Wake County established the Enhanced Voluntary Agricultural District Program (EVAD) for farmland preservation to protect and preserve agricultural lands and activities. This program builds on the existing Voluntary Agricultural District (VAD) program, which is a voluntary program for landowners who wish to preserve the current status of their agricultural land.
The Enhanced Voluntary Agricultural Districts have been developed and mapped by the county to inform all purchasers of real property that certain agricultural activities may take place in these EVAD any time during the day or night.
Enhanced Voluntary Agricultural District Program Parameters:
- Consists of at least 5, 10 or 20 acres engaged in horticulture, agriculture, or forestry, respectively or 5, 10 or 20 contiguous acres of qualifying farmland owned by the identical deeded owner(s).
- Landowners must execute an agreement to sustain, encourage and promote agriculture in the EVAD with Wake County and have it recorded on the deed.
- Requires a 10-year irrevocable agreement.
- May renew for 3 years after initial period unless notice is given by landowner.
- May provide protection for landowners against utilities encroaching.
Land enrolled in the EVAD program is entitled to all of the benefits available under the VAD program, and to the following additional benefits:
- Sale of nonfarm products: Landowners participating in EVAD may receive up to 25 percent of gross sales from the sale of non-farm products and still qualify as a bonafide farm that is exempt from county zoning regulations under G.S. 153A-340(b) (link to ordinance). A farmer seeking to benefit from this subsection shall have the burden of establishing that the property's sale of nonfarm products did not exceed 25 percent of its gross sales.
- Agricultural cost share program: Landowners participating in EVAD are eligible under G.S. 143- 215.74(b) to receive the higher percentage of cost-share funds for the benefit of that farmland under the agriculture cost share program established pursuant to part 9 of Article 21 of chapter 143 of the General Statutes to benefit that farmland.
- Priority consideration: State departments, institutions, or agencies that award grants to farmers are encouraged to give priority consideration to landowners participating in EVAD.
By taking part in the program the owner of the land agrees to forbid or limit any or all of the following:
- Construction or placing of buildings, roads, signs, billboards or other advertising, utilities or other structures on or above the ground.
- Dumping or placing soil or other substance or material as landfill, or dumping or placing of trash, waste or unsightly or offensive materials.
- Removal or destruction of trees, shrubs or other vegetation.
- Excavation, dredging or removal of loam, peat, gravel, soil, rock, or other mineral substance in such manner as to affect the surface.
- Surface use except for agricultural, farming, forest or outdoor recreational purposes or purposes permitting the land or water area to remain predominantly in its natural condition.
- Activities detrimental to drainage, flood control, water conservation, erosion control or soil conservation.
- Other acts or uses detrimental to such retention of land or water areas.
How to Enroll Your Farm
A landowner, or landowners, may apply for certification of qualifying farmland for inclusion in either the Voluntary Agricultural District or the Enhanced Voluntary Agricultural District program. Such application must designate whether the application is for Voluntary Agricultural District status or Enhanced Voluntary Agricultural District status.