In 2005, the North Carolina General Assembly authorized a new Enhanced Voluntary Agricultural Districts (EVAD) option that counties and cities can add to their local Farmland Preservation ordinances (N.C. GEN. STAT. § 106-743(2006)).This EVAD option created a new category that would offer landowners an additional tier of benefits, if they were willing to waive their right to withdraw from the VAD program at any time. Those landowners who wished to retain their right for immediate withdrawal could continue under current guidelines.
For those landowners willing to waive that right and enroll in the EVAD category, counties could offer an increased set of benefits:
1. Enrolled farms can receive up to 25 percent of revenue from the sale of other non-farm products, while still retaining their bona fide farming exemption from county zoning.
2. Enrolled farms would have lower cost-share requirements for NC Agricultural Conservation Cost Share funds.3. Counties and cities may hold all utility assessments in abeyance for any enrolled farms that choose not to connect to the utility lines.
4. State and local agencies are encouraged to tie additional future benefits and funding priority to participants in the EVAD, given their commitment to maintain their farms.
5. Municipalities are explicitly authorized to adopt their own VAD ordinances, including the EVAD option.
6. Cities are authorized to amend their zoning ordinances to provide greater flexibility and stability to farming operations. This can be particularly important to farms that are newly included within expanded extraterritorial jurisdiction lines.
This document serves as a sample conservation easement and recording agreement used by Polk County, North Carolina's Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easement program.