Massachusetts Agricultural Preservation Restriction Program
Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
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, but applications submitted before the current deadline will be considered a priority for the next funding cycle.
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
The program accepts applications on a rolling basis. Projects are evaluated on a quarterly basis and are advance subject to available funding.
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
If you have any questions, please contact your APR Field Representative listed below:
Ron Hall – Hampshire County
Barbara Hopson – Berkshire and Hampden Counties
Michele Padula – Worcester and Franklin Counties
Ashley Davies - Eastern Mass.
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Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR)
Updated March 31, 2023
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