About the Committee
The Agricultural Study Implementation Committee (ASIC) was formed in 2011 to implement the recommendations of the Analysis of Ipswich Agriculture and Agricultural Land completed in 2010.
Analysis of Ipswich Agriculture & Agricultural Land
The Analysis of Ipswich Agriculture and Agricultural Land was led by the Agriculture Commission, the Open Space Committee, and the Office of Planning and Development. Walter Cudnohufsky Associates, Inc., (WCA), a landscape architecture and planning firm based in Conway, Mass., worked with the town on this analysis, which was funded by the town's Open Space, Recreation, and Water Supply Protection Fund.
Town planning studies over the past decade show a consistent priority to save working farms as an essential piece of Ipswich character, economy, and open space. Ipswich is interested in the protection of agricultural lands for their conservation value and in working with farmers on conservation objectives. The overwhelming town approval to contribute $2.2 million toward the purchase and preservation of the Maplecroft Farm, and the passage of the Right to Farm bylaw, both at the October 2009 Special Town Meeting, show the degree to which the participating citizens of Ipswich value agricultural lands.
Importance of Agriculture to Local Economy
The town undertook this analysis in recognition both of the importance of agriculture to the local economy and the goals of the Town, and of the growing threats to these endeavors. The goal of the effort was twofold:
To preserve lands that are valuable for agricultural use to the greatest extent possible
To identify the land and business needs of the agricultural community so that the town can target its land protection and assistance efforts to maximize the economic viability of agriculture in town.
Impediments and threats to agriculture at the local, regional, state and national levels will be analyzed, while the benefits of locally grown food and products for human, ecological, and economic health will be identified. Protecting farmland and keeping farmers working successfully is the goal of these programs and this report is a tool to help the town play a more effective role in achieving that goal.