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North Dakota Ag News Headlines
Farmland Gains Protection Through State Preservation Program
North Dakota Ag Connection - 09/12/2023

A $400,000 conservation easement through the state’s Farmland Preservation Program, billed as "the largest single county dedication of funds for farmland protection in North Carolina and one of the largest in the country," will protect 112 acres in Wake County.

Wake County commissioners in late August unanimously approved $400,000 in funding for the conservation easement that will be held by the Triangle Land Conservancy to protect forest and farmland at the Oaky Grove Farm off Turnipseed Road.

The farm in eastern Wake County is owned by Carol and Talmage Brown, passed down through five generations from the original owner, Talmadge Brown’s great-, great-, great-grandfather Thomas Price who purchased an estimated 353 acres in 1798 for 400 pounds.

“We are losing precious farmland at an alarming rate in Wake County, so this agreement for the Oaky Grove property marks a significant victory for conservation efforts, assuring that this historic property remains farm and open space for perpetuity,” Wake County Commissioner Donald Mial said in a county government release.

The county’s $400,000 contribution and the dedication of a rollback tax “is the largest single county dedication of funds for farmland protection in North Carolina and one of the largest in the country,” according to county officials.

The easement, which provides potential federal income tax and estate tax benefits, comes as North Carolina Department of Agriculture officials are working to leverage the state’s Agriculture Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund to stem the projected loss of farmland to development in the coming decades. The Agriculture Department, which has preserved more than 30,000 acres through the program, is seeking $15 million in recurring funds in the next biennium budget to expand the trust fund.

Agriculture is North Carolina’s largest industry with an economic impact of $103 billion this year, according to N.C. State University economist Mike Walden. The figure represents the economic value of growing, processing and delivering food, natural fiber and forestry products based on U.S. Department of Agriculture data. The industry employs 1-in-5 North Carolinians.

“A recent report by the American Farmland Trust projects that North Carolina may lose up to 1.1 million acres of agricultural land by 2040, which places it second in the entire United States in potential agricultural land lost to development,” said Leigh Ann Hammerbacher in the county release. She's director of land protection at the Triangle Land Conservancy. “Wake County ranks 32nd in the nation for potential farmland loss over the next 20 years so unless we take steps to preserve and protect farmland, we will lose the land that supports food security, the environment and historic communities.”

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler has praised the effort in Wake County, noting a new model for preservation that funnels taxes from farm sales for development into funds for farmland preservation. In addition to Wake County, the USDA and state farmland preservation trust fund contributed funds toward the agreement.


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