According to the NC ADFP, agriculture and related business in North Carolina is valued at over $70 billion annually, making it the top industry in North Carolina. In Guilford County, the impact of agriculture and agribusinesses is $2.27 billion (2008). Beyond economics, maintaining the agriculture communities in Guilford County preserves the integral rural heritage and landscape of our region. Moreover, North Carolina residents are becoming increasingly concerned with where food is grown and processed. Eating locally is more than a trend that can only be upheld through sustaining the agricultural land and industry throughout the state and in Guilford County. Farming is vital to North Carolina and to Guilford County, and it is imperative that local decision-makers – and community members – understand the importance of preserving our agricultural economy.
The 2020 Guilford County Farmland Protection Plan is a 10-year plan that looks at the history of agriculture, trends in agribusiness, economic realities and future economic opportunities, and regional partners and resources. The plan makes a series of detailed recommendations that outline strategies to protect land so that it remains in agricultural production, and also offer tools to help the agricultural economy thrive, thereby keeping farmers on the land making a viable livelihood.
The plan was prepared by the Piedmont Conservation Council in collaboration with the Guilford County Soil & Water Conservation District, and the Voluntary Agriculture District board. PCC also utilized the services of several consultants, including American Farmland Trust, Unique Places LLC, EYDO, Piedmont Land Conservancy, and UNCG – Project Green Leaf.
The plan was adopted by the Guilford County Commissioners at their meeting on June 16, 2011.