Today’s Topic: Farmland protection grants available; application deadline is Dec. 16

By on November 12, 2013

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

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County governments and nonprofit groups pursuing farmland preservation projects can apply for funding assistance from the N.C. Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund.

Grants can be used to help secure conservation easements on lands used for agricultural production and to support public and private enterprise programs that promote profitable activities in agriculture, horticulture and forestry. Another use for the grants is the creation of farmland protection plans and voluntary agricultural districts.

North Carolina has 86 county voluntary agricultural districts and 50 countywide farmland protection programs. The trust fund aims to encourage more preservation efforts across the state.

North Carolina’s farms and forests are the bedrock foundation for the state’s $77 billion agribusiness industry. But from 1970 to 2010, the state lost more than 6 million acres of farmland and 97,000 farms. So the trust fund has been working with counties and conservation groups to reverse that trend.

Applications and guidelines for the current funding cycle are available here or by calling 919-707-3071. The application deadline is 5 p.m. on Dec. 16.

Click on the audio player below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda discuss farmland preservation in North Carolina and why it will become more important as the economy recovers.

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Southern Farm Network is a division of Curtis Media Group.

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