Funding Database: Agricultural and Farmland Preservation

Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund

The NC Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund (ADFP) provides funding for preservation of farming, forestry and horticulture industries in North Carolina. ADFP promotes sustainable farming through the purchase of agricultural conservation easements, conservation agreements and the funding of public and private enterprise programs that assist farmers in developing plans to maintain sustainable and profitable food production and marketing activities. 

The program is administered by the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NC DA&CS) Division of Farmland Preservation.

Eligible Applicants

Eligible applicants include county agencies and nonprofit conservation organizations. Farmers and other landowners must partner with an eligible applicant to apply.

Eligible Projects

Eligible projects include a conservation easement, agricultural development project or agricultural plan, including the creation of a Local Agricultural Growth Zone. Agricultural plan grants are limited to the development and adoption of a Voluntary Agricultural District, Enhanced Voluntary Agricultural District, countywide Farmland Protection Plan or Cost of Community Services Study. Agricultural development project grants are restricted to public or public-private enterprise programs. ADFP posts specific project eligibility requirements for the current grant cycle under the Notes for Applicants section of the program website.

Funding Amount

Funding varies depending on the type of activities included in the budget. There is no maximum cap on funding requested for conservation easement applications. The maximum grant for an agricultural development project is $500,000. The cap per Local Agricultural Growth Zone application is $2 million. The maximum grant request per Voluntary Agricultural District application is $8,500. The maximum grant request per Farmland Protection Plan or Cost of Community Services Study application is $17,000.

Match Requirements

Match requirements are based on the County Development Tier designations, the applying organization and the presence of an approved Farmland Protection Plan. Tier One enterprise counties with an approved plan are not required to acquire matching funds.

Application Schedule

The ADFP relies on funding from the NC General Assembly, so the program does not offer funding each year. Funding traditionally opens in the early fall and closes in early December. Sole-funded general appropriation grants expire on Sept. 30, approximately two years after the award date. General appropriation grants with US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Natural Resources Conservation Services partner funding expire after three years.

Application Process

ADFP publishes application materials and instructions on the Information for Applicants webpage with specific guidelines for the current application cycle.

Application Assistance

Contact Corey Hoilman for assistance with the application process and related questions. Field staff are available from seven North Carolina regions to answer questions and conduct in-person evaluations if eligible. ADFP staff host in-person workshops on conservation easements for applicants and interested landowners. ADFP posts important dates on the Information for Applicants webpage.

Funding Source

The NC DA&CS Division of Farmland Preservation provides this funding through appropriations from the NC General Assembly.

Key Info
Funder NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Program Link Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund
Opportunity Type Funding > Grant; Funding > Property Acquisition
Opens Early Fall
Closes 12/1/2024*
Award Varies
Match Required? Yes
This Page was Last Updated March 1, 2024
(*) - Estimated date; date will be updated when the next notice of funding opportunity is announced.
Program Contact
Corey Hoilman
Assistant Director
NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, ADFP Trust Fund Office
(919) 707-3069
Completed Project Example
In 2023, the Fund granted over $15 million to protect working farms and forests through agricultural land conservation easements covering 5,000 acres and agricultural plans and projects across the state.