About AgComs: History
"Since Colonial times, Massachusetts
has held fast to its cherished legacy as an agricultural state. This
traditional image has paled in the minds of many, however, with
ever-increasing commercial and residential development. In recent years,
farmers feeling the pressures of this development, higher production
costs, and a shrinking portion of the consumer dollar have sold their
farms or instituted changes of their own to make the farm more
viable. The state’s strong economy and proximity to large
population centers exerts pressure to develop farmland for alternative
Agriculture once had a strong voice in
municipal government. Over time, agriculture’s voice in local
government and visibility in the community has diminished.
Recently, farmland preservation, agricultural
economic development, rural character and open space retention have
emerged as high priorities in communities throughout the
Farmers, municipal officials, and residents
have recognized that by organizing an Agricultural Commission a voice is
returned to farmers within government.
"Our AgCom started in 1988 and was reorganized in 1997. Over the
years we watched as support and assistance to farmers, from a variety of
sources, was lost. Having an AgCom in Dartmouth allows our farmers and
our town to take responsibility for ensuring that agriculture flourishes," said Susan Guiducci, member Dartmouth AgCom.
In the year 2001 there were six AgComs in the
Commonwealth, today there are over 140. AgComs are organizing and
working hard to:
- Represent the farming community
- Encourage the pursuit of agriculture
- Promote and support agriculture-based economic opportunities
- Preserve, revitalize, and sustain the communities’ agricultural businesses and lands.
* Agriculture’s Hold on the Commonwealth, University of Massachusetts Donahue Center, November 2000