Funds for farmland
April 17, 2009
By: Charlie Bolton
Letter to the News & Observer
March 13, 2009
Your March 1 editorial "Farmland, paved" laid out in stark terms the changes affecting North Carolina's agricultural land. A drive across the state illustrates those changes. So many developments are named after the farms that once thrived where subdivisions now grow.
North Carolina's agricultural lands are more than just tradition. They are also the cornerstone of a $70 billion a year industry -- the state's largest. That economic cornerstone will be lost if we continue to develop our farmlands.
There is a way to reverse this trend. The N.C. Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund purchases conservation easements on farmland, ensuring it will be available for farming in the future. It also supports agricultural development projects that will help sustain small family farms.
Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler is asking the legislature to put $15 million into that fund this year. That will be money well spent during tough economic times, real stimulus funding that will benefit all of us -- the farmers, the people who rely on those farms and all who benefit from the continued strength of North Carolina's economy.
Charlie Bolton, Pittsboro
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