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A Voluntary Agricultural District (VAD) helps to promote agricultural values and general welfare of the county by increasing identity and pride in the agricultural community and its way of life; encourage the economic and financial health of agriculture; and increase protection from non-farm development and other negative impacts on properly managed farms.
The State of North Carolina passed the Farmland Preservation Enabling Act in 1985, authorizing counties to establish farmland preservation programs, including agricultural districts. In 2003, Burke County adopted a Voluntary Farmland Preservation Program Ordinance, creating the Agricultural Districts Advisory Board (ADAB) and procedures for establishing Voluntary Agricultural Districts.
The purpose of the ordinance is to promote the preservation of farmland in Burke County so that development and growth will be accompanied by protection of farms from non-farm development and other negative impacts on properly managed farms, recognizing the importance of agriculture to the economic and cultural life in the County.
The Agricultural Districts Advisory Board (ADAB) is composed of a number of County residents, which includes farmers representing newly-formed Agricultural Districts. The Burke County Board of County Commissioners appoints ADAB members. The ADAB reviews and approves applications to the Agricultural Districts program. They also advise the board of County Commissioners on projects, programs, or issues affecting the agricultural economy or way of life within the County.
A sign to identify your farm as a Burke County Voluntary Agricultural District will be available. These signs will tell passersby that you, the farm owner, are committed to the preservation of the agricultural way of life in Burke County.
Persons buying land in rural areas will do so with the knowledge that a bona fide agricultural operation exists within one aerial mile. Agricultural Districts will be identified on County maps, which shall be displayed for public view in County offices including offices of the Planning Department and Register of Deeds.