Agriculture Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund awards more than $10 million for conservation easements on 4,377 acres.

by | Aug 18, 2022

Department conservation and land preservation efforts continue even as a recent study by the American Farmland Trust projects the state could lose over 1 million acres of farmland by 2040 if development continues at its current rate. More than $10 million was awarded for conservation easements on 4,377 acres.

Today’s Topic with Southern Farm Network’s Mike Davis

  • Farmland preservation has been a top priority of the department since my very first year in office.
  • I wish I could say protecting and preserving farmland was no longer an issue that needed to be addressed, but that just isn’t the case.If anything, it is an even bigger priority these days as North Carolina continues to attract new businesses and newcomers to the state.
  • I can’t say I blame them, because we have a beautiful state bookended by the mountains to the west and the coast and beaches to the east. There is a lot of timber and farmland in between.
  • The American Farmland Trust recently released a study that projected that North Carolina could lose over a million acres of farmland by 2040 if development continues at its current rate.
  • I believe this is certainly possible.
  • A few weeks back, CNBC ranked North Carolina as the top state in the country for business. That ranking is good for economic development, but often has implications for agricultural land.
  • CNBC pointed to the state’s landing of VinFast, a Vietnamese electric car manufacturer who is building a facility on 2,000 acres in Chatham County, and an Apple East Coast hub that was announced last year that will join other technology giants in the Research Triangle Park area, as examples of strong business development and growth.
  • Both companies are expected to employ thousands of people, who very likely will want to live, eat and be entertained near their jobs.
  • I can point to examples throughout the state where land is being converted from farm or timberland to development. Once this transition takes place, it is lost to agricultural production forever.
  • We continue to work closely with landowners who are interested in conservation to bring more acres under permanent conservation.
  • The latest announcement by our Agriculture Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund brought 4,377 acres of land under conservation easement. Over $10 million in easements were recently awarded from Cherokee County to Brunswick County.
  • If you know our state, you understand that literally is from one end to another.
  • Protecting farmland through conservation easements ensures we have adequate land resources in the future to continue to produce food, fiber and fuel for the population.
  • If we don’t pay attention to this today, future generations will be the ones to pay.