RD525 - Office of Farmland Preservation Annual Report - December 1, 2016

Executive Summary:
This report presents the primary accomplishments of the Office of Farmland Preservation (OFP) for the period of December 1, 2015 – November 30, 2016.

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 $1.78 million in new state matching funds to six local PDR programs;

• Worked with local PDR programs to permanently preserve 1,731 acres of working farm and forest lands in six localities. OFP provided $2.64 million of the $5.47 million in total purchase price and transaction costs paid for these easements;

• Delivered 14 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 212 individual requests from 60 active farm seekers interested in discussing various transition options;

• Allocated up to $25,000 to Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) to reimburse VCE for four workshops designed to help farm families and their service providers transition farms and farming operations to the next generation and to update and reprint the “Planning for the Future of Your Farm” workbook; and

• Continued collaboration with the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation on the development of the Certified Farm Seekers Program. During the reporting period, five farm seekers were certified and another 30 farm seekers submitted applications for enrollment in the program.