The Massachusetts Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Preservation Restriction program will pay farmland owners the difference between the “fair market value” and the “agricultural value” of their farms. However, farmland owners must agree to a permanent deed restriction that ensures its agricultural viability.
The purpose of the funding is to carry on the legacy of Massachusetts farms and to help state farmers remain crucial members of rural communities by mitigating the rising land costs and maintaining the agricultural use of these farms. The 12 farms that are benefiting from the grant will be placing 472 acres into permanent land protection.
Several Western Massachusetts farms are recipients of this grant, including: Great Barrington’s North Plain Farm, $828,000; Hadley’s Hartsbrook Farm, $567,000; New Marlborough’s Mackenzie Farm, $531,000; Williamstown’s Fairfields Dairy Farm, $327,450; Hadley’s Handrich Farm, $234,000; Richmond’s Balderdash Cellars, $187,844; South Deerfield’s Fisk Farm, $117,000; Buckland’s The Atherton Farm, $108,000; and Hadley’s Gralinski Farm, $99,000.
“Our farmers play a critical role in being responsible stewards of the land. They work to preserve and protect the open and working landscape of hundreds of thousands of acres across Massachusetts, which in turn contributes to the overall health and well-being of everyone in the state. The APR Program incentivizes our farming community to maintain these farmlands in the face of growing challenges,” said Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll in a statement.