The Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association. NOFA/Mass welcomes everyone who cares about food, where it comes from and how it’s grown

Growing Organically Since 1982

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CURRENT ACTION ALERTS

Support Regenerative Agriculture in Massachusetts! 

Healthy Soils Program Needs Co-Sponsors 

Organic farmers know that the health of their soils is the foundation of food security and sustainability. But our policies and farm economies do not currently incentivize farmers to make their soil health a top priority. 

It’s time to change that.

NOFA/Mass, in partnership with other allies, has recently submitted a bill that would help build a regenerative farming economy in Massachusetts.

That bill, An Act to promote healthy soils (HD3966, sponsored by Representative Schmid) is now officially filed. Next step: to get as many legislators to co-sponsor the bill by May 18th as possible.

That’s where you come in.

Please take a moment to contact your state senator and representative.

Here's what you could say:

"Hi, my name is ______. I'm a constituent of the rep/senator. Please consider cosponsoring HD3966, An Act to Promote Healthy Soils" Restoring the health of our agricultural soils has multiple benefits:

  • Degraded soils make farmers more vulnerable to drought and floods
  • Healthy soils are less prone to nutrients leaching into our watersheds
  • Agricultural soil management is a major contributor to climate change; this program would provide guidance on proven ways to mitigate or even reverse carbon loss from soils

Tell them why this matters to you! Are you a farmer? Concerned about climate change?

Want to learn more about the bill. Read a fact sheet about why this bill matters.


 

Upcoming Hearing at the Massachusetts State House 

May 16th, 2017  |  10am - 1pm 

Room A-1

Are you an urban farmer? Do you donate some of your food to a pantry? Do you have multiple fields that are non-contiguous? These issues and others will be discussed at a hearing on May 16th. 

Your testimony can make an impact on whether these bills become law. Please consider attending the hearing or sending in a letter with your comments, especially if any of these bills will affect you personally.

Here are some of the bills that will be discussed (full list can be found here):

H.1465 An Act relative to non-contiguous farm land (James Arciero) 

Allows for non-contiguous parcels to be eligible for 61a tax status if the parcels add up to at least 5 acres and are within 10 miles or in the same town.

 

H.2618 An Act maintaining land in agriculture (Stephen Kulik)
Would create an exemption from estate tax for agricultural land that is valued up to $5 million (of the development value)

 

H.3321 An Act relative to farm training in Massachusetts (Bradford R. Hill) 

Farmers shall be allowed a credit equal to $500 per month for each qualified intern the taxpayer engages in an internship for pay of at least 20 hours per week.  Qualified intern "shall mean a student enrolled in an agricultural school or agricultural program in a school in the commonwealth, who as part of a course of study, interns for pay"

  

H.3338 An Act to promote urban agriculture and horticulture (Elizabeth A. Malia)

Would allow cities with 50,000 or more people to create a tax break for urban farmers and horticulturalists by reducing the real estate assessment value. 

H.3348 An Act to provide a tax deduction for charitable donations of food by farmers (Paul A. Schmid, III)

Creates a tax deduction of 25% of market value for any food donated by a farmer to food pantry or other food bank.

 

H.3349 An Act to promote water conservation (Paul A. Schmid, III) 

Creates a twenty-five percent personal income tax credit for the purchase and installation of plants and landscaping items (like water barrels) intended to reduce water usage

 

H.3350 An Act relative to expanding agricultural land (Paul A. Schmid, III) 

Changes 61a tax code to allow for non-contiguous land, which is defined as " within a ½ mile of any boundary of other land under the same ownership and it is utilized together with such other land for a unified agricultural economic purpose"

 

Written comments should be submitted to the co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Revenue as well as your state senator and representative: 

Chairman Michael Brady- Michael.Brady@masenate.gov 

Chairman Jay Kaufman- Jay.Kaufman@mahouse.gov

  

For more information please contact Dan Bensonoff, NOFA/Mass Policy Director, at dan@nofamass.org

 


 

Tell Us Your Policy Priorities

Our Policy team is here to represent you, the farmers, gardeners, and organic advocates of Massachusetts. If there is an issue that you want our policy team to investigate or advocate for, please let us know by filling out this form.

 

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