NC Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund Grants

North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services

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Grant amount: More than US $250,000

Anticipated deadline: Dec 13, 2020 2:00pm PST

Applicant type: Government Entity Nonprofit

Funding uses: Project / Program

Location of project: North Carolina

Location of residency: North Carolina

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To fund projects to encourage the preservation of qualifying agricultural, horticultural, and forestlands to foster the growth, development, and sustainability of family farms.


Although the 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture showed that the rate of farmland loss in North Carolina has slowed in the five years prior to the census, North Carolina is still losing farms and farmlands. North Carolina had 2,200 fewer farms in 2016 than in 2012, while losing 210,000  acres of farmland during the same period. 

Today, approximately 90 percent of all North Carolina lands are privately owned. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that our state’s population will expand from 9.5 million to more that 12 million by 2030, and this growth threatens our farm and forestland. Preserving farmland also protects our natural resources, wildlife habitat, and water resources.

Funding Purposes

  • To secure agricultural conservation easements on agricultural, horticultural, and forestlands for active production of food, fiber, and other agricultural products. Easements include the following options: 
    • Perpetual
    • 50 year term
    • 40 year term
    • 30 year term
    • 20 year term
    • 10 year term
  • To support public and private enterprise programs that will promote profitable and sustainable agricultural, horticultural, and forestlands through assistance to farmers in developing plans for: 
    • production of food, fiber, and value-added products
    • agritourism activities
    • marketing and sales of agricultural products produced on the farm
    • agriculturally-related business activities
    • other programs approved by the NC ADFP Trust Fund
  • To support the preservation of agriculture/military-designated uses through conservation easements and conservation agreements. 
    • Definition of a conservation agreement: A conservation agreement is a binding contract between a property owner and a qualified organization that accomplishes the same restriction with regard to the use of the land as a conservation easement through contractual terms. A memorandum of agreement is recorded in the public records as notice to the public that the agreement exists. The length of the conservation agreements can be for 50, 40, 30, 20, or 10 years.

See grant amount request guidelines here.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • All applicants must be non-profit conservation organizations or county agencies. (G.S.106-744)
    • Farmers, landowners, and others interested in applying must partner with a non-profit conservation organization or county agency to participate in an ADFP Trust Fund grant proposal.
  • Agricultural Development and Plan grants are limited to requests serving projects serving the constituents of a Voluntary Agricultural District (VAD) or Enhanced Voluntary Agricultural District (EVAD) or the establishment of a VAD, EVAD, or County Farmland Protection Plan.
  • Must have a Conservation plan if the farm has a highly erodible land (HEL) classification and a forestry plan if there is more than 20 acres of timber.
  • For military-designated conservation easement or agreement grant requests, there must be proof of military importance by the appropriate military service. Written confirmation from the associated armed service agency will be required.
  • Allowable Costs
    • Equipment (Exceeding $5,000)
    • Consultant and Specialized Services
    • Office Supplies
    • Printing and Binding
    • Promotional Materials (see exceptions listed in Non-allowable costs)
    • Site Development (Plans & Land Preparation)
    • Construction
    • Special Program Supplies (Less than $5,000)
    • Survey
    • Baseline Documentation Report
    • Environmental Assessment/Audit
    • Legal Fees
    • Closing Costs
    • Stewardship endowment (Funding is limited to 3% of the appraised easement value being purchased by the ADFP Trust Fund and must be equally matched. Donated easements are eligible for funds equal to 1.5% of the appraised easement value being donated.)
    • Workshops and Conferences
  • See match requirements here.


  • Preference will be given to projects protecting whole farm units rather than projects protecting partial acreage.
  •  Funding priority will be given to projects that involve the following affiliations: 
    • To counties to establish a Voluntary Agricultural Districts program or Farmland Protection Plan 
    • Counties with Farmland Protection Plans
    • Goodness Grows Farmers/ American Tree Farm/ Forest Stewardship
    • Program Members
    • Enhanced Voluntary Agricultural District Farmers
    • Voluntary Agricultural District Farmers
    • Groups and Individuals with Farm or Forest Transition Plans
    • Groups and Individuals with Conservation Plans
    • Groups and Individuals with Forest Management Plans
    • Limited Resource Farmers
    • Beginning Farmers
    • Century Farm Members
    • Projects with emphasis on job creation
    • Properties that are in agricultural use and are of military importance 


  • Non-allowable Costs:
    • Travel (for easements grants only)
    • Personnel/Administrative Services
    • Promotional Materials (unallowable costs include gifts, memorabilia, models, and souvenirs) 
    • Appraisal