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    Document Summary
    - Report Published -

    Report Document No. 379
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    Document Title
    Annual Report of Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Office of Farmland Preservation - December 1, 2010

    Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

    Enabling Authority

    Executive Summary
    This report presents the primary accomplishments of the Office of Farmland Preservation (OFP) for the period December 1, 2009 through December 1, 2010.

    Significant accomplishments for this reporting period include the following:

    • OFP continued to work with key agricultural, conservation and governmental partners to refine the allocation process for state matching funds to local purchase of development rights (PDR) programs;

    • To date, $5.15 million has been allocated to 16 local PDR programs;

    • OFP worked with local PDR programs to permanently preserve 4,047 acres of working farm and forest lands in 11 localities. OFP provided $4.34 million of the $11.51 million in purchase price and transaction costs paid for these easements;

    • OFP delivered ten presentations/workshops to a wide variety of audiences. Topics included OFP, PDR programs, farmland preservation tools/techniques, conservation easements, use value assessment, farmland loss data and the Virginia Farm Link Program.

    • OFP provided additional technical assistance to farmers, local and state governments, agricultural and conservation organizations, concerned citizens and others through the updating and significant revision of information on the OFP Web page, a new brochure, the OFP travel display, and by phone.

    • OFP continued to oversee the Virginia Farm Link database. Since May 2008, 87 active farm owners have received 103 individual requests from 308 active farm seekers interested in discussing various transition options with them.

    • OFP conducted a second survey of farm owners and farm seekers participating in the Virginia Farm Link database to determine the effectiveness of this database.

    • OFP has allocated $81,410 to Virginia Cooperative Extension since December 2008 designed to help farm families and their service providers transition farms and farming operations to the next generation.

    The amount of state funding for local PDR programs has continued to decline in FY 2011, and this trend also is evident at the local level. Given the increasingly difficult state and local budgets, however, OFP still expects to see some additional demand for technical assistance from localities interested in developing new PDR programs, as well as other types of farmland preservation programs such as transfer of development rights (TDR), agricultural and forestal districts, and use value assessment. VDACS is currently in the process of allocating the $100,000 available in FY 2011 state matching funds to local PDR programs. Eight localities with roughly $21 million available in local matching funds submitted their fiscal and program certification applications by the October 22, 2010 deadline.

    OFP also plans to expand its farm transition efforts in the future. In addition to continuing to provide workshop funding to Virginia Cooperative Extension and working with them on their farm transition workshop efforts, OFP plans to replicate its own farm transition workshop series in 2011. Finally, OFP expects to ramp up the marketing of the Virginia Farm Link database, and to increase both the number of farm owners in the database and the quality of the contacts between farm seekers and farm owners.