NC Department of Agriculture holds workshops aimed at preserving farmlands
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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — The NC Department of Agriculture held the second of five statewide workshops aimed at preserving farmlands through the formation of voluntary agricultural districts.
The workshops are for agricultural advisory board members, county leaders and farmers.
"I'm the third-generation that has been the custodian of this farm and that just simply means I'm commited to preserving this farm for future generations,” said farmer Harold Alexander.
Alexander recently declared his farm in the Guilford County community of Julian a voluntary agricultural district. Through doing so, he pledged not to develop any of the land for at least 10 years.
He joined farmers, county representatives and agricultural advisory board members at the Elon University workshop.
"The purpose of all this is to make sure we secure the future of our $72 bilion agribusiness industry here in our state by protecting the resources and those land needs here in North Carolina,” said Dewitt Hardee, with the N.C. Department of Agriculture.
When they're recorded, voluntary agricultural districts can provide a first line of defense against nuisance lawsuits and be an important first step toward longterm preservation.
"That first step of wanting to maintain that agricultural operation, that business, that family and community sense of pride,” said Orange County soil conservationist Gail Hughes.
City leaders say the formation of districts also can help shape the land use decisions of government.