An Act supporting the commonwealth’s farmers.
This bill would create a circuit rider position within the Department of Agricultural Resources to provide on-site guidance to businesses about state programs, regulations, and funding opportunities. Farmers can request farm visits by program staff in a non-enforcement capacity.
The bill would also create a Next Generation Farmers Fund to accept funds diverted from the Massachusetts Alternate and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund to be used for an agricultural workforce development grant program. Priority would be given to programs serving a high percentage of minority or low-income students or people with disabilities. Priority would also be given to training in agricultural practices to mitigate climate change.
It also would amend the agricultural use value assessment law to allow for non-contiguous land under the same ownership and used together for a unified operation within 10 miles of each other to qualify for property tax relief.