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Voluntary Agricultural Districts

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This page provides narratives, templates, and resources regarding Voluntary Agricultural Districts, the key North Carolina farmland preservation program that encourages owners to keep their land in farm or forest use.

Reading

The VAD/EVAD Conservation Agreement Requirement. This short narrative covers the form and elements, including revocability and recording, of the conservation agreement requirement for enrollment in a VAD program.

The VAD HandbookThis handbook is a draft working guide on Voluntary Agricultural Districts.

2018 Changes to North Carolina Voluntary Agricultural District Law.  This narrative concerns the North Carolina General Assembly’s important change to North Carolina’s voluntary agricultural district law concerning mandatory proximity warning of farms enrolled in PUV.

Conservation Agreements and Easements: Obligations, Modification and Termination. This draft publication explores the differences between binding and non-binding conservation agreements, as well as their termination and modification possibilities. Particular focus is given to those “10-year irrevocable conservation agreements” from Enhanced Voluntary Agricultural District ordinances.

Voluntary Agricultural Districts:  Approaching Mandatory Proximity Notice. This DRAFT narrative reflects the changes in the 2018 Farm Act requiring proximity notice [NOTE: this piece does not yet reflect the changes mandated by the 2021 Farm Act]

Letter to Voluntary Agricultural District AdministratorsThis memorandum concerns the recent Halifax County experience whereby the County Attorney opined that the Voluntary Agricultural District ordinance, as written, invalidated all agricultural districts in the county.

Templates

Model County VAD Ordinance (Long Form) (ANNOTATED). This template is the ‘long form’ ordinance that includes bylaws for VAD Board operation. This template is annotated to highlight changes to the VAD enabling statute from 2018 and 2021, with the purpose of helping counties review and modify their ordinances to bring to compliance and improved practice.

Voluntary Agricultural District (VAD) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) DRAFT Template. This template may be used for extending the application of a Voluntary Agricultural District (VAD) county ordinance to an incorporated municipal area of the county.

Memorandum to Voluntary Agricultural District Administrators. This memorandum narrative was issued to Extension and other administrators of VADs to alert regarding an issue with VAD approval by County Commissioners.

Model County VAD Ordinance (Short Form)This template with annotation is considered the most basic “bare bones” ordinance that meets state statute requirements. It does not address farmland preservation board governance unlike the longer version above).

(Sample) County Farmland Preservation Board Bylaws (Lee County). This sample document is an example of operating bylaws for governance of a county Farmland Preservation Board, or similar body, created to administer a county Voluntary Agricultural District ordinance).

(Sample) Conservation Agreement (VAD). This document is an example of conservation agreement for a non-EVAD enrollment. This document is recorded at Book 1809 Page 166 of Granville County Register of Deeds (this is a public document, drafted by the county attorney on behalf of the VAD program).

Recordable Conservation Agreement (EVAD). This draft agreement is formatted for recording.

Presentations

Farmland Preservation Policy and Method. This presentation is a general overview of farmland preservation policy and methods of conservation and protection in North Carolina. This presentation was delivered to an Ashe County public meeting hosted by N.C. Cooperative Extension in May 2021.

Resources

Agricultural Development and Preservation of Farmland. This is Voluntary Agricultural District enabling legislation.

Acknowledgements

Content loaded to Agricultural and Natural Resource Law portal, including narratives, workbooks and presentations, is supported by The North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission (TTFC) (Grant award 2019-001-16).