SECTION 1. Section 31 of Chapter 184 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out the third paragraph and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph:-
“An agricultural preservation restriction means a right, whether or not stated in the form of a restriction, easement, covenant or condition, in any deed, will or other instrument executed by or on behalf of the owner of the land appropriate to retaining land or water areas predominately in their agricultural farming or forest use, to forbid or limit any or all (a) construction or placing of buildings except for those used for agricultural purposes or for dwellings used for family living by the land owner, his immediate family or employees; and (b) excavation, dredging or removal of loam, peat, gravel, soil, rock or other mineral substance in such a manner as to adversely affect the land's overall future agricultural potential. Such agricultural preservation restrictions shall be subject to the provisions of section 31A and in perpetuity except as released under the provisions of section 32. All other customary rights and privileges of ownership shall be retained by the owner including the right to privacy and to carry out all regular farming practices.
SECTION 2. Said chapter 184, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after Section 31, the following section:-
Section 31A. Any agricultural preservation restriction, as defined in section 31, in any deed, will or other instrument executed by or on behalf of the owner of the land subject to a written agreement with the department of agricultural resources shall, unless specified in the agreement, prohibit the department from (i) exercising any right of refusal option; (ii) exercising any right to assign or assignment of option to purchase any land held in an agricultural preservation restriction at fair market agricultural value; or (iii) exercising any other similar right at the time of sale held by the department. The department may exercise a right of refusal option upon notice of sale of land from the owner of land subject to an agricultural preservation restriction where a right of first refusal option is expressly specified in a written agreement between the owner and the department; provided however, the owner of land subject to an agreement shall, where the department has exercised a right of first refusal option and prior to any sale, transfer, conveyance or assignment of ownership made by the department, have 30 days to exercise a right to accept or reject any bona fide offer received by the department from a prospective buyer.
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