The commission will consist of 5 full members and up to 2 associate members who shall be town residents. A majority of members shall be farmers or employed in an agriculture- related field, or people with knowledge of agricultural practices. Each member shall serve for a term of 3 years; provided, however that the initial members appointed under this section shall serve for terms of 1, 2, or 3 years and the terms shall be arranged by the appointing authority so that the terms of approximately 1/3 of the commission’s members shall expire each year.
The commission shall appoint a chair and clerk.
The commission shall keep accurate records of its meetings and actions and shall file an annual report with the clerk of the municipality. The commission’s annual report shall be posted on the municipality’s public website and printed in the annual town report.
The commission will report on a regular basis to the Natural Resources Director or his/her assign, and to the Board of Selectmen and the Town Manager as needed. The Natural Resources Director or his/her assign will provide staff support as required.
The Agricultural Commission will:
- Promote and develop the agricultural resources of the municipality
- Educate the public on agricultural issues
- Advocate for farmers, farm businesses and farm interests
- Assist farmers in resolving municipal problems or conflicts related to farms
- Seek to coordinate agricultural-related activities with other governmental bodies or unofficial local groups or organizations that promote agriculture
- Prepare a comprehensive local agricultural plan which shall be, to the extent possible, consistent with existing town master plan and Open Space and Recreation Plan.
- The plan will show or identify
- Agricultural land areas and facilities
- Matters which may be shown on a tract index under Section 33 of Chapter 184
- Acquisitions of interest in land under this section
- Municipal lands that are held as open space
- Non-municipal land subject to legal requirements or restrictions to protect that land or use it for open space, conservation , recreation or agriculture
- Land that should be retained as a public necessity for agricultural use
- Any other information that the commission determines to be relevant to local agricultural land use.