We should pay certain farmers to keep farming

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Sunday’s Globe brings us a long editorial praising the Administration’s commitment to the acquisition of open space in the Commonwealth, including a paragraph-length paean to the Agricultural Preservation Restriction program.

This program seems innocuous enough — purchasing the development rights to key strategic parcels of farmland to preserve their agricultural usage. Even I can see some limited utility for this program, in concept, if it protected parcels in rapidly developing areas or that had important environmental qualities.

But doesn’t this preservation compete with things like housing or commercial development? (Aha, the countervailing incentives for these programs are elsewhere in the capital budget.)

Most tiresome for this observer is the location of many of the selected parcels, typically they are indistinguishable from their neighbors, except we get to subsidize these select farmers over the others.

Take a gander at this (unscientifically selected) recipient and its surroundings : The Chase Farm in Barre

Phew, thank goodness that essential parcel was preserved…..