North Carolina Agricultural Development and Farmland ... Bill 607, establishing the North Carolina Agricultural

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  • 2006 Report to the General Assembly

    North Carolina Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund

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    Between 2003 and 2006, North Carolina lost 5,500 farms and 300,000 acres of farmland, which is equivalent to losing an entire county.* Th is has put a strain on our county budgets, our local and state economy, our natural resources, and threatens our agricultural heritage. We need to protect the foundation of North Carolina’s #1 agribusiness industry from shortsighted conversions to other uses. * (USDA-2006)

    North Carolina Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund

    Contents ADFP Advisory Committee ......................................................3 Background ................................................................................4 Why preserve Farmland? ..........................................................5 2006 Pilot Project .....................................................................6

    Johnston County Soil & Water Conservation District ................ 8 Polk County Farmland Preservation Board .................................. 9 Th e Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy .................. 10 Southwestern NC RC&D Council ................................................ 11

    Education and Outreach .........................................................12 Budget ......................................................................................14

    Photo credits: Front cover, Top & lower left: Lisa Brockmeier, NCDA&CS; lower center: Photos.com; lower right: Mark Daniels. Back cover: Mark Daniels Design: Lisa Brockmeier

    “You’ve got people moving in from New York, the northern states, and it looks like they are all coming to the Carolinas. Another twenty years where will our agricultural land be?”--Harold Wright, Bladen County Farmer, 2006 Small Farmer of the Year, From Fertile Ground, The Rural Center.

  • Chairman Steve Troxler,Commissioner of Agriculture Bruce Andrews, N.C. Department of Commerce Andrew Branan, N.C. Farm Transition Network Gerry Cohn, American Farmland Trust Jimmy Gentry, N.C. State Grange Billy Guillet, N.C. Rural Economic Development Center William Holbrook, Haywood County Farmer (Appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate)

    Jane Iseley, Alamance County Farmer (Appointed by the Speaker of the House)

    Dr. Ed Jones, N.C. Cooperative Extension Service, N.C. State University

    Paul Myer, N.C. Association of County Commissioners

    Edgar Miller, Conservation Trust for North Carolina Erica Peterson, N.C. Agribusiness Council Don Rawls, N.C. Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts

    Gilistine Richardson, Black Farmers & Agriculturalists Association

    Robert Slocum Jr., N.C. Forestry Association Jackie Th ompson, Wake County Farmer (Appointed by the Governor)

    Dr. Alton Th ompson, School of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences, N.C. A&T State University

    Manly Wilder, N.C. Division of Soil & Water Conservation Steve Woodson, N.C. Farm Bureau

    ADFP Advisory Committee For a discussion of how the Advisory Committee is selected, please see page 15

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    The original Farmland Preservation Trust Fund was established in 1986 by the General Assembly. Funding was not provided until 1998, when the legislature appropriated $250,000 for acquisition of agricultural conservation easements in North Carolina. Th e Conservation Trust for North Carolina was contracted at this time to administer the program.

    Background

    Funding

    Between 1998 and 2004 the Farmland Preservation Trust Fund was allocated a total of $2.65 million, preserved 33 farms on more than 4.7 thousand acres and leveraged private, county and federal funds worth $26 million. In September 2005, the General Assembly passed House Bill 607, establishing the North Carolina Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund (ADFP). Th is legislation established a 19-member Trust Fund Advisory Committee to advise the Commissioner of Agriculture on the prioritization and allocation of funds, the development of criteria for awarding funds, program planning, and other areas of growth and development relating to farming in North Carolina. Th is bill also broadened the mission of the trust fund to include three grant priorities: • conservation easements (permanent easements) • agricultural agreements (term easements) • sustainable or viable agriculture programs Th e ADFP Trust Fund received a $50,000 appropriation in 2005, of which $44,000 was designated by the ADFP Advisory Committee for pilot projects. Th e ADFP Trust Fund received no appropriations in 2006.

    1999- 2000

    1998- 1999

    2000- 2001

    2001- 2002

    2002- 2003

    2003- 2004

    2005- 2006

    2004- 2005

    $200,000

    $400,000

    $600,000

    $800,000

    $1,000,000

    $1,200,000

    $1,400,000

    $1,600,000

  • “We’ve got to worry about all the development occurring on our farmlands around the inner banks and eastern North Carolina and in the mountains. We need a policy so we can protect farmland from tax and ownership problems.--Johnny Wynne, Dean, NCSU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, From Fertile Ground, The Rural Center

    Why preserve Farmland?

    #1 Industry in North Carolina North Carolina agriculture is the foundation that supports the $68 billion agribusiness industry. Th e ADFP Trust Fund plans to sustain the agricultural economy by preserving the lands that produced these commodities for the economy. Th e success of the program will maintain farm family income, retain agriculture-related jobs and increase public awareness about the importance of farm families to North Carolina’s economy.

    North carolina accounts for:

    • 71.5% of all U.S. fl ue-cured tobacco production • 37.8% of all U.S. sweet potatoes production • 21.2% of all U.S. Christmas tree receipts • 14% of all U.S. turkeys

    In addition, North Carolina is 8th in US cash receipts in agriculture and produces 1.6 billion in ag exports.

    Seventeen percent of the N.C. labor force is in agriculture or agribusinesses.

    Countywide Economic Benefi t An American Farmland Trust survey found that for every dollar in taxes received from farm & forest lands, the national average of services paid by the government is only 34 cents. However, services paid to residential development average $1.15 per dollar of taxes received. Th erefore, it is a net gain of revenue for the tax base and thus an economic benefi t for any county to preserve working lands. Surveys in North Carolina have shown similar ratios (Mitch Renkow, Dept. of Ag & Resource Economics, NCSU, 1998 & 2001).

    Quality of Life Keeping farms and forests in productive agriculture maintains the quality of life of North Carolinians. Rural working landscapes are an integral part of our heritage that should be preserved for future generations. If we do not save our agricultural areas we will destroy the rustic landscape that attracts people and industry to North Carolina.

    Ability To Buy Locally Grown Products Maintaining the agriculture industry in North Carolina allows consumers to purchase and consume products from local agricultural producers. Recent concerns regarding produce from other parts of the country and the world highlight the value of using local farm products. North Carolina has many types of climates and soils, which allow farmers throughout the state to produce a wide range of commodities throughout the year.

    Environmental Services Farm and forest lands are critical for their ability to recharge ground water in our communities and provide wildlife habitat. Farm and forestlands also sequester signifi cant amounts of carbon helping to mitigate global warming. It has been recognized that the preservation of these types of lands will help in the sequestration of carbon, and reduce the consumption of fossil fuel associated with the transportation of goods. Th ese eff orts will help reduce the greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change.

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    2006 Pilot Project

    Grant recipients Award

    Alamance County Voluntary Farmland Preservation Program

    $9,250

    Johnston County Soil & Water Conservation District

    $5,100

    Polk County Farmland Preservation Board

    $8,400

    Th e Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy

    $11,500

    Southwestern NC RC&D Council

    $9,750

    A total of $44,000 in funding was available for the pilot project. Th e ADFP Trust Fund received 22 applications requesting a total of $575,900 for projects valuing more than $9.5 million. Th e Advisory Committee elected to fund 5 projects with a total project value of over $3.8 million. Th e pilot projects were geographically diverse and varied in scope.

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    “Without a doubt the single greatest challenge facing agriculture in North Carolina is our growth and the resulting interface between our rural and urban communities. What tools are we going to put in place to try to preserve not only agriculture, but farmland and open space?”--Larry Wooten, President NC Farm Bureau, From Fertile Ground, The Rural Center

    Alamance is located in the Piedmont, with Interstate 40 running through the middle of the county. I-40 provides easy access to markets but also attracts development. Currently, the top and bottom third of the county are composed predomina

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