2006, Williamstown, MA residents identified preserving the town’s rural
character as a top priority by forming the Agricultural Commission and
enacting the Right to Farm Bylaw (Chapter 43, Williamstown Bylaws) at
their annual town meeting.
rural space comes by design and commitment, not by chance. Being a
Right-to-Farm community is not a unique designation; the right to farm
is already given to all citizens of Massachusetts through the state
constitution, Article 97. The Bylaw and Ag Commission strengthen it
through support, education, and advocacy.
local farm families grow and sell fruit and vegetables, flowers, annual
and perennial plants, corn, hay, and straw. They raise horses, pigs,
beef and dairy cattle, sheep, goats, alpacas, chickens. They produce
maple syrup, cheese, butter, lumber, firewood, and more.
work long hours of hard physical labor, educate themselves about best
practices and government regulations, and operate to take advantage of
weather, markets, and land use. Our agricultural businesses must remain
economically viable. According to the American Farmland Trust, there
are six reasons to save farmland:
The United States has been losing more than one acre of farmland every minute.
Along with water and air, farmland is critical to sustaining life.
Farming employs nearly 16 million people, more than 9% of the labor force.
Well managed farmland provides clean water, air, and wildlife habitat.
Farm and ranch land is open space, providing beautiful iconic vistas.
Farmland generates more in revenue than it costs in services, unlike highly developed lands.
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