Applications Now Open for Chatham County Agricultural Preservation & Development Trust Fund Grants

Posted On October 16, 2023— Written By
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Chatham County North CarolinaPITTSBORO, NC—Applications for the Chatham County Agricultural Preservation & Development (CAPD) Trust Fund are now open and will close at 5 p.m. on Monday, December 4th. Application materials are available on the county website.

The CAPD Trust Fund was unanimously approved by the Chatham County Board of Commissioners on October 17, 2022, to support agricultural preservation and development within Chatham County. Funding for the CAPD Trust Fund was designated in the Article 46 tax referendum that was approved by Chatham County voters in the March 2020 voter referendum.

Ginger McLaurin Cunningham, County Extension Director for the N.C. Cooperative Extension – Chatham County Center, noted that this is indeed a critical milestone in the prominent, long-standing history of agriculture within the county. “For so many of us who claim Chatham County as our home – and to pay homage to those stewards of the land who came before us and for those who will one day make this their home – this is such an instrumental step in protecting and advancing the irreplaceable farms, forestry, and working lands for which this county is noted. This work has been a long time coming, and it is truly a blessing to see this project come to fruition,” said Cunningham.

For the initial funding round, applications will be accepted for the following categories:

  1. Perpetual agricultural working-lands easements.
  2. Transaction costs related to or necessary to facilitate a working-lands easement.
  3. Organizational and programming support that promotes the preservation and development of working lands within Chatham County.

Applications for this pilot program round of CAPD grants will be accepted only from qualifying, nonprofit conservation entities, such as land trusts. Qualified entities must demonstrate a history and expertise in perpetual conservation easement transactions and stewardship. For this pilot program round, $600,000 will be available for perpetual agricultural working-lands easements and transaction costs; $75,000 is available for organizational and programming support grants.

“We are excited to work with our farmers and qualified area land trusts on this initial CAPD funding round,” said Andrew Waters, Chatham County Farmland Preservation Coordinator. Waters said the farmland preservation grants currently offered through the CAPD are primarily intended to be used as matching funds for farmland preservation grants offered through the North Carolina Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation (ADFP) Trust Fund. The CAPD’s grant cycle corresponds with the ADFP grant cycle, which opens on October 9th and closes December 18th. “By offering local matching funds to ADFP applications through the CAPD, we can enhance our local grant applications and elevate farmland preservation efforts in Chatham County,” said Waters, who encourages farmers seeking guidance on partnering with local land trusts to contact him at the information listed below.

Soil and Water Conservation District Director Susannah Goldston says the organizational grants offered through the CAPD must promote and implement the preservation and development of working lands within Chatham County. “For effective and perpetual farmland preservation efforts, we rely on partnerships with local conservation nonprofits, so we want to help make those partnerships sustainable through our grant process,” said Goldston. Organizational support grant applications will be evaluated not only on the organization’s capacity for working with Chatham County farmers on perpetual working-lands conservation easements, but also on other ways the organization can support and promote farmland preservation in Chatham County. “We are hoping to inspire some innovative approaches through this grant process,” added Goldston.

CAPD grant guidelines and scoring criteria are provided at the Chatham County website address listed above. Organizational and landowner inquiries about the CAPD grant process should be directed to Andrew Waters at andrew.waters@chathamcountync.gov or 919-545-8447.