About the Trust Fund
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 17% of the state's income and is the number one industry in the state at $77 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. In the last 10 years, North Carolina has lost 4,600 farms. In addition, farmlands have decreased by 6.5%, a total loss of 600,000 acres. This puts North Carolina in the unenviable position of leading the nation in farm loss.
Preserving working family farms is one of Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler's top priorities. In March 2005, he delivered his "Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Strategy" to the General Assembly. During that legislative session, the General Assembly passed House Bill 607 establishing the Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund.
The purpose of the fund is to support the farming, forestry, and horticulture communities within the agriculture industry by:
- Supporting the purchase of agricultural conservation easements (on farm, forest, and horticulture lands), including transaction costs.
- Funding Public and private enterprise programs that will promote profitable and sustainable family farms through assistance to farmers in developing and implementing plans for the production of food, fiber, and value-added products, agritourism activities, marketing and sales of agricultural products produced on the farm, and other agriculturally related business activities.
- Funding conservation agreements (on farm, forest, and horticulture lands) targeted at the active production of food, fiber and other agricultural products.
The legislation also established a Trust Fund Advisory Committee to advise Commissioner Troxler on the prioritization and allocation of funds, the development of criteria for awarding funds, program planning, and other areas for the growth and development of family farms in North Carolina.
In the fall of 2006, the trust fund awarded its first grants to support projects aimed at agricultural development and farmland preservation.
Do you have questions about farmland preservation and agricultural development? Contact us.
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