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 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, which may include 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. 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.
APR Improvement Program Applications Available
The Department of Agricultural Resources expects to announce an open application period for the APR Improvement Program by early April 2015 and applications will be due by late June 2015. 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 Request for Response AGR-AIP-15-6 . This application is posted for informational purposes only and will not be accepted if submitted.
AIP Fiscal Year 2013 Summary as of 6/30/13
In Fiscal Year 2013, 11 farms received technical assistance and completed a business plan through participation in Round 4 of the APR Improvement Program. These farms received an average of $5,797 per farm in technical assistance and a total of $775,000 in grant awards, an average of $70,455 per farm. Improvement projects include new hay storage barns, barn repairs, a farmstand renovation, greenhouses, vegetable washing/packing facilities with refrigeration, a commercial kitchen expansion, an energy-efficient grain dryer, livestock housing, a cattle feeding/loafing area, a goat dairy processing facility, high-density apple trees, and a fruit winery.
Program Results since AIP began in 2009:
- 44 farms have participated and received grant awards
- $3,025,000 total spent on grants to participating farmers
- 6,742 acres of APR land owned or leased by participating farmers
- $277,198 in technical assistance (average of $6,300 per farm).
- Participating farms located across the state include dairy farms, livestock operations, vegetable farms, orchards, cranberry farms, & 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)