RD588 - Office of Farmland Preservation Annual Report – December 1, 2020

Executive Summary:

This report presents the primary accomplishments of the Office of Farmland Preservation (OFP) for the period of December 1, 2019 – November 30, 2020.

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 $350,000 in fiscal year (FY) 2020 state matching funds to six local PDR programs, of which $250,000 was new funding and $100,000 was reallocated funding from FY 2017 and earned interest;

• Worked with local PDR programs to permanently preserve 157 acres (three easements) of working farm and forest lands in three localities. OFP provided $311,348 of the $667,118 total purchase price and transaction costs paid for these easements;

• Continued to oversee the Virginia Farm Link database. During the previous fiscal year, 11 active farm owners received 19 individual requests from eight active farm seekers interested in discussing various transition options;

• Allocated $22,500 to Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) to reimburse VCE for (i) workshops it conducted to help farm families and professional service providers transition farms and farming operations; (ii) improvements to educational materials related to farm transition; and (iii) the publication costs of 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 and on continued improvements to the Virginia Farm Link website and database.