The Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program is a voluntary program which is intended to offer a non-development alternative to farmers and other owners of "prime" and "state important" agricultural land who are faced with a decision regarding future use and disposition of their farms. Towards this end, the program offers to pay farmland owners the difference between the "fair market value" and the "agricultural value" of their farmland in exchange for a permanent deed restriction which precludes any use of the property that will have a negative impact on its agricultural viability.
Massachusetts’ APR program, began as an act of the Legislature in 1979, was the first in our nation and has since been a model upon which many other states have built their programs. The Massachusetts APR program has permanently protected over 800 farms and a total land area of over 68,000 acres. The primary purpose of the APR program is to preserve and protect agricultural land, including designated farmland soils, which are a finite natural resource, from being built upon for non-agricultural purposes or used for any activity detrimental to agriculture and to maintain APR land values at a level that can be supported by the land’s agricultural uses and potential.
Criteria to apply
• 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
• At least $500 in gross sales per year for first 5-acres; plus $5 for each additional acre or 50 cents per each additional acre of woodland and/or wetland
Other criteria staff weigh when considering potential APRs:
• Suitability and productivity of land for agricultural use based on soil classification, physical features, location
• The degree of threat to the continuation of agriculture on the land due to circumstances such as owner's health, retirement, financial difficulties, development pressure, or land rental agreements
• The degree to which the land is of a size or composition to be economically viable for agricultural purposes and the likelihood that it will remain in agriculture for the foreseeable future.
View or print the APR Program brochure here: http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/agr/landuse/apr/apr-brochure.pdf