LandTrust awarded $438,000 to conserve farmland in Cabarrus and Randolph counties

LandTrust awarded $438,000 to conserve farmland in Cabarrus and Randolph counties
Source: LandTrust for Central North Carolina
Source: LandTrust for Central North Carolina

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - The Salisbury based LandTrust for Central North Carolina has announced the recent awarding of a $438,000 grant from the USDA's Agricultural Conservation Easement Program to conserve two farms, one in Cabarrus County that is 220 acres and one in Randolph County that is 80 acres.

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) provides financial and technical assistance to help conserve agricultural lands and wetlands and their related benefits.

Under the Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) component, NRCS helps Native American tribes, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations protect working agricultural lands and limit non-agricultural uses of the land.  NRCS provides financial assistance to eligible partners for purchasing Agricultural Land Easements that protect the agricultural use and conservation values of eligible land. In the case of working farms, the program helps farmers and ranchers keep their land in agriculture.

The program also protects grazing uses and related conservation values by conserving grassland, including rangeland, pastureland and shrub land. Under the Agricultural Land component, NRCS may contribute up to 50 percent of the fair market value of the agricultural land easement.

The North Carolina Agricultural and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund had already dedicated $219,000 towards these two projects, providing the necessary 25% cash match. The landowners are donating the final 25% component of the value of the conservation easement.

The farmland in Randolph County is a working beef cattle farm where they raise cows for breeding stock. This farm is located on the Uwharrie River, and provides an important riparian buffer to protect water quality. The farm in Cabarrus County is located on the Rocky River and produces small grain crops. The family of the Cabarrus County farm had already donated a conservation easement to The LandTrust on another property nearby in the recent past.

"Farmland preservation has always been a focus of The LandTrust since our organization's inception," states Executive Director, Travis Morehead. "We are excited to work with both of these farm families to conserve their unique properties. Both farms are abundant with prime farmland soils and have excellent productivity. With locations on the Uwharrie River and the Rocky River, these farms will provide a scenic viewshed for kayakers and canoeists, as well."

Julie Elmore, a Natural Resource Specialist with USDA-NRCS, will be working with The LandTrust to conserve these two farms. She states, "Agriculture is a key economic driver to North Carolina's gross domestic product (GDP). In order for Agriculture to thrive, it is important to protect the best soils from development pressures for the health and viability of the economy and future generations.

The farms selected for protection by NRCS and the LandTrust for Central NC are also an exceptionally scenic part of the Piedmont landscape. I look forward to working with the family heritage that is the Wilburn Williams Family farm and the innovative Angus operation run by the Wilburn Family. The people really make the work the most enjoyable part of what I do."

To learn more about these projects or The LandTrust for Central North Carolina, contact Crystal Cockman at 704-647-0302 or

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