The North Carolina Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund recently awarded nearly $2.3 million to help communities across the state protect farmland and develop agricultural enterprises. The trust fund awarded 23 grants to counties, nonprofits and universities.
Funding resources included statewide general appropriations, money from the state’s settlement with the Tennessee Valley Authority and, for the first time, funds from the military.
The trust fund collaborated with the military to support agriculture and agribusiness in areas of the state where military bases and training are located. TVA settlement funds were distributed to a 17-county region in Western North Carolina. And general appropriations supported projects across the state.
The 23 projects include conservation easements on farms and forests and helping counties develop farmland protection plans. The grants also support agricultural enterprise projects, such as studying the potential for value-added soybean processing in Eastern North Carolina.
From 1970 to 2010, North Carolina lost 6.6 million acres of farmland. In recent years, the state has been able to slow the rate of farmland loss considerably. But with North Carolina’s population continuing to grow, Commissioner Troxler says development pressure will continue to threaten farms and forests.
Click on the audio player below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda discuss these grants and why partnership between agriculture and the military is important.
Southern Farm Network is a division of Curtis Media Group.