RALEIGH — The Farmland Preservation Division of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) announced its “NC Forever Farms Program” on May 19.
The NC Forever Farms Program recognizes “family farms that have taken the ultimate step in protecting precious working lands that are vital to the future of agriculture in North Carolina.”
Via permanent agricultural conservation easements, NC Forever Farms are protected from development and conversion threats.
“A special thank you goes to the farmers, foresters, and landowners that have committed to keeping their land as a natural resource that will benefit future North Carolinians,” Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said in a statement.
An inaugural NC Friends of Farmland Aware was presented to Dewitt Hardee, per the press release from department. Hardee is a Johnston County native who served as the first Farmland Preservation Director for NC Agriculture from 2006 until his retirement in 2021, per a press statement from the agency.
The NC Friends of Farmland Award will be given annually to “an individual or group that delivers exemplary service in the preservation of working lands in North Carolina and provides extraordinary efforts to foster the growth, development, and sustainability of North Carolina family farms.”
During his time as the Farmland Preservation Director, Hardee coordinated the preservation of nearly 30,000 acres of farmland.
Landowners interested in preserving their working farm or forest can visit https://www.ncadfp.org or call 919-707-3071 for more information.