- Report Published -
|Annual Report on the Office of Farmland Preservation|
|Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services|
|This report presents the primary accomplishments of the Office of Farmland Preservation (OFP) for the period December 1, 2004 through December 1, 2005. As indicated in reports for prior years, all direct funding for the OFP was eliminated in the budget reductions in FY 2003. While having no financial resources has significantly limited activities in the program, staff from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) Agribusiness Development Services Unit, where the program is currently assigned, have managed to achieve some of the objectives of the OFP in the context of performing their assigned economic development functions.|
Significant accomplishments for this reporting period are given as follows:
• Staff of the Agribusiness Development Services (ADS) Unit made several presentations to state and federal agencies, local governments and private advocacy groups concerning the need for farm business transition planning and farmland preservation, thereby, helping to meet the outreach/education function of the OFP. In addition, the ADS unit and staff sponsored and/or participated in several regional Farm Transition workshops and seminars, working with Virginia Tech and North Carolina state universities in obtaining a federal grant for the workshops.
• The Farm Transition Database, which was developed and is being maintained by the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, was launched in December 2003 and has grown to over 130 listings showing farmers entering and exiting agriculture. One match was made between an exiting farm owner and a beginning farmer.
• The Virginia Farmland Preservation Task Force finalized the State Element (Part2 - A Strategic Plan for the OFP) of the Model Purchase of Development Rights Program and released that model on November 28, 2005, thereby meeting another objective in developing a model state PDR program. Included in Part 2 is Appendix B, which discusses options for funding a state PDR program.
• ADS staff assisted the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry in the development of the report on the initial development of the Agricultural Enterprise
Development Zone program. This report is to be submitted to the Governor and the Chairs of the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources, House Finance, Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources and Senate Finance Committees by January 1, 2006.
This report begins with a summary of the mission and overview of the OFP and then provides additional details on the accomplishments for this reporting period in Outreach/Education, Virginia Farm Link and Virginia Farmland Preservation.