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.
The Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program is a voluntary program which is intended to offer a non-development alternative to farmers and other owners of "prime" and "state important" agricultural land who are faced with a decision regarding future use and disposition of their farms. Towards this end, the program offers to pay farmland owners the difference between the "fair market value" and the "agricultural value" of their farmland in exchange for a permanent deed restriction which precludes any use of the property that will have a negative impact on its agricultural viability.
The MDAR Energy Program’s primary function is to promote energy knowledge and awareness and to facilitate the implementation of energy related projects for our agri-businesses through energy efficiency, energy conservation and renewable energy applications, as a means to reduce both energy costs and environmental pollution.
Furthering this effort, working in conjunction with USDA NRCS and Berkshire Pioneer Resource Conservation & Development, the Massachusetts Farm Energy Program (MFEP) was created. Now in its fourth year of operation, MFEP is intended to be the one-stop shop for Agri-businesses in Massachusetts, being a clearinghouse of information, technical assistance, incentives, rebates, grant programs, etc.
MDAR’s Agricultural Composting Program (330 CMR 25.00) encourages and supports composting on farms by providing technical assistance to compost operators as well as an Agricultural Composting Registration process that allows qualifying farms to register their operations with MDAR under an “Agricultural Waste Composting” exemption in MassDEP’s Site Assignment Regulations for Solid Waste Facilities (310 CMR 16.00). Under that exemption, any farm that wishes to compost organic materials other than those that are generated on their own farms, must register their operation with MDAR. To qualify for an Agricultural Composting Registration the following conditions must apply: