NC Dept. of Agriculture announces availability of Farmland Preservation grants

Land shown in Nash County. North State Journal

RALEIGH — North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler has announced applications for farmland preservation grants are now open. The application process closes on Dec. 18 at 5:00 p.m.  

“Investments in farmland preservation are more important than ever,” said Troxler. “In the face of population growth and development pressure, these grants are critical in preserving North Carolina’s agricultural economy and ensuring food security for future generations.” 

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The grants are funded through the N.C. Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund. 

Preserving family farms is one of Troxler’s top priorities. In March 2005, he delivered his “Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Strategy” to the General Assembly. During that legislative session, the General Assembly passed House Bill 607 establishing the Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund. 

County governments and conservation nonprofit groups can also apply for funding for a new option called Local Agricultural Growth Zones (AGZ) aimed at enhancing local investments in agricultural conservation easements through matching funds from the state.  

Local AGZs are areas of concentrated agricultural conservation easements. By protecting AGZ easements from development, a “buffer” can be created between urban and agricultural areas. Per Troxler’s grant announcement citing research by the American Farmland Trust, “large blocks of permanently protected land are one of the most effective sprawl management tools.” 

 When applying, AGZ applications must include a cash contribution for agricultural conservation easement purchase “equal to or greater than the ADFP Trust Fund grant request” for agricultural conservation easement purchase. Those who qualify can request up to $2 million per Local AGZ application. 

Per Troxler’s announcement, landowners interested in preserving their farms through conservation easements must work with county governments or land trusts to apply for grant funds.  

Grant applications as well as rules and information packets are available online at www.ncadfp.org/Cycle17.htm 

About A.P. Dillon 1342 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_