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Albemarle County Receives $12,500 Farmland Preservation Grant from the State

Eight localities receive funding to place lands under permanent conservation easement

Governor Bob McDonnell today announced the distribution of $100,000 in grants from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) to eight Virginia localities, including $12,000 to Albemarle County. Localities must use the grant monies to preserve farmland within their boundaries through local purchase of development rights (PDR) programs. Albemarle County will use the grant funds to support the Acquisition of Conservation Easements, or ACE, program.

"We appreciate this opportunity to provide additional support for the ACE program, especially at a time when our funding is very constrained”, said County Executive Tom Foley.  “The ACE program has been a very successful component of our rural protection strategy and this grant provides us with resources to continue the valuable work of the program at no additional cost to our taxpayers."

For the FY 2011 allocation round, each of the following eight localities received $12,500: The counties of Albemarle, Clarke, Fauquier, Isle of Wight, New Kent, Northampton, and Spotsylvania plus the City of Virginia Beach. Grant applicants had to report how much funding was available for their local PDR programs as of October 22, 2010, and the state funds matched that amount up to $12,500 per locality. Currently, these eight localities report more than $17 million available in local matching funds ($3,524,331 for FY 2011, and $13,803,474 from previous years) available for their PDR programs, but state matching funds for FY 2011 are limited to $100,000.

"Local governments are a key component in preserving working farmland," said Matthew J. Lohr, Commissioner of VDACS, the agency that administers the state's farmland preservation program. "Preserving working farms not only keeps the land from development or disuse," he added, "but also maintains the Commonwealth's number one industry, agriculture. At the same time, we are taking steps to ensure the continuation of a reliable food supply for the future within our own borders."

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