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NC State Extension

NC Farmland at Risk

North Carolinians love the phrase – Murphy to Manteo – to describe their beloved state that spans 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!

A recent report by American Farmland Trust, Farms Under Threat: The State of the States, shares actionable information on the location and quality of agricultural land, the threats posed by development, and state-level 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 state.

North Carolina Agricultural Land Conversion Highlight Summary

Agricultural Land Protection Scorecard Highlight Summary

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:

  1. Purchase of agricultural conservation easement programs (PACE)
  2. Land use planning and growth management
  3. Property tax relief for agricultural land
  4. Agricultural district programs
  5. Farm Link programs
  6. State leasing programs

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.