This week the North Carolina Department of Agriculture And Consumer Services announced that the department is now taking applications for funding assistance from the state’s Farmland Preservation Trust Fund for preservation projects.
The deadline for applications is Monday, Dec. 19.
The program, which, of course, is meant to help keep at least some large swaths of North Carolina green, has been popular over the years in Guilford County. Many local farm owners and open space owners have been benefiting from the grants in return for a pledge to keep the land undeveloped for an agreed upon period of years.
Longtime NC Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler – a Guilford County resident beloved by many – said this week that this is a very important program, especially right now as farms frequently get bought up and repurposed.
“The latest study from the American Farmland Trust projects North Carolina losing more than a million acres of agricultural land over the next 20 years,” Troxler said. “These Farmland Preservation grants provide options for families and are critical in saving family farms across our state.”
The grants – which are available for agricultural conservation easements on land used for agricultural production – have the following official stated purpose: “To support public-private enterprise programs that promote profitable and sustainable agricultural, horticultural and forestland activities; and for the development of agricultural plans.”
Guilford County property owners interested in obtaining grants for their farms through conservation easements must do so by working through Guilford County government or through qualifying land trusts.
Grant applications and guidelines can be found at www.ncadfp.org/Cycle16.htm.
For more information, anyone interested can call the state’s Farmland Preservation Office at 919-707-3074.