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Wake County wants to save its farmland. A new program makes conservation more viable for landowners.

File photo of soybeans beginning to sprout.
Madeline Gray

Wake County is now accepting applications for a new program aimed at preserving farms.

The Farmland Preservation Program aims to conserve Wake County’s nearly 700 farms and help combat North Carolina’s ranking as the second-highest state in the nation for farmland loss.

In the last nine years, Wake County lost nearly 20% of its farm and forest land. Officials say if the county continues at its current growth rate, all unprotected land will be developed in the next 25 to 50 years.

“No other county in the state has our combination of both booming urban development and vibrant rural agricultural land, but we must work to preserve this precious balance that makes Wake County truly unique,” said Vickie Adamson, Wake County Commissioner in a press release.

The new program will offer two additional conservation options for landowners to preserve the current status of their agricultural land.

The Enhanced Voluntary Agricultural District (EVAD) program is a voluntary program in which landowners make a 10-year agreement to keep agricultural production on their land. In exchange, landowners "can receive up to 25% of gross sales from the sale of non-farm products, yet still qualify as a farm under state statute," according to the county.

The second option is an Agricultural conservation easement which comes with tax benefits that may include federal income tax reduction and estate tax deduction.

Naomi P. Brown joined WUNC in January 2017.
Laura Pellicer is a digital reporter with WUNC’s small but intrepid digital news team.
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