Studying Polk’s farms

Published 12:28 pm Monday, March 9, 2020

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Polk awarded grant for a cost of community services study 

COLUMBUS—Polk County recently received a $15,000 grant and approved a contract this week with University of Mount Olive to conduct a cost of community services study on farms and forestry. 

The Polk County Board of Commissioners met Monday and heard from agricultural economic development director Dawn Jordan about the study. 

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Jordan said a year ago the county discussed the need to revise its farmland protection plan, which is now more than 12 years old. 

Jordan said Polk County is one of the first counties to apply to have funding for a farmland protection plan and lots of things have changed over the last 12 years. 

The county was awarded a $15,000 grant from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services-Farmland Preservation Division Trust Fund.

The University of Mount Olive, School of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, will conduct the study for Polk County, which will be complete by July 2021. 

The study will determine cumulative tax value based on the land uses of commercial/industrial; residential and agricultural. 

The study will also determine actual local government departmental expenditures based on those three designated land uses; provide a fiscal year snapshot revealing county revenue-to-expenditure ratios; provide a general overview of the economic climate in Polk County as a result of the three designated land uses; provide and overview of the impact of agriculture to the county and provide an additional resource for county leaders to use to understand the cost of resources expended on each land use and to understand the impact of the agricultural industry in the county. 

When commissioners discussed updating the farmland protection plan in June 2018, there were 84 farms in the voluntary agriculture or enhanced voluntary agriculture program.