Voluntary Agricultural District Benefits

For Farmers:

  • Recognition and public education about agriculture. Members of the program will be provided a sign to post, identifying their farm as a members of a preservation district, indicating to any potential neighbors and passersby that their land is committed to the preservation of the agriculture way of life.
  • Increased protection from nuisance suits. Notice on the property signaling Agricultural District membership and a notice in the Harnett County computerized land record system making those within one (1) mile of an Agricultural District farm aware of the potential for noise, odor, dust, or slow moving farm vehicles associate with farming. 
  • Public hearing required for proposed condemnation. Public hearings are held by the Agricultural Advisory Board if a farm in an Agricultural District is considered for a public project that may result in the land being condemned.
  • Eligibility for funding. District members may be eligible for farmland preservation funds as local, state, and federal funds become available for further preservation projects. 
  • Official role in county government. The Agricultural Advisory Board acts as advisor to the governing board of the county or city on projects, programs, or issues affecting the agricultural economy or way of life within the county.

For the Public:

  • Preserving NC and Harnett County’s number one industry. NC agriculture is an over $68 billion business annually with greater than $236 million being generated by Harnett County farmers. The success of the VAD program will foster the growth, development, and sustainability of family farms as well as increase public awareness of agriculture in NC and Harnett County.
  • County wide economic benefit. An American Farmland Trust study showed that for every dollar in taxes received from working land, only 34 cents in services is paid by the government. However, services paid to residential development are an average of $1.15 per dollar of taxes received. Therefore, it is a net gain of revenue for the tax base and thus an economic benefit for the county to preserve working lands.
  • Quality of life. When farms are kept in agriculture, it maintains the quality of life that many Harnett County families enjoy each day. Field and woodlands are both a visual pleasure and contribute to the clean air and water. Rural working landscapes are an integral part of our heritage and must be preserved for future generations and to attract new families and industries to Harnett County.
  • Ability to buy locally grown products. Maintaining the agriculture industry in Harnett County allows consumers to purchase and consume products from local agricultural producers and have a sound knowledge of where and how their food is produced.