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Three Rivers Land Trust gets grant to conserve farms

Three Rivers Land Trust has received 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,” says 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.”

Receiving funding from the trust fund is only the first step in seeing the farms conserved. The state funding is for 25% of the value of the conservation easement on both farms. Three Rivers will apply for matching funds from the federal government in late winter or early spring for another 50% of the value of the conservation easement, and the landowners will donate 25% of the value.

Three Rivers has worked with these programs on more than a dozen projects protecting thousands of acres of farmland in the central Piedmont.

The number of farms in North Carolina continues to decline. As of 2018, there were 46,400 farms in the state, which is 5,600 fewer than 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,” says Crystal Cockman, director of conservation for Three Rivers. “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 to conserve property in the region, contact Cockman at 704-647-0302 or crystal@threeriverslandtrust.org

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