NC Farmland Loss
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North Carolinians love the phrase – Murphy to Manteo – to describe their beloved state that spans the Coastal Plain, Piedmont, and Mountain physiographic regions and all the associated ecosystems. North Carolina is blessed with a broad range of agricultural growing environments and it grows major row crops like corn, wheat, and soybeans as well as hundreds of horticultural crops including vegetables, fruits, berries, and landscape plants on 5,947,713 acres in its 100 counties from Cherokee to Currituck!
But by 2040, that acreage will be reduced to 4,750,413, a loss of 1,197,300 acres, if estimates are correct in a recent report by American Farmland Trust (AFT), Farms Under Threat 2040: Choosing an Abundant Future. The report also shares information on the location and quality of agricultural land, the threats posed by development, and policies that can help protect farmland and ranchland. This first-of-its-kind assessment was created by American Farmland Trust and Conservation Science Partners to empower farmers, citizens, and policymakers to protect the agricultural land base. We invite you to explore the information presented here and then take action by advocating for farms and farmers in your county or region.
North Carolina estimates for farmland loss are ranked 2nd in the whole United States, just behind Texas. Loss is estimated to be close to 1.2 million acres under the ‘Business as Usual’ development scenario. The reports shares how that can be reduced by the ‘Better Built Cities’ development scenario.
North Carolina Future Scenarios of Farmland Loss
How to Get County Information
Get county date to share with your local community, elected officials, or for a school report by going to Farms Under Threat 2040 Web Mapping Tool and State Summaries. You will see a short pop up introduction to the website. Read it and then scroll down and click ‘close’. Then Zoom in on the map to the state of North Carolina and click in your county of interest. You will see your county specific data on the right. Scroll down to see the proportion and acreage of the county’s best ag land that will be converted under the ‘Business as Usual’ scenario.
For a deeper dive into the report and data, and to explore the maps, visit the Spatial Mapping, Policy Scorecard, or Call to Action sections of this site. See this guidance on how to navigate these pages.
The Agricultural Land Protection (ALP) Scorecard is a state-by-state analysis of policies and programs that address the loss of farmland to development. Intended to inform decision-making and legislative action, it assesses state actions, measures their performance, and highlights effective aspects of the following programs and policies:
- Purchase of agricultural conservation easement programs (PACE)
- Land use planning and growth management
- Property tax relief for agricultural land
- Agricultural district programs
- Farm Link programs
- State leasing programs
Agricultural Land Protection Scorecard Highlight Summary
Additional relevant statewide information includes the Local Farms & Food Profiles for each county in North Carolina, based on 2017 and 2012 USDA Ag Census data and developed by NC FarmLink along with the Local Food Program, and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems. County economic impact data for forestry is provided here and a state infographic is available at USDA