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Polk County Voluntary Farmland Preservation Program

On February 4, 2002 the Polk County Board of Commissioners adopted the Polk County Farmland Preservation Program Ordinance. Its purpose is to encourage the voluntary preservation and protection of farmland from non-farm development.

Farm owners enrolled and approved for this program will not be required to connect to water and/or sewer systems or be assessed water and sewer charges until that property is connected to such services. Members of the farmland preservation program have increased protection from nuisance suits and other negative impacts on participating farms.

To be eligible for the program the farmland must meet the criteria for the county’s agricultural present use value taxation program. The primary qualifications are, 1) individually owned agricultural land, consisting of at least 10 acres, that has produced an average annual income of $1000 over a three year period; OR 2) individually owned forest land consisting of 20 acres that are in actual production and not included in the farm unit. The forest land must be certified by the USDA/Natural Resources Conservation Service to be appropriate for inclusion in the program.

On April 17, 2006 the Polk County Board of Commissioners adopted a second county farmland preservation ordinance known as the Enhanced Farmland Preservation Program. Unlike the first program in which farmers and property owners can withdraw at any time, the Enhanced Program requires the landowners stay in the program for at least 10 years. Why choose the enhanced program over the traditional farmland preservation program? Farms in the Enhanced Program are eligible for more cost share funding and other potential benefits.

Maps identifying participating farms are posted in designated county offices. Overall it is believed that both preservation programs will increase pride in the agricultural community and help maintain the rural character of the county.

For More Information Contact:
Ethan Henderson, Extension Agent, Livestock for Polk, Henderson and Buncombe Counties
John Vining, County Extension Director for Polk County
Sandra Reid, Polk Soil & Water Conservation District

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