The purpose of the APR Improvement Program (AIP) is to help sustain active commercial farming on land that has been protected through the Department’s Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program. AIP provides technical assistance and business planning to improve farm productivity and profitability with the goal of enhancing the significance of APR farm operations and their contribution to the state’s agricultural industry. The program provides assistance to enhance the long-term continued use of the agricultural resource, and may address economic viability, environmental sustainability, resource conservation, family succession planning, infrastructure improvements, or other issues.
In Phase I, the AIP offers participant farms technical and business planning assistance that is similar to services provided by the Department’s Farm Viability Enhancement Program (FVEP). However, the land protection component of FVEP is omitted, as APR farmland is already restricted to agricultural uses only. Participating farms that complete an AIP business plan and commit to implementing farm improvement strategies identified in the Plan that meet Program objectives may be eligible to receive grant funding in Phase II.
The application period for AIP for Fiscal Year 2015 is now closed, and applications are under review. Depending upon the availability of funding, The Department of Agricultural Resources expects to announce an open application period for the APR Improvement Program in April 2015. Request for Responses (RFR’s) and the policy information they contain do change from year to year. To view a copy of the last APR Improvement Program RFR with application - click here AGR-AIP-15-6. This application is not current, is posted for informational purposes only and will not be accepted if submitted.
AIP Fiscal Year 2014 Summary as of 6/30/14
In Fiscal Year 2014, 10 farms participating in AIP received technical assistance and 9 of these farms completed a business plan and received a grant award. An average of $5,295 per farm was provided in technical assistance and $500,000 in total grant funding, an average grant of $55,556 per farm. AIP grants are being spent on farm improvement projects which include: a hard cider processing facility, vegetable washing and packing facilities, a potato storage facility, an equipment repair shop, new and improved retail buildings, livestock housing, apple trees and trellis system, hay barn repairs, and fencing.
Results since 2009 First 5 Rounds of AIP:
- 53 farms have received grant awards totaling $3,525,000 (average $66,509 per farm)
- 7,087 total acres of APR land owned or leased by participating farmers
- $330,150 in technical assistance provided to 55 farms (average of $6,003 per farm).
- While not required, all participants to date have invested additional capital, an estimated $2.95 million total (approximately $67,000 average per farm).
- Participating farms from across the state include dairy farms, livestock operations, vegetable farms, orchards, cranberry farms, & a grain producer.
Grants and Funding Programs
- Agricultural Energy Grant Program (Ag-Energy)
- Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program (AEEP)
- Agricultural Food Safety Improvement Program (AFSIP)
- APR Improvement Program (AIP)
- Farm Energy Discount Program
- Farm Viability Enhancement Program (FVEP)
- Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program (MEFAP)
- Matching Enterprise Grants for Agriculture Program (MEGA)
- Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS) Retrofit Program
- Urban Agriculture Program