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APR Application Instructions

Application Gateway with Instructions

Thank you for considering an APR on your farmland. An application does not obligate you to complete an APR, nor does it guarantee that the Commonwealth will purchase an APR on your land. Please note that the basic thresholds for APR eligibility are 1.) you have at least 5 acres of agricultural land, and 2.) the land has been in active agricultural use for at least the past two years.

Instructions

APR Program staff are available to discuss applications year round. See staff listing at the bottom of this page.

If you are interested in applying to sell an APR on your farm land, please complete the following steps:

  • Make an appointment to visit your county USDA-NRCS office to review maps of your property and request a copy of an APR Soils Packet. It is important that the entire farm property is outlined as well as the land which will be included in the application, if different. Existing houses, commercial non-agricultural structures and areas that you know for certain will be used for personal/non-agricultural use in the future (ex. House lots for children) must be excluded from APR consideration. However, commercial agricultural structures may be included at the owner’s option. If you are uncertain about possible exclusions, please ask NRCS to map the entire farm and be prepared to discuss exclusion scenarios with your APR Field Representative during the site visit (further explained below).
  • Download and complete the APR Application - Word | PDF, sign (all owners of record) and mail it along with the NRCS APR Soils Packet to:
  • Ron Hall, APR Program
    Mass Department of Agricultural Resources
    251 Causeway Street, Suite 500
    Boston, MA 02114

  • NOTE: Due to the COVID-19, some registry of deeds offices are not open for the public. If landowners applying to the APR Program are unable to obtain a copy of their property deeds for all of the proposed APR parcels they may provide the information under "Section 4: Registry of Deeds Information" of the APR application on page 3. MDAR staff will download the deed documents online.

Once your application is received in the Boston office, you will be contacted by an APR Field Representative who will make an appointment to meet with you at the site to go over the details of the Program, ask you some questions about the land and your farming operation, and walk the property to get a look at the productive fields. In order to help expedite the process, if you have prepared any of the following items, or had one prepared by an outside agency for you, please make sure you have them available for review on the day of the field inspection. These documents may help to increase your application’s score during the evaluation, so it is important that the Field Representative have a chance to review them during the visit.

  • USDA-NRCS Conservation Plan
  • Forest Management Plan
  • Succession Plan for the property
  • Lease Agreements covering the land proposed for restriction
  • Fertilization/Reseeding Schedule

Due to limitations on the amount of non-productive land that can be included in the APR, it is often necessary to exclude portions of woodland, wetland or open land that does not contain productive agricultural soils. The issue of ineligible land will be discussed during your visit with the APR Field Representative, but you may want to discuss the possibility with family members prior to the visit. 

And finally, it is important to understand that the APR application process is lengthy and can change at any time due to funding situations. The program aims to complete projects approved for funding within a two-year window, but this timeframe may change based on project complexity and other factors. All offers are subject to the availability of future funding and overall evaluation. Once an application is chosen to advance to the appraisal stage, the Commonwealth's offer is accepted, and the project is chosen to be funded by the USDA-NRCS Agricultural Lands Easement (ALE) Program, there are still many steps remaining in the process prior to closing including a title search, posting of legal notices, completion of USDA Farm Service Agency eligibility documents, preparation of perimeter survey, etc.

If you have any questions, please contact your APR Field Representative listed below:

Ron Hall – Hampshire County
413-726-2002
ronald.hall@mass.gov

Barbara Hopson – Berkshire and Hampden Counties
413-726-2003
barbara.hopson@mass.gov

Michele Padula – Worcester and Franklin Counties
617-626-1758
michele.padula@mass.gov

Ashley Davies - Eastern Mass.
617-645-6772
Ashley.Davies@mass.gov

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