Farmland Protection Board


Durham Voluntary Agricultural DistrictFor more information, please contact:

Durham County Soil and Water District
721 Foster St.
Durham, NC 27701


Markets Brochure
Durham Markets & Farms Brochure 

Ordinances and Countywide Plans

Board Members  

Vice Chairman

Neil Frank, At Large

Will Wilson, ENO VAD

2nd Vice Chair

Kathryn Spann, Durham SWCD Representative

Board Members  
Wendy Jacobs, County Commissioner Beecher "Gus" Gray, Cape Fear VAD
Anthony Lopez, Falls/Lick Creek VAD Douglas Daye, Flat River VAD
Perry Whitted, Open Space & Trails Representative Mark Waller, Farm Bureau Representative
VACANT, Business Representative Demetrius Thompson, At Large
John Monroe, At Large Samantha Gasson, At Large
Talmage Layton, At Large

About Farmland Protection in Durham County

Durham County has a strong agricultural heritage. But presently, the farmland that is the fabric of this heritage is facing extreme development pressures. To learn more about preserving this legacy for future generations, contact the Durham Farmland Protection Board. Landowners have several options for protecting their land, including those described below:

Present Use Taxation Program

Land that is used for agricultural production can be taxed at a rate which reflects its present use, which saves farmers money on property taxes. For example, if the land is used for growing fruit trees, it will be taxed at the rate for agricultural land, even if it's actual market value is much higher. The present use taxation program, however, does not alter estate taxes, which are calculated based on market value.

Conservation Easements

Under the Conservation Easement Program, landowners may sell or donate the development rights to their property. They retain full ownership of the land, but permanently forego the option to develop it. The development rights may be sold to a qualifying government institution or private agency. However, even if the landowner donates the development rights, he/she can receive substantial tax benefits.

Voluntary Agricultural Districts

Through the work of the Durham Farmland Protection Board and Durham County Government, we now have in place a "Voluntary Agricultural District" program. Under this program, farmers sign an agreement with County Government to voluntarily forego developing their property for 10 years. To qualify, a farmer must own at least 20 acres (other qualifications also apply). Voluntary Agricultural Districts may be identified by attractive signs with a logo like the one on the top of this page. In exchange for enrolling, the landowner receives the following benefits:
  • The right to a public hearing held by the Farmland Protection Board if land in an Ag District is considered for a public project that may condemn land.
  • Waiver of water and sewer assessments on their land if they do not use the service.
  • Notice on property map warning potential neighbors of noise, odor, dust or slow moving vehicles.
For more information, please contact:
Durham County Soil and Water District
721 Foster St.
Durham, NC 27701


Board Minutes
The Durham Farmland Protection Program meets the 3rd Thursday of the month at 8:00am. The board does not meet every month so please call our office at 919-560-0558 for the next meeting date. The meetings are held in the second floor conference room of the Agriculture Building at 721 Foster St, Durham, NC 27701 and are open to the public. The minutes from the meetings can be viewed below:



The Cost of Community Services in Durham County
Click here to view the study [PDF]

Prepared by:
Mitch Renkow
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
North Carolina State University
April 2010

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