Protect Farmland and Private Property With the Voluntary Ag District Program

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What are VADs?

Man and child in field

A Voluntary Ag District designation on your land can help ensure that you can still pass your farmland to the next generation.

A Voluntary Ag District (VAD) is a parcel of land which the owner has agreed to use only as farmland for a period of 10 years. This program is completely voluntary and helps private property be secured against nuisance and other lawsuits. 

The purpose of the Voluntary Ag District (VAD) program is to encourage the voluntary protection of farmland in recognition of the importance of agriculture to the economic and social well-being of the county. Transylvania County adopted a VAD Ordinance in 1996 and updated it in 2018. To date, 29 Transylvania County farms are enrolled in the VAD program. The VAD program is administered by the Agricultural Advisory Board, which is appointed by the Transylvania Board of Commissioners to 3-year terms

What’s in it for me?

The preservation of Transylvania County’s farmland is very important. In addition to keeping our county economically viable, farmland helps preserve the rural heritage of this county. There are several additional benefits for landowners who sign up for the VAD program. These include:

  • VAD farms have increased protection from nuisance suits
  • Public hearings are required on proposed condemnation of VAD farms
  • VAD landowners are not required to connect to water and/or sewer systems
  • VAD landowners are not required to be assessed water and/or sewer charges until connected to those services

How do I qualify to be in a VAD?

To secure county certification as qualifying farmland in either a District or Enhanced District, a farm must:

  • Be real property that is engaged in agriculture as defined in N.C.G.S. § 106-581.1
  • Have, or be in the process of obtaining a NRCS soil conservation plan if the land is highly erodible as defined by NRCS, and the property is not in Present Use Tax Valuation Program.
  • Have a current NRCS Conservation plan on file prior to approval of an Enhanced Voluntary District designation
  • Be the subject of a Conservation Agreement, as defined in N.C.G.S. § 121-35, between the county and the owner of such land that prohibits non-farm use or development of such land for a period of at least ten years, except for the creation of not more than three lots that meet applicable county zoning and subdivision regulations.

Interested in Applying?

Entering into a VAD is completely voluntary and can be revoked with written notice at the owner’s will. The agreement entails that the owner keeps his/ her farmland in farm production for a period of 10 years.

An Enhanced VAD carries a NON-REVOCABLE 10-year agreement to keep a parcel as farmland. Additional benefits come from being in an Enhanced VAD.

More details can be found in the following application pages:

Click here for the Transylvania County Voluntary Ag District Application Form: VAD Application final

Click here for the Transylvania County ENHANCED Voluntary Ag District Application Form: Enhanced application final

Want more info?

Read the full VAD ordinance

Or contact us at:

N.C. Cooperative Extension, Transylvania County Center
98 E. Morgan Street Brevard, NC 28712

Trans. Co. Soil & Water Consv. District
106 E. Morgan Street, Ste. 138