It is essential to keep the agricultural industry in Massachusetts thriving. The APR Program helps to preserve agricultural land to keep valuable farmland soil from being built on by development companies for non-agricultural purposes that could be detrimental to the environment. The program offers to pay farmland owners the difference between the "fair market value" and the "agricultural value" of their farms in exchange for a permanent deed restriction which prevents any use of the property that will negatively impact its future agricultural viability.
It is a voluntary program for farmers who are faced with a decision regarding the future use of their farms. The main objective of the APR program is to protect productive farmland with the deed restrictions and revitalize the agricultural industry by making land more affordable to farmers and their operations more financially secure. The program accepts applications on a rolling basis. Projects are evaluated on a quarterly basis and are advance subject to available funding.
Landowners with at least five acres of land with suitable soils in agricultural production for the last two years.
- Farm must be at least five (5) acres in size.
- Land has to have been actively devoted to agriculture for the two (2) immediately preceding tax years.
- Farm must produce at least $500 in gross sales per year for the first five acres plus $5 for each additional acre or 50 cents per each additional acre of woodland and/or wetland.
Other criteria considered:
- Suitability and productivity of land for agricultural use based on soil classification, physical features, and location
- The degree of threat to the continuation of agriculture on the land due to circumstances such as owner's health, retirement, financial positions, development pressure, or insecurity due to rental agreements
- The size or composition of the land that determines if it is economically viable for agricultural purposes, and the likelihood that it will remain in agriculture in the future
Policies and Guidelines
- APR Program Guide
- APR Regulations - 330 CMR 22.00
- APR Renewable Energy Policy
- APR Special Permit Policy
- APR Dwelling guidelines
- APR Local Matching Funds
- APR Over the Cap Policy
- Certificate of Approval Application
- APR Requests for a Certificate of Approval to Subdivide Land
- APR Change of Ownership: Sales, Transfers, OPAVs, ROFRs, Waivers
- Template for Farm Business Plan
- Hemp and Marijuana Production on APRs
Southeastern MA, Southern Worcester County,
Hampden County, Southern Berkshire
Hampshire and Berkshire Counties
Approval Requests/ Monitoring
Agricultural Lands Program Supervisor