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Press Releases

January 26, 2024
VDACS Awards a Total of $875,000 in Farmland Preservation Grants to Six Virginia Localities
Contact: Michael Wallace

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) announces awards totaling $875,000 from the Virginia Farmland Preservation Fund to six Virginia localities to support local Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) programs. The funding will bolster the localities’ efforts to permanently preserve working farm and forest land by compensating landowners who voluntarily place a conservation easement on their property. The recipients of this year’s matching grant funds are Clarke, Fauquier, Shenandoah, and Stafford counties and the cities of Chesapeake and Virginia Beach.

“Agriculture is Virginia’s largest industry and investing in farmland preservation is an investment in Virginia’s economic future,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr. “Our partnerships with local governments help to protect critical working lands while enhancing food security in the Commonwealth. In addition, preservation of open spaces helps to mitigate flooding and protect natural resources.”

“Agriculture and forestry are essential to the lives of Virginians as it produces the food, fiber, and fuel we use every day,” said Joseph Guthrie, VDACS Commissioner. “Keeping working landscapes intact is essential to maintaining Virginia’s agricultural legacy and productivity into the future.” Since the program’s inception in 2008, a total of $13.3 million in state matching funds have been used in partnership with 16 local PDR programs to permanently protect more than 14,950 acres on 115 farms.

Localities interested in doing more to protect their vital working farms and forestlands by creating a PDR program or implementing other best practices should contact Genette Harris, Coordinator, Office of Farmland Preservation, at genette.harris@vdacs.virginia.gov or 804.786.1906. Click here for more information about the Office of Farmland Preservation.

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