Massachusetts

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Regionalist Approaches to Farm and Food Systems Policy: A Focus on the Northeast

This paper explores why agriculture and food system policy needs to pay more attention to regions. Regionalism, which urges a move from sector-based to place-based policymaking, has emerged as a powerful principle in public policy. Applied to agriculture and food policy, it acknowledges the regional diversity of the U.S. farm and food system and enables important differences between regions to be articulated and addressed more explicitly in the policy making
process.

Ecolabel Value Assessment: Consumer and Food Business Perceptions of Local Foods

An ecolabel is a seal or a logo indicating that a product has met a certain set of environmental and/or social standards or attributes. Ecolabels offer one avenue to educate consumers about locally grown, sustainably-raised foods.

The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture partnered in a pilot with the Iowa State University Business Analysis Laboratory to conduct consumer and food business market research related to ecolabels.

Community Benefits and Costs of Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easements

The National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provided funding for American Farmland Trust (AFT) to estimate the benefits that a farm could provide a local community in the future when its development rights are purchased. AFT analyzed the financial impacts to communities and individuals that result from protected farmland. Through the use of existing sources of data to generate this information, potential benefits are quantified in a way that taxpayers can understand and appreciate.

Community Choices:Thinking Through Land Conservation, Development, and Property Taxes in Massachusetts

This study investigates the relationship between permanent land conservation--achieved through public or nonprofit acquisition of either land or conservation easements--and property tax bills.

The study examines the short-term effect of land conservation by calculating the tax increase caused by removing $500,000 of property value from the tax rolls in seven sample towns.

The study then correlates the residential property tax rate in each Massachusetts town with various measures of development and ruralness to demonstrate the long-term effects of land conservation.

The Cost of Community Services in Middleborough, Massachusetts

The town of Middleborough, Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Department of Food and Agriculture (DFA) commissioned American Farmland Trust to conduct a Cost of Community Services (COCS) study to gain a better understanding of the financial impact of existing land uses in the Town of Middleborough. The study is a snapshot in time of current revenues and expenditures on a land use basis. It analyzes the financial demands of public services (e.g.

Does Farmland Protection Pay? The Cost of Community Services in Three Massachusetts Towns

One common claim made to Massachusetts towns is that residential development increases the local tax base, thereby lowering property taxes. Others are that resource conservation is too expensive at the local level, and that farmland does not make a significant contribution to the tax base, so it is best converted to its "highest and best use," which is generally assumed to be development.

Protecting Farmland Through Purchase of Development Rights: The Farmers' Perspective

For nearly a decade, Connecticut and Massachusetts have been engaged in programs to purchase development rights on agricultural land as a means of preserving agricultural productivity, maintaining open space, and offering an alternative to development. The sale of development rights on an agricultural parcel in essence "locks in" the land for agricultural use in perpetuity. The owner of the land obtains capital and the satisfaction of knowing that he or she has preserved farmland for future generations; the state guarantees that land currently in agricultural use will remain so.

Much Ado About Kelo: Eminent Domain and Farmland Protection

In the case of Kelo v. the City of New London, the Supreme Court ruled that the Connecticut city could acquire land by eminent domain to make way for a private commercial development project that implements the city’s economic development plan. Regardless of how this controversial decision is applied, the case has raised public awareness about, and legislators’ willingness to address, eminent domain. Against this backdrop, there is an opportunity for farmland protection advocates to curb condemnation that could result in, or spur, farmland conversion.

Mitigation of Farmland Loss

American Farmland Trust (AFT) conducted research to provide the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) with information about programs that practice mitigation of farmland loss across the country. This report contains a brief summary and evaluation of the Farmland Protection Policy Act (FPPA) and case studies that describe the approaches and results
of mitigation efforts in some state and local programs.

 

Farmland Transfer and Protection in New England

The purpose of this guide is to assist New England farmers with “the complex interpersonal, legal and financial considerations that can constrain or derail a farm transfer and jeopardize a farm’s future viability. The guide offers a variety of perspectives and strategies, includes worksheets to help users think through critical issues, and identifies sources of more technical information.”

Public and Farmer Support for Purchase of Development Rights in the Metropolitan Northeast

Purchase of development rights (PDR) programs enjoy public as well as farmer support. PDR refers to a land use control initiative that intends to limit the use of agricultural land to farm production by making it unavailable for development. Public support for PDR is explained by the efforts of non-farm residents to preserve the rural atmosphere of the area. Farmer support, on the other hand, is dictated by market forces, such that growth in the number of farms increases farmer support of PDR.

Investing in The Future of Agriculture: The Massachusetts Farmland Protection Program and the Permanence Syndrome

America is losing approximately 1 million acres of farmland every year. Between 1982 and 1992, every state lost some of its prime or unique farmland to urban development. As awareness of the threat to farmland grows, state and local governments are increasingly looking at Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easement programs as a solution. PACE programs protect farmland by compensating farmers for giving up the right to develop their land.

Farmland Protection: The Role of Public Preferences for Rural Amenities

Public amenities provided by a rural agricultural landscape, arising from open space and farm activity, are important to many citizens and policymakers. Widespread development of farmland in some parts of the country has spawned an expanding array of farmland protection programs by county, State and Federal governments, as well as by nonprofit organizations.

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