land access. 

New England Food Policy: Building a Sustainable Food System

A sustainable food and farming system in New England is key to creating a region that is resilient, just, healthy, economically vibrant, and environmentally sound. New England Food Policy: Building a Sustainable Food System identifies policies that are helping New England grow its capacity to feed itself, policies that are hindering this growth, gaps in the existing policy framework, and opportunities for new policies to strengthen our food system. The report is based on interviews with food and farming leaders across the region and nearly two years of research and analysis.

A New England Food Vision

A New England Food Vision describes a future in which New England produces at least half of the region’s food—and no one goes hungry. It looks ahead half a century and sees farming and fishing as important regional economic forces; soils, forests, and waterways cared for sustainably; healthy diets as a norm; and access to food valued as a basic human right.

New England Farm Leasing Tutorial

The tutorial was developed as part of a project called Understanding and Negotiating Leases for New England Farm Entrants.

The goal of this tutorial is to introduce you to the benefits and challenges of leasing. It will explain types of farm leases, and when to use them. It may help you consider, design and negotiate legally sound, written lease agreements.

While this tutorial and the project are intended for aspiring, new and beginning farmers, anyone interested in farm leasing will find useful information in these modules.

Agriculture and Climate Change: The Needs of Agriculture in a Warming Climate

American Farmland Trust, Conservation Law Foundation, and the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group conducted a series of 10 webinars delving into policy issues addressed in their report, New England Food Policy: Building a Sustainable Food System, bringing in experts in the field.

This webinar was #5 in the series.

Farmland Investors: An Exploration for New England and Beyond

This report presents findings and a discussion of investor interest in farmland, particularly as it is being expressed in New England. While the profile of farmland investment in the region is a far cry from the global land grabbing that is of increasing concern, the larger issues help inform the investigation. This report sets the broader context and explores several domestic farmland investment models and experiments. 

How Permanent Protection Opens the Door to Farm Ownership

The presentations in this session from American Farmland Trust's Farmland, Food and Livable Communities Conference discuss how public farmland protection programs help farmers gain access to land. Find out about some cutting edge programs including the Delaware Young Farmers Farmland Purchase and Preservation Loan Program, Maryland's Critical Farms Program, Equity Trust''s Hudson Valley Farm Affordability Program, and Massachusetts' Option to Purchase at Ag Value.

Models for State-level Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easement Programs

The presentations in this session from American Farmland Trust's Farmland, Food and Livable Communities Conference feature state-level programs to illustrate different approaches to program implementation. Massachusetts runs a program that directly acquires and monitors easements; Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Farmland Preservation manages an effective state-county partnership that relies on active county agricultural preservation boards; and the Vermont Housing Conservation Board operates a grant style program in close partnership with a few public and private entities.

Massachusetts Exploring the Small Farm Dream Program

This Program is intended for those who are considering farming as a (small) business. Its purpose is to help pre-venture, aspiring farmers learn what it will take to start and manage their own agricultural enterprise. The program makes use of four guided group sessions and a farmer panel of those who have already done what you are contemplating. It is based on an acclaimed workbook and is presented by instructors experienced in starting ag. businesses. 

Massachusetts: Department of Agricultural Resources Exploring the Small Farm Dream Course Application

The Explorer Program is intended for those who are considering farming as a (small) business. Its purpose is to help pre-venture, aspiring farmers learn what it will take to start and manage their own agricultural enterprise. Explorer makes use of four guided group sessions and a farmer panel.

Massachusetts: Matching Enterprise Grants For Agriculture Program (MEGA) Application Form

The Matching Enterprise Grants for Agriculture Program (MEGA) seeks to assist new and beginning farm businesses with start up or expansion costs. The Program offers technical and business planning assistance to support the special needs of beginning farmers. It also makes available financial assistance for equipment, infrastructure or other capital improvements needed to implement strategies recommended through the planning process.

Does the Option at Agricultural Value Protect Farmland for Beginning Farmers? A Policy Analysis

Since the late 1970’s, local and state governments have protected nearly 2.7 million acres of farmland with Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easement programs. Given market trends and program regulations, the threat of these protected farms being taken out of the agricultural marketplace became a concern for farming advocates and lawmakers.

Farmland Access and Tenure Innovations: Policy and Program Suggestions to Promote Land Access for New England’s Beginning Farmers

Beginning farmers in New England face particularly daunting obstacles to accessing land in a region where cropland and pasture make up less than 5 percent of the land base and the price of farmland in some areas can exceed ten times the national average. It is essential to develop new strategies to make farms and farmland more accessible, affordable and secure for beginning farmers for the region to sustain and grow its farm sector

Guide to Farming in New York State

This guide is comprised of a series of individual fact sheets addressing topics pertinent to planning and operating a farm business. It is not enterprise specific. Rather it addresses topics common to operating a farm business in New York State.

The fact sheets are updated annually. Visit Cornell Unviersity's Northeast Beginning Farmers Project Web site below for the most recent version.

 

FarmStart

In 2005, Farm Credit East initiated a program to support talented, hardworking individuals entering agriculture. FarmStart assists beginning farmers and new cooperatives through their startup years by providing working capital investments of up to $50,000 to get their business off the ground. The investment functions the same as an operating line of credit. It is intended to provide the critical last dollar of funding to overcome the timing mismatch that makes it difficult for true startup farming operations to generate working capital. Repayment of these funds is up to five years.

Massachusetts Matching Enterprise Grants for Agriculture Program (MEGA)

The Matching Enterprise Grants for Agriculture Program (MEGA) seeks to assist new and beginning farm businesses with start up or expansion costs. The Program offers technical and business planning assistance to support the special needs of beginning farmers. It also makes available financial assistance for equipment, infrastructure or other capital improvements needed to implement strategies recommended through the planning process.

Massachusetts Food Policy Council Enabling Statute

The purposes of the Massachusetts Food Policy Council are to: (1) increase production, sales and consumption of Massachusetts-grown foods; (2) develop and promote programs that bring healthy Massachusetts-grown foods to Massachusetts residents; (3) protect the land and water resources needed for sustained local food production; and (4) train, retain and recruit farmers  and to provide for the continued economic viability of local food production, processing and distribution in the commonwealth.

Farmland Matching Service

The Tufts University New Entry Sustainable Farming Project offers the Farmland Matching Service, which provides assistance with locating, evaluating and matching farmers to farmland in Massachusetts and surrounding regions. The Matching Service helps landowners consider lease agreements and find the right farmer and farm business for their land; it helps land seekers find land compatible with the needs of their business and the resources to obtain financing and negotiate agreements with a landowner.

New England Land Link

New England Land Link (NELL) is a program of the New England Small Farm Institute that helps farmers and landholders locate and transfer farms in New England. NELL offers a web-based listing of farm properties in New England and New York, as well as information about other linking programs and resources regionally and nationally.

Conservation and Land Use Planning Under Massachusetts’ Chapter 61 Laws: A Primer for Cities, Towns and Conservation Organizations

The information presented in this booklet is designed to explain how municipalities and conservation organizations can use Chapter 61 laws to protect important natural resources in their communities. The report advises cities and towns facing conversions of classified lands in the evaluation and potential acquisition of the properties.

Farm Transfer Network of New England

The Farm Transfer Network of New England is a network of professionals and organizations that provides farm transfer expertise and support.

FTNNE participants offer education, individual and family consultations, referrals, and resource materials.

FTNNE also conducts workshops and trainings about farm transfer, farm tenure, and related topics for farm families, municipalities, land trusts and other conservation organizations, as well as the general public.

 
 

Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture

Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) strengthens local agriculture by building connections between farmers and the community.

CISA takes a grounded visionary approach to all of their work by solving today's problems while looking towards future challenges. It is a world where more food and farm products are locally produced, farmers have the skills and resources to sustain their businesses and the land and all community residents have access to locally grown farm products.

Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group

The mission of the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG) is to build a more sustainable, healthy, and equitable food system for the region. They organize, support, and mobilize a 12-state network of organizations and individuals to ensure the strategic impact of a collective voice as they take action toward common goals. Their work strengthens and coordinates the work of hundreds of other organizations by building synergy among them and aligning resources to achieve systemic change at all levels.

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