- Report Published -
|Annual Report of Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Office of Farmland Preservation - December 1, 2008|
|Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services|
|This report presents the primary accomplishments of the Office of Farmland Preservation (OFP) for the period December 1, 2007 through December 1, 2008.|
Significant accomplishments for this reporting period include the following:
• OFP continued to work with key agricultural, conservation and governmental partners to develop and implement the FY 2008 process for administering $4.25 million in state matching funds for local Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) programs.
• Fourteen localities entered into Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs) with VDACS, with eight of these localities each receiving the maximum state match amount of $403, 219.75
• OFP worked with Albemarle County to preserve the first farm to use state matching funds to local PDR programs. The property, Clayton Family Farm, is a 228.5-acre working farm in Albemarle County near the town of Crozet. Albemarle County held a press event to recognize this achievement, which was attended by Governor Kaine, Secretary Bloxom and Commissioner Haymore.
• OFP delivered 21 presentations/workshops to a wide variety of audiences across Virginia. Topics included OFP, PDR programs, farmland preservation tools/techniques, the federal Farm and Ranchland Protection Program (FRPP), conservation easements, use value assessment, and farmland loss data.
• OFP provided additional technical assistance to farmers, local and state governments, agricultural and conservation organizations, concerned citizens and others through the updating of information on the OFP Web page, the OFP travel display, and by phone.
• OFP staff finalized the process of moving the Virginia Farm Link database from the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation to VDACS, and significantly improved the operation and effectiveness of the database.
• OFP staff hosted the 2008 International Farm Transition Network (IFTN) annual conference and meeting in Richmond July 27-30, 2008. Twenty-one participants from 14 states and Ontario, Canada, attended the annual meeting.
As for plans for next year, even though the amount of state funding for local PDR programs has declined in the 2008-2010 biennial budget, OFP still expects to see continued demand for matching funds, as well as technical assistance from localities interested in developing new PDR programs. VDACS is currently in the process of allocating the $500,000 available in state matching funds to local PDR programs for FY 2009. Eleven localities with more than $43 million available in non-state matching funds submitted their fiscal and program certification applications by the October 17, 2008 deadline.
In addition to existing local PDR programs, OFP expects to see continued interest from other localities that would like to explore developing new PDR programs. Currently, Bedford, Hanover, Madison, Rockingham, and Washington Counties are in the process of exploring the creation of new PDR ordinances. OFP is still working to meet the goal of having a total of 30 local PDR programs established by 2010.
OFP also plans to ramp up our involvement in farm transition efforts in the future. OFP is continuing to work with Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, the North Carolina Farm Transition Network (NCFTN) and other members of the International Farm Transition Network (IFTN) to develop a series of farm transition workshops targeted to Virginia farm families and their service providers throughout 2009.