SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) - The Salisbury-based Three Rivers Land Trust has announced the recent awarding of two grants from the North Carolina Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund totaling $944,200 to conserve two farms in Davie and Iredell Counties. The Davie County farm is 600 acres and grows small grains. The Iredell County farm is 420 acres and is an organic dairy and organic beef cattle farm.
“Farmland preservation has always been a focus for Three Rivers Land Trust,” states Executive Director Travis Morehead. “We know the importance of agriculture both to our quality of life and the economy of our state. Three Rivers Land Trust looks forward to working with the farmers of these two properties to see them conserved in perpetuity.”
According to a press release from the Three Rivers Land Trust, being awarded funding from the state trust fund is only the first step in seeing these important farms conserved. The state funding is for 25% of the value of the conservation easement on both farms. The Land Trust will apply for matching funds from the federal government in late winter or early spring of 2019 for another 50% of the value of the conservation easement, and the landowners will donate a 25% component of the value.
The Land Trust’s role as liaison between the state and federal governments and the farmer to see these important farmlands conserved is critical to ensure farmland conservation occurs across our region. The Land Trust worked with these programs on over a dozen projects protecting thousands of acres of farmland in the central Piedmont. Without the work that Three Rivers Land Trust does, these farmland conservation projects simply would not be possible.
As important as farmland is to the state, North Carolina farm numbers continues to decline. As of 2018, there were 46,400 farms in North Carolina, which is 5,600 less than there were in 2012. “Providing farm families with income from sale of conservation easements allows them to continue their operations by purchasing new equipment and additional properties whereby they can expand farming activities and become more sustainable businesses,” states Director of Conservation, Crystal Cockman. “The loss of farmers and farmland is not only detrimental to the economy of our state, but without them we would also not have fresh, safe and local food for our families.”
To learn more about how to support Three Rivers Land Trust or how to conserve property in the region, contact Crystal Cockman at 704-647-0302 or firstname.lastname@example.org