Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”
The Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund recently awarded more than $1.9 million to help communities across the state protect farmland and promote agricultural enterprises.
The trust fund was able to support 22 projects this year, assisting county governments and nonprofit groups. Half of the projects were funded through appropriations from the General Assembly. The other 11 projects were funded from the state’s legal settlement with the Tennessee Valley Authority.
The 22 projects span the state, from the mountains to the coast. They include purchasing conservation easements on farm and forest lands, helping counties develop farmland protection plans, and enterprise projects such as converting a former textile mill for use as a produce processing and distribution plant. Another interesting project is happening in the Sandhills. Lee County was awarded $7,500 to work with the Sandhills Farm to Table Cooperative on a pilot program to assist farmers who would like to market produce to institutions under-served by local foods. The pilot program will serve Lee, Moore and Richmond counties. All of these projects will help to solidify agriculture and agribusiness as North Carolina’s top industry.
The trust fund’s purpose is to support projects that encourage the preservation of agricultural, horticultural and forestlands. It’s all tied in to fostering the growth, development and long-term viability of family farms. Since its beginning in 2005, the trust fund has helped to protect almost 12,000 acres of working farms and forests. It also has supported the creation of Voluntary Agriculture Districts in 86 counties and farmland protection plans in 48 counties.
Click on the audio player below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda talk about farmland preservation.
[Audio:http://info.ncagr.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/Troxler_8-13.mp3|titles=Today’s Topic for Aug. 13]
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