Orange County NC Website
<br />ORANGE COUNTY <br />BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS <br /> <br />ACTION AGENDA ITEM ABSTRACT <br /> Meeting Date: June 16, 2020 <br /> Action Agenda <br /> Item No. 8-d <br /> <br />SUBJECT: Voluntary Agricultural District Designation – Multiple Farms <br /> <br />DEPARTMENT: Environment, Agriculture, Parks <br />and Recreation (DEAPR) – Soil <br />and Water Conservation <br /> <br /> <br /> <br />ATTACHMENT(S): <br />1) Overall Map, Applications and Maps <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br />INFORMATION CONTACT: <br />David Stancil, (919) 245-2510 <br />Gail M. Hughes, (919) 245-2753 <br />Peter Sandbeck, (919) 245-2517 <br /> <br /> <br /> <br />PURPOSE: To consider applications from two (2) landowners/farms to certify qualifying <br />farmland within the White Cross Voluntary Agricultural District; and enroll the lands in the <br />Orange County Farmland Preservation Program’s Voluntary Agricultural District program. <br /> <br />BACKGROUND: Orange County’s Voluntary Farmland Preservation Program was started in <br />1992. As of December 31, 2019, there are 121 farms; in both the Voluntary Agricultural District <br />(VAD) and the Enhanced Voluntary Agricultural District (EVAD) program; totaling 15,434* acres. <br /> <br />The County’s Voluntary Farmland Protection Ordinance (VFPO) outlines a procedure for the <br />Agricultural Preservation Board to review and approve applications for qualifying farmland, and <br />to make recommendations to the Board of Commissioners concerning the establishment and <br />modification of agricultural districts. Section VII of the VFPO contains the requirements for <br />inclusion in a voluntary agricultural district. To be certified as qualifying farmland, a farm must: <br /> <br />a) Be located in the unincorporated area of Orange County; <br />b) Be engaged in Agriculture as that word is defined in NCGS 106-581.1 <br />c) Be certified by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) of the United States Department of <br />Agriculture as being a farm on which at least two-thirds of the land is composed of soils that are best suited for <br />providing food, seed, fiber, forage, timber, forestry products, horticultural crops and oil seed crops; <br />d) Be managed in accordance with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and NC Soil and Water <br />Conservation Service defined erosion-control practices that are addressed to said highly-erodible land; and <br />have a current conservation farm plan and/or forestry management plan associated with the current usages <br />and owner; <br />e) Be the subject of a non-binding conservation agreement, as defined in N.C.G.S. §121-35, between the County <br />and the owner that prohibits non-farm use or development of such land for a period of at least ten years, except <br />for the creation of not more than three lots that meet applicable County zoning and subdivision regulations. <br /> <br />The Orange County Agricultural Preservation Board reviewed the findings of the staff <br />assessments for the attached applications for the Orange County Voluntary Agricultural District <br />1