RALEIGH – County governments and nonprofit groups pursuing farmland preservation projects have until Dec. 16 to apply for funding assistance from the N.C. Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund. About $1.7 million is available through monies appropriated for the 2014-15 budget year by the General Assembly.
“We have 86 county voluntary agricultural districts across the state and 50 county-wide farmland protection programs. We want to encourage more preservation efforts through the trust fund,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.
The fund’s purpose is to support projects that encourage the preservation of qualifying agricultural, horticultural and forest lands to foster the growth, development and sustainability of family farms.
“Less than two percent of the world’s population currently farms, and our population continues to grow,” Troxler said. “It is imperative that we preserve farmland to meet the growing demand for food.
“North Carolina farms and forests are the bedrock foundation for our state’s $77 billion agribusiness industry.”
Grants can be awarded to secure agricultural conservation easements on lands used for agricultural production; to support public and private enterprise programs that promote profitable and sustainable agricultural, horticultural and forestland activities; and for the development of agricultural plans.
Applications and guidelines for the current funding cycle are available at www.ncadfp.org or by calling 919-707-3071. Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Dec. 16.