The purpose of the Voluntary Agricultural District (VAD) Program is to promote agricultural values and the general welfare of Wake County by increasing the identity of, and pride in, the agricultural community and its way of life. The program also encourages the economic and financial health of agriculture, horticulture, and forestry through protection from non-farm development and other negative impacts on properly managed farms.
Benefits of enrolling in the VAD
- Give farm owners a greater voice in local government decisions affecting their community.
- Reduce conflicts between farm and non-farm land users. All purchasers of land near agricultural districts should expect dust, machinery noise, animal waste, chemical odors, and other similar conditions associated with living in a farming area.
- Increase visibility of farm communities in the county.
Details about the VAD
This is a voluntary program. No farm will be required to participate. The term of the agreement is ten years; however, a landowner may revoke this agreement at any time by notifying the agricultural advisory board in writing.
Does my land qualify as a VAD?
Eligible tracts of lands for the VAD program must have a minimum of 20 acres of qualified forestry, 10 acres of agriculture, or 5 acres of horticulture per the December 2016 ordinance update. To view the full text of the Wake County ordinance, please see the Voluntary Agricultural District Ordinance (December 2016).
The guidelines for this program are covered by State law (N.C.G.S. 106-735 through 106-744, Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Enabling Act). Since these statutes were enacted, 90 county programs have been created across North Carolina.
What is the Agricultural Advisory Board?
The Agricultural Advisory Board consists of volunteers from landowners in the Wake County Voluntary Agricultural District (VAD) Program. Additional members may be appointed to the Board in an ex officio capacity from the Soil and Water Conservation District Board, Wake County Cooperative Extension, the U.S. Farm Service Agency, nonprofit agricultural organizations, conservation organizations, agribusiness, horticultural businesses, forestry businesses, or the public at large as deemed necessary by the Wake County Board of Commissioners or Wake Soil and Water Conservation District.
The Advisory Board will consider applications from landowners to form agricultural districts; conduct hearings on public projects (roads, schools, etc.) that might have a negative effect on agriculture in a district; and advise the county on other issues affecting local agriculture.
Complete and Submit the Application
If you are interested in participating in the Voluntary Agricultural District Program, fill out the VAD Application online or obtain a copy from our office. The application can be submitted by email ([email protected]) or return a hard copy to our office. Give us a call if you have any questions.
Once your application is submitted, the application will be reviewed for eligibility by staff. If a farm visit is needed, staff will contact you to request access.
After the eligibility review is completed by staff, the application will then be presented to the Agricultural Advisory Board, who will approve or deny the request.
If your application is approved by the Agricultural Advisory Board, you will be notified via letter to sign a Conservation Agreement and Notice of Participation
After the Conservation Agreement and Notice of Participation documents are signed by the landowner(s), the new Agricultural District will be identified on Wake County iMAPS and the Notice of Participation will be recorded through Wake County Geographic Information Services.
The participating landowner will be notified on how to pick up their free Voluntary Agricultural District sign to be displayed on their property.