Virginia governor grants $350K to preserve local farmland


FILE – In this May 23, 2019, file photo, a farmer plants soybeans in a field in Springfield, Neb. China’s imports of soybeans surged in November following the announcement of an interim trade deal with the United States. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Farmlands in the Virginia Beach and Chesapeake areas will soon see money from the Virginia Farmland Preservation Fund.

On Wednesday, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced the grants totaling $350,000, intended to help six localities protect their farm and forest land. A portion of that will go to Chesapeake and Virginia Beach.

The grants will be used as matching funds to permanently preserve working lands through local “Purchase of Development Rights” (PDR) programs.

The program empowers farmland owners by providing incentives to those who want to protect their working lands by “voluntarily securing a perpetual conservation easement,” the governor’s office wrote in a release.

“As Virginia’s largest private industry, agriculture plays a vital role in maintaining our strong economy and outstanding quality of life.”

Ralph Northam | Governor of Virginia

Since the program’s inception in 2008, Virginia has provided matching funds for certified local PDR programs to 23 localities, allocating $12.8 million to protect more than 14,100 acres on 105 farms.

Anyone interested in protecting farms and forestlands by creating a PDR program for their localities should contact Jen Perkins with VDAC.

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