Voluntary Agricultural District Program


The purpose of the Voluntary Agricultural District Program is to encourage the voluntary preservation and protection of farmland from non-farm development. This is in recognition of the importance of agriculture to the economic and social life of the county.

The North Carolina General Assembly authorized the counties to undertake a series of programs to encourage the preservation of farmland and agriculture. This statutory authority is found in Chapter 106, Article 61 of North Carolina General Statutes.

Agricultural Advisory Board

This program provides for the creation of an Agricultural Advisory Board to administer this program. The Board will review and approve applications for qualifying farmland as well as establishing Voluntary Agricultural Districts (VAD) and promote the local agricultural industry. The Board is composed of seven county residents who are appointed by the county commissioners.

Your Agricultural Land Is a Valuable Asset to the Citizens of Stokes County

Citizens of Burke County derive many benefits from your farmland: 

  • Clean air
  • Clean water
  • Fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products
  • Horticultural products
  • Plant and animal habitat
  • Scenic rural vistas

Now you can enroll in a program that demonstrates your pride and commitment to agriculture, and celebrates your contribution to the exceptional quality of life in Burke County.

How Your Farm Can Become a Voluntary Agricultural District

To become an Agricultural District, a farm must first be certified as Qualifying Farmland. To secure certification, a farm must:

  • Be participating in the farm Present Use Value Taxation program or is otherwise determined by the Burke County Tax Department to meet all the qualifications of this program set forth in General Statutes 105-277.3.
  • Be managed, if highly erodible land exists on the farm, in accordance with the Natural Resources Conservation Service defined erosion control practices that are addressed to highly erodible land.
  • Be the subject of an agreement between the County and the owner of the land.

An Agricultural District must consist of a minimum of:

  • 5 acres for horticulture
  • 10 acres for agricultural use
  • 20 acres for forestry

Leased and/or rented land for the purpose of agriculture will be taken into account.

Contact one of the agencies listed in this brochure for more information on qualifying as a Voluntary Agricultural District.

Agricultural District MemberShip Requires a Voluntary, Non Binding Agreement

A Voluntary Agricultural District member will be subject to a non-binding agreement between the County and the landowner that prohibits non-farm use or development of such land for a period of at least 10 years, except for the creation of not more than three lots that meet applicable county zoning and subdivision regulations.

Membership May Be Revoked at Any Time by the Member

Should you decide to sell your land you may revoke the agreement at any time through a written notice to the County.