The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, (MDAR) in cooperation with the Massachusetts Highway Department (MassHighway), has initiated a new program to assist in the development and enhancement of Massachusetts agriculture.
The Agricultural Directional Signage Program (Ag-signage) will allow for the placement of directional signage along state roadways for farms located off such roadways. The Ag-signage program will assist growers in the sale of their products by enhancing the public awareness of the location of their operation.
The Ag-signage program is conducted on a permit basis through MDAR. Rules and requirements of the program include:
- Directional signs are allowed only on non-limited access state roadways. (A non limited access state roadway is a conventional roadway - any street or highway other than a freeway or expressway, with curb cuts, driveways for business and residents enter the highway directly, are the only type of roads where signs will be allowed.)
- Only operations with a majority of on-site grown products are eligible for the Ag-Signage Program.
- Farmers must be engaged primarily and substantially in agriculture as a trade or business in order to qualify.
- Signs cannot be placed farther than five miles from the farm with only one sign allowed for each direction of travel. Signs must be located, if possible, at the intersection nearest to the state highway site.
- Farms must have regular hours of operation (five days and 35 hours) on either a seasonal or year-round basis.
- Signs are directional but may include the name of the farm. Commodity symbols indicating the type of commodity will be used on the signs.
- Ag-sign permit holders will be responsible for all fabrication costs of the signs. MassHighway will assess a fee of $250.00 per sign to cover the cost of installation and maintenance.
- Trailblazing signs for farms located more than one turn from the state roadway are the responsibility of the applicant and may be a condition prior to permit approval. The trailblazing signs shall be erected before the signs on the state highway are in place. The trailblazing signs shall be maintained and kept in good repair or the sign(s) on the state highway will be removed.
- Permits are subject to annual review by MDAR and MassHighway.
- Only farm stands located at the farm itself qualify for Ag-Signage.
- Public safety shall take priority over the placement of any sign authorized under this program. MassHighway reserves the right to adjust, relocate, remove, or take other similar action on any sign erected in the highway right-of-way under this program.
- Permit holders shall have the full responsibility to maintain the minimum standard requirements for the use of directional signs as established by MDAR. Any deviation from these requirements may result in the revocation of the permit.
- Only signs approved by MDAR are allowed to use symbols and the "Massachusetts grown... and fresher!" logo to be considered for installation. However, signs not approved by Agricultural Resources may still be eligible under MassHighway's Tourist Oriented Directional Sign program.
- If the applicant has an existing Tourist Oriented Directional (TOD) Sign at the requested location, the TOD Sign shall be removed when the Agricultural Sign is installed.
Approval by MDAR constitutes approval of the use of logos; it does not constitute approval for a specific location. The location will be determined by the MassHighway. Mass. Agricultural Resources will, upon approval of your Ag-signage, forward said approval to MassHighway who will install the sign with your input providing space is available. Before Agricultural Resources sends notice to MassHighway, you must have the sign maker forward a shop-drawing of a proposed sign for the District Highway Department's approval. No signs should be fabricated before approval is received from MassHighway.