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Granville VAD Program

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Granville County Voluntary Ag District sign (proposed design)

Granville County has a Voluntary Agricultural District (VAD) program. This program is designed to preserve agricultural lands while promoting their importance and benefits. This program is a win-win for landowners and the general public. Applications are available at the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Granville County Center. Call 919-603-1350 or email for additional information.

Landowner Benefits

  • Decreases the likelihood of legal disputes, such as nuisance actions if program enrollment is registered through computerized county land records
  • Public meetings for proposed condemnation of enrolled land
  • Signage to publicize land’s enrollment in program
  • Greater public awareness of local agricultural community and increased pride in agriculture
  • Eligibility for certain farmland preservation funds
  • Water and sewer assessments may be held in abeyance until improvements on such property are connected to water and/or sewer system
  • Considered ‘Primary Conservation Area’ when reviewing new development proposals adjacent to the enrolled land


Farmland must be real property that meets the following criteria:

  • Be engaged in agriculture as defined in G.S. 106-581.1
  • Be managed in accordance with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) guidelines with respect to highly erodible land
  • Be located in an unincorporated area of Granville County, unless there is an agreement with a municipality through which the county is authorized to exercise the authority of the municipality on its behalf


  • The land must be subject to a conservation agreement, as defined in G.S. 121-35, between the landowner and the county or local municipality that prohibits non-farm use or development 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.
  • This agreement may be revoked by the landowner at any time with only a short period of advance notice (usually 30 days). Ending the agreement will result in the property no longer qualifying for the VAD program and its benefits.

Public Benefits of VAD Program

  • Provide a voluntary way to support the conservation of rural communities
  • Conserve rural lands without adding significant expenses to the local government
  • Support each community’s rural heritage and economy; providing local jobs and tax income
  • Preserve agriculture and agriculture-related businesses; North Carolina’s #1 industry
  • Support clean air and water
  • Provide wildlife habitat
  • Provide fresh food, flowers and other local farm products for local residents and visitors
  • Maintain scenic views and tourism-based economic activity
  • Maintain lower levels of traffic and noise
  • Minimize infrastructure burden on county and local government
  • Preserve farmlands that contribute a greater proportion to the tax base (for every dollar in taxes received from residential development, governments pay $1.16- a 16¢ loss) source: American Farmland Trust, Cost of Community Services Studies, 2016


Download the Granville County Voluntary Agricultural District Application.