Last updated: August 14. 2014 10:01AM - 278 Views
By Colleen Church NC Cooperative Extension

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The purpose of the Yadkin County Voluntary Agricultural District Program is to encourage the preservation and protection of farm and forestland from non-farm development. This is in recognition of the importance of agriculture to the economic and social well being and cultural life of the county.

Potential benefits to participating farms include increased protection from nuisance suits, waiver of water and sewer assessments when services are not used on the farm, public hearings required for proposed condemnation of land within a district, and public education. Countywide benefits include enhanced quality of life, ability to purchase local products, positive tax benefits, and preservation of Yadkin County and North Carolina’s number one industry.

For inclusion in a Yadkin County Voluntary Agricultural District, farmland shall be real property that is engaged in agriculture as defined in North Carolina General Statute 106-581.1. The property shall be managed in accordance with the Natural Resources Conservation Service defined erosion control practices that are addressed to highly erodible land. The District, when initially established, shall contain a minimum of 1.5 contiguous acres of qualified farmland.

The property is the subject of a conservation agreement, as defined in N.C.G.S. 121-35, between the county and the owner of such land that prohibits non-farm use or development of such land for a period of at least 10 years, except for the creation of not more than three lots that meet applicable county and municipal zoning and subdivision regulations. The property owner may voluntarily revoke this conservation agreement by submitting a written request to the Agricultural Advisory Board in accordance with Article VIII of the Yadkin County Voluntary Agricultural District Ordinance.

Applications are available from Yadkin County Cooperative Extension and Yadkin County Soil and Water, both located at 209 E. Elm St., Yadkinville. Applications are online at http://yadkin.ces.ncsu.edu/categories/agriculture-food/, or call Cooperative Extension at 679-2061. It is free to apply, and enrolled farms receive a free 18” x 12” sign to display on their farm recognizing them as a member of a Yadkin County Voluntary Agricultural District. For questions or more information, contact Colleen Church with Cooperative Extension at 679-2061.

The General Assembly of the State of North Carolina authorized counties to undertake a series of programs to encourage the preservation of farmland recognizing its importance to our state. Currently 86 counties in North Carolina have a Voluntary Agricultural District program. 8,951 acres of farm and forestland are currently enrolled in the Yadkin County program and a countywide farmland protection plan in under development. For more information on farmland preservation in North Carolina, visit http://ncadfp.org/.

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