The purpose of the APR Improvement Program (AIP) is to help sustain active commercial farming on land that has already been protected through the Department’s Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program. AIP provides technical assistance and business analysis to help improve the productivity and profitability of participating farms with the goal of enhancing the significance of APR farm operations and their contribution to the state’s agricultural industry.
Eligible farms selected to the program must participate in a technical assistance and business analysis process to develop an APR Improvement Plan. Participants that agree to implement farm improvement strategies identified in the Plan that meet Program objectives may be eligible to receive a grant, subject to the availability of funding. Grant funds will be made on a reimbursement basis and must be spent by June 30, 2016 on farm infrastructure, as defined in the current Request for Response for the Program. Costs incurred prior to executing a contract with the Department cannot be reimbursed and will not qualify as Program expenditures.
The Department of Agricultural Resources expects to announce an open application period for the APR Improvement Program by early April 2016 and applications will be due by late June 2016. RFRs (Request for Responses) and the policy information they contain do change from year to year. If you would like to see a copy of the last APR Improvement Program application - click on RFR AIP 16-7 . This application is posted for informational purposes only and will not be accepted if submitted.
Completed applications must be received at the following MDAR Amherst address by 3:00pm on June 23, 2015 in order to be considered in the review process:
APR Improvement Program
Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR)
101 University Drive, Suite C4
Amherst, MA 01002
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