North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. Photo courtesy of the North Carolina Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

From the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, shared Oct. 18:

RALEIGH — County governments and nonprofit groups pursuing farmland preservation projects can apply for funding assistance from the N.C. Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund, Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler announced.

Applications and guidelines for the 2012 funding cycle are available online at or by calling (919) 707-3071. Applications are due by 5 p.m., Dec. 15.

“The trust fund seeks to foster the growth, development and sustainability of family farms by supporting projects that encourage the preservation of qualifying agricultural, horticultural and forest lands,” Troxler said.

The trust fund has an appropriation of $1.7 million for each of the next two fiscal years.

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.

From the North Carolina Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund’s website:

Why preserve the farming, forestry, and horticulture industry in North Carolina?

  • Seventeen percent of the state’s workforce is enrolled in agriculture/agribusiness related jobs.
  • Agriculture/agribusiness comprises 20.3 percent of the state’s income and is the number one industry in the state at $70 billion.
  • The state’s forest products industry is the largest manufacturing industry in North Carolina.
  • Forest products industries paid annual wages of $3.6 billion.
  • North Carolina’s green industry contributes $8.6 billion to the state’s economy.
  • The green industry employs nearly 152,000 people across the state.
  • The state lost 1 million acres of forestland between 1990 and 2002, three quarters of this loss to urban development.
  • Since 2002, North Carolina has lost more than 6,000 farms and 600,000 acres of farmland. This puts North Carolina in the unenviable position of leading the nation in farm loss.

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Kathleen O'Nan is a contributing reporter to Carolina Public Press.

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