Agricultural land preservation, environmental conservation, energy efficiency and business planning are some of the keys to the future viability of agricultural enterprises. The Division of Agricultural Conservation and Technical Assistance (DACTA) promotes agricultural land preservation, environmental stewardship, technology, and technical assistance to meet the challenges of 21st century farming.
DACTA provides funding and delivers services to preserve working agricultural lands and improve agricultural stewardship and use of natural resources; promote energy efficiency and use of renewable energy; and ensure economic competitiveness and profitability. These programs are supported by the Division’s digital-based information management systems and interaction with local, state, and federal partners.
To foster the economic growth of the Commonwealth’s domestic and international agricultural markets, the Division of Agricultural Markets offers field expertise in the development and support of innovative market venues, business expansion, grant opportunities, consumer and industry outreach.
Through its award-winning MassGrown & Fresher initiative and the Commonwealth Quality Program, the Division seeks to cultivate new opportunities for consumers to gain greater access to local agricultural products while endorsing high quality standards for growers and producers.
The Agricultural Markets Division works with over 50 agricultural and commodity organizations, the state’s agricultural fairs, along with a broad-breadth of local, state, and federal level entities.
The health and safety of the Commonwealth’s domestic animals is the Division of Animal Health’s primary responsibility. Through inspections, licensing, awareness and education the Division helps to ensure the general welfare of companion and food-producing animals across the state.
When problematic situations develop, Animal Health staff work with the Department of Public Health, the Animal Rescue League of Boston, the MSPCA, local veterinarians, local health departments, municipal animal inspectors and animal control officers to respond. Mounting a rapid response ensures the fewest number of animals and animal owners are affected.
The Division of Crop and Pest Services is responsible for the regulation of the agricultural industry and pesticide application services in Massachusetts through the diligent inspection, examination, licensing, registration, quarantine, and enforcement of laws, regulations and orders.
Crop and Pest Inspectional Services ensures the quality of farm inputs, such as fertilizer, animal feed, and seeds and inspects consumer products such as plants, fruits and vegetables. The nursery inspection program prevents and minimizes the impacts of pests entering the state via imported produce and plants. The quality of farm products is monitored in conjunction with the USDA's grading program. Apiary (bee) inspections are conducted to prevent the introduction and establishment of honey bee pests and diseases.
The Pesticide Program protects public health and the environment by licensing individuals who apply pesticides, registering pesticide products used in the Commonwealth and enforcing both federal and state pesticide laws and regulations. The Pesticide Program also safeguards the public drinking water supply and provides guidance for the mixing, loading, storage and disposal of pesticides. The Pesticide Program also protects the public through the School Integrated Pest Management (IPM) requirements and through the control of mosquitoes by the State Reclamation and Mosquito Control Board.