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Update on Buncombe Farmland Preservation Program

From Soil & Water Conservation:
The farmland preservation program encourages the voluntary preservation and protection of farmland from non-farm development. This is in recognition of the importance of agriculture to the economic and social life of North Carolina. The Voluntary Ag District (VAD) and Enhanced Voluntary Ag District (EVAD) are two important voluntary programs that Buncombe County Farmland Preservation offers.

Voluntary Agricultural District (VAD)
Voluntary Agricultural Districts (VADs) recognize the importance of agriculture to the wellbeing of North Carolina by encouraging voluntary preservation and protection of farmland from non-farm development.

Enhanced Voluntary Ag District (EVAD)
A stricter development agreement. To be eligible, farmland, forestland and horticultural lands must meet the follow requirements: the Land is subject to a conservation agreement that prohibits non-farm use from development for 10 years. The agreement can be revoked by the landowner at any time with a short period of 30 day notice.

VAD Eligibility:

  • Land must be part of PUV tax program or be determined as agricultural use.
  • Land must be managed according to USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service guidelines with respect to highly erodible land.

VAD Benefits:

  • Increased protection from nuisance suits
  • Water and sewer assessments may be waiver/suspended.
  • Signage to publicize land’s enrollment in program

Enhanced Voluntary Agricultural District (EVAD)

The requirements to be a part of EVAD are the same as the VAD requirements, but the land is subject to conservation agreement that prohibits non-farm use for development for 10 years (this agreement cannot be revoked during the time of the agreement).

EVAD Eligibility:

  • EVAD has the same eligibility requirements as VAD.

EVAD Benefits:

  • Landowners are eligible to receive higher percentage of cost share under Ag-cost share program (as high as 90 percent)
  • Utility assessments may be suspended or waived if land is in EVAD.

If you are interested in joining some of these programs, please contact Ariel Zijp at 828-250-4794 or by email ariel.zijp@buncombecounty.org.