RD442 - Office of Farmland Preservation Annual Report - December 1, 2015

Executive Summary:
This report presents the primary accomplishments of the Office of Farmland Preservation (OFP) for the period of December 1, 2014 - December 1, 2015.

Significant accomplishments for OFP during this reporting period include the following:

• Continued to work with key agriculture, conservation, and government partners to refine the allocation process for state matching funds to local purchase of development rights (PDR) programs;

• Allocated $1.02 million in new state matching funds to six local PDR programs;

• Worked with local PDR programs to permanently preserve 1,532 acres of working farm and forest lands in four localities. OFP provided $812,101 of the $1.62 million in total purchase price and transaction costs paid for these easements;

• Delivered seven workshops/presentations to a wide variety of audiences. Topics included PDR programs, farmland preservation tools and techniques, conservation easements, use value assessment, farmland loss data, the Virginia Farm Link program, and the Virginia Century Farm program;

• Continued to oversee the Virginia Farm Link database. During the reporting period, 53 active farm owners received 396 individual requests from 124 active farm seekers interested in discussing various transition options;

• Allocated up to $15,000 to Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) in December 2014 to reimburse VCE for two workshops designed to help farm families and their service providers transition farms and farming operations to the next generation; and

• Continued collaboration with Virginia Farm Bureau on the development of the Certified Farm Seekers Program. During the reporting period, four farm seekers were certified and another 44 farm seekers submitted applications for the program.