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State of North Carolina Agricultural Land Protection Ordinance – Counties

Urban | Suburban | Rural
Counties have all the same powers with regard to agricultural land protection as cities have (see above). Additionally, counties have further authority, not provided to cities, under the Farmland Preservation Enabling Act, located at Article 61 within Chapter 106. Under § 106-736, counties may establish by ordinance a farmland preservation program. Such a program must provide for the establishment of voluntary agricultural districts consisting of a minimum number of acres (to be determined by the board of commissioners) and the formation of such districts by means of an agreement with the landowners. § 106-738. The program must also create an agricultural advisory board that reviews proposed agricultural districts and ordinances. § 106-739. Under § 106-744, counties are authorized to purchase agricultural conservation easements over qualifying farmlands located within a voluntary agricultural district. § 106-744. Agricultural conservation easements are defined by § 106-744(b)1 as a “negative easement in gross restricting residential, commercial, and industrial development of the land for the purpose of maintaining its agricultural production capability.