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  • PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
  • TITLE XIX AGRICULTURE AND CONSERVATION
  • CHAPTER 128 AGRICULTURE
  • Section 2 Powers and duties of department of agriculture

Section 2. The department through its proper divisions shall have power to—

(a) Execute and carry into effect the laws relative to dairy products, animal breeding, apple grading, plant pest control except the gypsy and brown tail moths and the tent caterpillars, apiary inspection, and the production, storage, marketing and distribution of agricultural products.

(b) Aid in the promotion and development of the agricultural resources of the commonwealth and the improvement of conditions of rural life, the settlement of farms and the distribution of the supply of farm labor.

(c) Establish a foreign trade section in the division of agricultural development and investigate the cost of production and marketing in all phases, and the sources of supply, of agricultural, aquacultural, floricultural or horticultural commodities, transportation, storage, marketing and distribution of said products sold, offered for sale, stored or held within the commonwealth.

(d) Collect and disseminate data and statistics as to the food, flowers and other horticultural products produced, marketed, stored or held within the commonwealth, with the quantities available from time to time and the location thereof.

(e) Investigate and aid improved methods of co-operative production, marketing and distribution of agricultural products within the commonwealth.

(f) Offer prizes for and conduct exhibits of flowers, fruits, vegetables, grasses, grains or other farm crops, dairy products, honey, horses, breeding ponies, cattle, sheep, swine, poultry, poultry products, rabbits, hares, dairy goats, farm operations, and canned and dried fruits and vegetables and offer prizes for, and in aid of, the elimination and suppression of insect pests. The department may also offer prizes for, and in aid of, such agriculturally related youth programs as the commissioner may deem approved. To properly display exhibits authorized in this paragraph, the department may expend such sums as may be appropriated therefor for the painting, renovation, remodeling and maintenance of the state agricultural and industrial building in the town of West Springfield and in the city of Brockton.

(g) Promote, develop and encourage through the Massachusetts Thoroughbred Breeding Program, the breeding of thoroughbred horses in the commonwealth by offering cash prizes to breeders of such horses in the following manner: the Massachusetts Thoroughbred Breeders Association, Inc. shall from time to time in consultation with the chairman of the racing commission and the program manager for the equine division in the department of agriculture set the percentages for bonuses to be awarded to the breeder of a Massachusetts bred thoroughbred horse, of the purse monies won by said thoroughbred horse in any pari-mutuel running horse race if said horse finishes first, second or third; the percentage for a cash prize to the owner of the stallion, at the time of service to the dam of such purse winner; provided, however, that (i) the stallion stood the breeding season of February through June in the commonwealth, (ii) the horse finishes first, second or third, and (iii) said stallion is registered with the department of food and agriculture; the percentage for a cash prize for the purse monies won by said thoroughbred horse in any unrestricted pari-mutuel running horse race to the owner of a Massachusetts bred horse if said horse finishes first, second, or third.

The Massachusetts Thoroughbred Breeders Association, Inc. is further authorized to pay cash purses for stakes races to be limited to Massachusetts bred thoroughbred race horses from the Massachusetts thoroughbred breeding program at licensed pari-mutuel race meetings authorized by the state racing commission. Such races may be betting or non-betting races and may or may not be scheduled races by the licensee conducting the racing meeting. Purse monies paid by the association under this section may be in such amounts as the association shall determine and may be the sole cash purse for such races or may be supplemental to the cash purses established by the licensee; provided, however, that no person, partnership, corporation or group of persons may receive more than five thousand dollars as a cash prize breeder’s award from the association for an individual horse race within the commonwealth. For the purposes of this section a horse race shall mean a thoroughbred race of any kind held within the commonwealth except at fairs.

No person shall be eligible for the prizes provided herein unless the following standards are met:

(1) The foal of a thoroughbred mare that drops said foal in the commonwealth and is bred back to the Massachusetts registered stallion shall be Massachusetts bred; or

(2) The foal of a thoroughbred mare who resides in the commonwealth from the fifteenth day of October of the year prior to foaling, and continues such residence until foaling and foals in the commonwealth shall be Massachusetts bred.

(3) In either the case of subparagraph (1) or (2) each thoroughbred foal dropped in the commonwealth shall be registered with the Jockey Club and the department of food and agriculture.

(4) Prior to the first day of September of each year, each person standing a thoroughbred stallion in the commonwealth at either private or public service shall file with the department of food and agriculture: (a) a list of all thoroughbred mares bred to such stallion in that year; and (b) a verified statement representing that said stallion stood the entire breeding season in the commonwealth.

The Massachusetts Thoroughbred Breeders Association, Inc. is hereby further authorized to expend up to eight percent of the amount received each fiscal year for said program for advertising, marketing, promotion, and administration of the thoroughbred breeding program in the commonwealth.

The state auditor shall annually audit the books of the Massachusetts Thoroughbred Breeders Association, Inc., to insure compliance with this section.

(h) Allot to fairs monies for the purchase, rental or installation of facilities to further aid in the display of exhibits and the health and comfort of the general public; provided, however, monies shall not be expended on any portion of the fair used for horse racing.

It may also publish annually a leaflet relative to trees and birds, which shall be approved by the commissioner of education, and may distribute the same to the superintendents and teachers of rural and suburban public schools prior to Arbor and Bird Day.

[There is no subsection (i).]

[Subsection (j) effective until July 31, 2014. See 2001, 139, Sec. 45 as amended by 2005, 176, Sec. 13; 2006, 54, Sec. 12; 2006, 449, Secs. 19 and 21; 2008, 290, Sec. 12; 2009, 167, Sec. 12; 2010, 203, Sec. 12; 2011, 77, Sec. 12 and 2011, 194, Sec. 84. For text effective July 31, 2014, see below.]

(j) Promote, develop and encourage, through the Massachusetts Standardbred Breeding Program, the breeding of standardbred horses in the commonwealth by offering cash prizes to breeders of such horses. The representative organization of standardbred breeders and owners approved by the state racing commission shall, from time to time in consultation with the chairman of the racing commission and the commissioner of the department of food and agriculture, set the percentages for purses to be awarded to the breeder of a Massachusetts standardbred horse.

The representative organization of standardbred breeders and owners approved by the state racing commission may pay cash purses and stallion awards for stakes races limited to Massachusetts bred standardbred race horses and qualified Massachusetts stallions from the Massachusetts standardbred breeding program at licensed pari-mutuel racing meetings authorized by the state racing commission. Such races may be betting or non-betting races and may or may not be scheduled races by the licensee conducting the racing meeting. All races for the standardbred breeding program shall be held at a licensed pari-mutuel facility. Purse monies and stallion awards paid by the representative organization of standardbred breeders and owners approved by the state racing commission may be paid in such amounts as the representative organization shall determine and may be either the sole cash purse for such races or may be supplemental to the cash purses established by the licensee of the pari-mutuel facility.

The standardbred horses eligible to participate in the purses provided herein shall be limited to those of racing ages 2 and 3 and shall have met the following requirements:

(1) the qualifying standardbred horses shall have been sired by a Massachusetts registered stallion on file with the department of food and agriculture; provided, however, that the stallion shall have stood the entire breeding season of February 1 to July 15, inclusive, in the commonwealth in the year any such eligible foal was conceived; or

(2) the foal of a standardbred mare that drops the foal in the commonwealth and is bred back to a Massachusetts registered stallion; or the foal of a standardbred mare that resides in the commonwealth from December 1 of the year prior to foaling and continues such residence until foaling and foals in the commonwealth;

(3) in either the case of subparagraph (1) or (2), each standardbred foal dropped in the commonwealth shall be registered with the United States Trotting Association and the department of food and agriculture.

Prior to October 1 of each year, each breeder standing a standardbred stallion in the commonwealth at either private or public service shall file with the department of food and agriculture a list of all standardbred mares bred to such stallion in that year and a verified statement representing that the stallion stood the entire breeding season in the commonwealth.

The representative organization may expend up to 8 per cent of the amount received each fiscal year for the program for advertising, marketing, promotion and administration of the standardbred breeding program in the commonwealth.

The state auditor shall annually audit the books of the qualified organization to ensure compliance with this section.

[Subsection (j) effective July 31, 2014. For text effective until July 31, 2014, see above.]

(j) Promote, develop and encourage through the Massachusetts Standardbred Breeding Program, the breeding of standardbred horses in the commonwealth by offering cash prizes to breeders of such horses in the following manner: a representative organization of standardbred breeders and owners approved by the state racing commission, shall, from time to time in consultation with the chairman of the racing commission and the program manager for the equine division of the department of food and agriculture, set the percentages for purses and stallion awards to be awarded to the breeder of a Massachusetts standardbred horse; provided, however, that a maximum of fifteen percent of such sums shall be awarded to the owner, or lessee of the stallion who owned or leased such stallion at the time the stallion sired a Massachusetts standardbred horse.

The standardbred horses and stallions eligible to participate in the purses and stallion awards provided herein shall be limited to those of racing ages two and three and which have been sired by a Massachusetts registered stallion on file with the department of food and agriculture; provided, however, that the stallion stood the entire breeding season of February first through July fifteenth in the commonwealth in the year any such eligible foal was conceived.

The representative organization of standardbred breeders and owners approved by the state racing commission is further authorized to pay cash purses and stallion awards for stakes races limited to Massachusetts bred standardbred race horses and qualified Massachusetts stallions from the Massachusetts standardbred breeding program at licensed pari-mutuel race meetings authorized by the state racing commission. Such races may be betting or non-betting races and may or may not be scheduled races by the licensee conducting the racing meeting. All races for the standardbred breeding program shall be held at a licensed pari-mutuel facility. Purse monies and stallion awards paid by the representative organization approved by the state racing commission may be paid in such amounts as the representative organization shall determine and may be either the sole cash purse and stallion award for such races or may be supplemental to the cash purses and stallion awards established by the licensee of the pari-mutuel facility.

Prior to the first day of October of each year, each breeder standing a standardbred stallion in the commonwealth at either private or public service shall file with the department of food and agriculture: (a) a list of all standardbred mares bred to such stallion in that year; and (b) a verified statement representing that said stallion stood the entire breeding season in the commonwealth.

The representative organization is hereby further authorized to expend up to eight percent of the amount received each fiscal year for said program for advertising, marketing, promotion and administration of the standardbred breeding program in the commonwealth.

The state auditor shall annually audit the books of the qualified organization to ensure compliance with this section.

(k) Maintain authority to regulate and enforce the registration and application of plant nutrients put on or in soil to improve the quality or quantity of plant growth, including, but not limited to, fertilizer, manure and micronutrients in the commonwealth.

The department shall promulgate regulations that specify when plant nutrients may be applied and locations in which plant nutrients shall not be applied. Subject to appropriation, the department may also develop regulations regarding the use of plant nutrients designed to mitigate significant risks to human health and the environment. The department may limit the scope of those regulations regionally as appropriate. The department shall work in conjunction with the University of Massachusetts Amherst Extension to ensure any regulations of the department relative to plant nutrients are consistent with the program’s published information, educational materials and other public outreach programs relative to nutrient management and fertilizer guidelines.

The department may establish fines for violations of regulations promulgated under this subsection which shall not exceed $250 for a first offense, $500 for a second offense and $1000 for a third or subsequent offense.

A person aggrieved by the assessment of a fine under this subsection may appeal that fine by filing a notice of appeal with the division of administrative law appeals within 10 days of the receipt of the notice of the fine. An appellant shall be granted a hearing before the division of administrative law appeals under chapter 30A. The hearing officer may affirm or, if the aggrieved person demonstrates by a preponderance of evidence that the fine was erroneously issued, vacate or modify the fine. A person aggrieved by a decision of the hearing officer may file an appeal in the superior court under said chapter 30A.