MA Public Banking for Farms, Food & the Climate

Expanding Opportunities for Local Growth and Sustainability

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Public Banks: Bringing Opportunities for Local Growth, Innovation and Sustainability

We don’t think of Massachusetts as being a farm state, but agriculture is an important part of the Commonwealth’s economy, its environment, and its culture. Massachusetts has more than 7,000 farms employing almost 30,000 people. Nearly 80% of the farms in the Commonwealth are either family or individually-owned. Massachusetts residents who shop at farmers markets or look for local produce in the supermarket appreciate the freshness and quality of what they buy, as well as the benefits to climate of eating local and in season.

Yet as much as we appreciate our farms, the high cost of real estate makes it difficult for entering farmers to find land, and puts pressure on retiring farmers or their heirs to sell for development. In order to keep farmland available to farmers, a variety of institutions, including local and agricultural land trusts, non-profit conservation organizations, and conservation commissions, work with land owners to proactively ensure that the Commonwealth’s agricultural heritage is preserved.

A public bank can be a source of financing for land purchases, either working with a municipality or a land trust. A public bank’s capacity to make participation loans with community banks or credit unions expands those institutions’ abilities to provide credit to farmers seeking to buy land or equipment, or expand operations.

If you are interested in learning more about the potential support a public bank can give to farmers, local food producers, or land preservation organizations, please contact us!

We don’t think of Massachusetts as being a farm state, but agriculture is an important part of the Commonwealth’s economy, its environment, and its culture. Massachusetts has more than 7,000 farms employing almost 30,000 people. Nearly 80% of the farms in the Commonwealth are either family or individually-owned. Massachusetts residents who shop at farmers markets or look for local produce in the supermarket appreciate the freshness and quality of what they buy, as well as the benefits to climate of eating local and in season.

Yet as much as we appreciate our farms, the high cost of real estate makes it difficult for entering farmers to find land, and puts pressure on retiring farmers or their heirs to sell for development. In order to keep farmland available to farmers, a variety of institutions, including local and agricultural land trusts, non-profit conservation organizations, and conservation commissions, work with land owners to proactively ensure that the Commonwealth’s agricultural heritage is preserved.

A public bank can be a source of financing for land purchases, either working with a municipality or a land trust. A public bank’s capacity to make participation loans with community banks or credit unions expands those institutions’ abilities to provide credit to farmers seeking to buy land or equipment, or expand operations.

If you are interested in learning more about the potential support a public bank can give to farmers, local food producers, or land preservation organizations, please contact us!

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