Recognizing Wake County’s farmland preservation efforts with the Friend of Farmland Award.

by | Jun 14, 2024

Summary: Wake County has employed a number of innovative measures focused on farmland preservation that has resulted in almost 240 acres of farmland preserved. The county, the Wake County Ag Advisory Board and the Wake County Soil & Water Conservation District was recently recognized for these efforts with a Friend of Farmland Award.

 

  • We talk about farmland preservation a lot and your listeners know it is one of my top priorities as Agriculture Commissioner.
  • I wanted to share something one county is doing that is innovative and is making an impact – and it may be a county that surprises you – Wake County.
  • I recently presented the Wake County Board of Commissioners, the Wake County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Wake County Agriculture Advisory Board with the Friend of Farmland Award for their focus on farmland preservation plus an innovative funding idea that is being used to support county conservation efforts and fund a farmland preservation position that is housed in the Soil and Water Conservation District office.
  • Wake County, like many areas of the state, continues to see explosive growth. In fact, as our state’s largest county by population, home to our state’s capitol, a number of universities and a professional hockey team, Wake County is certainly more urban than rural.
  • Still, it may surprise people to know that Wake County has 664 farms on over 62,300 acres.
  • Of those, 432 farms would be considered small farms with sales of under $10,000.
  • But I am thankful that Wake County leaders recognize the benefits and value of farmland and have taken steps to preserve this natural resource while they can.
  • In terms of innovation, Wake County has allocated the rollbacks from Present-Use Value to fund its farmland preservation program, meaning it takes the taxes from when land is converted for development and uses it to preserve the remaining agricultural lands in the county.
  • Funding is a significant component of all farmland preservation efforts – and having partners that can bring additional resources to the table, helps expand what we can accomplish with our farmland preservation dollars.
  • One of the reasons I wanted to talk about what Wake County is doing, is that I would love to see every county implement a similar rollback program.
  • Through their efforts and funding, nearly 240 acres of farmland in Wake County has been preserved since 2022 and they are waiting to hear on funding partners for another 350 acres.
  • And, like our farmland preservation program, there are more Wake County farms interested with the prospect of another 300 acres.
  • I really cannot say enough about Wake County and the innovative ways county leaders have focused on farmland preservation.
  • It is great seeing the cooperation and collaboration between the county commissioners, the soil and water conservation district and the agricultural advisory board.
  • And it is great to see our state’s largest county understanding the importance of agriculture to its residents and taking steps to protect it.
  • As I said when I presented the awards, Wake County has a lot of grocery stores, but we can’t forget that our farms are the source of our food.