RD528 - Office of Farmland Preservation Annual Report – December 1, 2017

Executive Summary:

This report presents the primary accomplishments of the Office of Farmland Preservation (OFP) for the period of December 1, 2016 – November 30, 2017.

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 $500,000 in new state matching funds to six local PDR programs;

• Worked with local PDR programs to permanently preserve 1,540 acres of working farm and forest lands in four localities. OFP provided $704,708 of the $1.61 million in total purchase price and transaction costs paid for these easements;

• Delivered eight workshops/presentations to a wide variety of audiences. Topics included PDR programs, farmland preservation tools and techniques, conservation easements, 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, 36 active farm owners received 44 individual requests from nine active farm seekers interested in discussing various transition options;

• Allocated up to $25,000 to Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) to reimburse VCE for six workshops designed to help farm families and professional service providers transition farms and farming operations and to create a forestry land transition workbook entitled “Generation NEXT: Keeping Your Woodland Intact, In Forest and in Your Family’s Hands", which is intended as a companion to the “Planning the Future of Your Farm" workbook; and

• Continued collaboration with the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation on the management of the Certified Farm Seekers Program. During the reporting period, three farm seekers were certified and several programmatic adjustments were made.