This report assesses the status of North Carolina's Voluntary Agricultural Districts (VAD) Program as of June 2004. Authorized in the state Farmland Preservation Enabling Act of 1985, the VAD program allows counties to adopt farmland preservation ordinances to establish local VADs. Local VADs are areas where commercial agriculture is encouraged and protected. They provide a series of benefits to farmers willing to restrict non-agricultural development for ten years. County commissioners appoint advisory boards to administer the districts. VADs can provide county officials with feedback on the impact of public policy on the loss of farmland.
This report, following statewide VAD workshops in 2003, is intended to strengthen the communication and cooperation between local programs as they seek local and statewide support in slowing the loss of productive agricultural land. It highlights several county programs and identifies innovative activities these boards are pursuing.