SECTION 1. Chapter 6A of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 18Z the following section:-
Section 18AA. The Massachusetts emergency management agency shall consider and develop, in all emergency preparedness planning efforts, plans for supporting agricultural, seafood, and processed food production in the commonwealth in order to mitigate the impacts of food supply chain disruptions. Plans shall be developed in coordination with the department of agricultural resources, the department of public health, and the department of transitional assistance, and shall include consideration for production, transportation, storage, and distribution.
SECTION 2. Section 6C of chapter 20 of the General Laws is amended by inserting after subsection (g) the following subsection:-
(h) The council shall appoint a full time food system coordinator as an employee. The food system coordinator shall have access to all relevant agency meetings; serve in an advisory capacity to all relevant departments to inventory existing state programs which relate to the food system across all state agencies, including, but not limited to, agencies associated with the council; facilitate communication and resource collaboration across state agencies; develop and track metrics related to food system goals; identify opportunities to eliminate duplicative efforts and strengthen complementary programs and projects; identify gaps in services and supports and make recommendations; and provide input to help coordinate outreach to underserved communities. The food system coordinator shall submit a report 1 week prior to each council meeting with findings, progress updates, and recommendations to the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives, the council, relevant department secretaries, and relevant department commissioners.
SECTION 3. Chapter 20 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 6C the following section:-
Section 6D. There shall be established within the department a circuit rider program to provide on-site guidance to businesses in the commonwealth that are regulated by the department of agricultural resources about state programs, regulations, and funding opportunities. Subject to appropriation, the commissioner shall designate a program director. The director shall establish places at which and the methods whereby farmers may make requests for a farm visit by program staff at no cost. Program staff shall coordinate with state agencies as necessary to assist farmers with compliance. Farm visits under the circuit rider program shall be made in a non-enforcement capacity.
SECTION 4. The second sentence of subsection (a) of section 23 of chapter 20 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2020 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the words “agricultural purposes,” in line 14, the following words:- ; provided, that the committee or any independent appraisal to determine the fair market value of the land restricted for agricultural purposes shall include in its valuation the appraised value of any easements and infrastructure including dwellings, structures, plumbing and irrigation systems on the entire parcel in its fair market value consideration or any payment.
SECTION 5. Chapter 20 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 32 the following section:-
Section 33. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the secretary of energy and environmental affairs shall establish a program to acquire by purchase, gift, lease, eminent domain, or otherwise lands and waters and easements therein to protect and conserve land for the purpose of furthering the department’s mission, including, but not limited to, retaining land in agricultural or horticultural use as defined by section 1A of chapter 128 and providing affordable and equitable access to agricultural and horticultural lands.
The commissioner may, from funds appropriated to carry out this section or from funds received from other sources, compensate a landowner for the acquisition of real estate in such amount as is determined by the commissioner to be equitable in consideration of anticipated benefits from such acquisition in accordance with land acquisition regulations of the department. The commissioner may use departmental funds to create, replace, and maintain appropriate infrastructure and improvements that the department deems consistent with the goals of this section and the department’s mission.
The department may lease, license, or otherwise manage these lands as it sees fit in its sole discretion to best carry out this section and the department’s mission and goals.
Acquisition of land or water under this section shall not guarantee any public access unless otherwise agreed to by the department.
The department may promulgate rules and regulations relative to the rights, privileges and use of lands, waters, real estate interests and associated improvements acquired and maintained hereunder.
The department may dispose of such real estate as permitted under section 5A of chapter 3 or through the sale to a qualified farmer or beginning farmer in conjunction with permanent protection of the real estate interest such as through an agricultural preservation restriction to the commonwealth or other qualified conservation entity.
SECTION 6. Chapter 29 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 2QQQQQ the following section:-
Section 2RRRRR. (a) There shall be established and set up on the books of the commonwealth a separate fund to be known as the Next Generation Farmers Fund. The fund shall be administered by the secretary of energy and environmental affairs, in consultation with the secretary of labor and workforce development.
(b) The fund shall be credited with $3,000,000 annually from the Massachusetts Alternative and Clean Energy Investment Trust Fund, established by section 35FF of chapter 10, for an agricultural workforce development grant program. Said program shall award grants to the commonwealth’s higher education institutions, vocational technical schools, or community-based organizations that have existing programs for providing workforce development training to first time farmers or the capacity to create such programs. Priority consideration shall be given to programs that serve a high percentage of minority or low-income students or people with disabilities, as well as programs that include hands-on training and training in agricultural practices that mitigate climate change and protect the environment. Not less than $3,000,000 annually from this fund shall go to programs that provide training in agriculture as defined by section 1A of chapter 128, provided that not more than $1,000,000 shall be granted annually to programs providing training in the growing and harvesting of forest products upon forest land.
(c) A report detailing the expenditures of the fund shall be submitted annually on or before May 30 to the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate, the house and senate committees on ways and means, the committees on economic development and emerging technologies and the committee on environment, natural resources and agriculture.
SECTION 7. Chapter 61A of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out section 2 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 2. Land shall be considered to be in horticultural use when primarily and directly used in raising fruits, vegetables, berries, nuts and other foods for human consumption, feed for animals, tobacco, flower, sod, trees, nursery or greenhouse products, and ornamental plants and shrubs for the purpose of selling these products or a product derived from such plants in the regular course of business; or when primarily and directly used in raising forest products under a certified forest management plan, approved by and subject to procedures established by the state forester, designed to improve the quantity and quality of a continuous crop for the purpose of selling these products in the regular course of business; or when primarily and directly used in a related manner which is incidental to those uses and represents a customary and necessary use in raising these products and preparing them for market or the products derived therefrom for market.
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