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(A) Requirements. In order for farmland to qualify for participation under the terms of this chapter, it shall meet the following requirements:
(1) The farmland shall be real property;
(2) The farm property shall meet qualifications set forth in G.S. § 105-277.3;
(3) The property shall be certified by the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, in consultation with the Cooperative Extension office and the Farm Service Agency, as being a farm on which at least two-thirds of the land is composed of soils that:
(a) Are best suited for providing food, seed, fiber, forage, timber, and horticultural crops, including Christmas trees and ornamental;
(b) Have good soil qualities;
(c) Are favorable for all major crops common to the county where the land is located;
(d) Have a favorable growing season; and
(e) Receive the available moisture needed to produce high yields for an average of eight out of ten years; or Soils on which at least two-thirds of the land has been actively used in agricultural, horticultural or forestry operations as defined in G.S. § 105-277.2 (1, 2, 3) during each of the five previous years, measured from the date on which the determination must be made as to whether the land in question qualifies;
(4) The property, if highly erodible land exists on the farm, is managed in accordance with the Natural Resources Conservation Service defined erosion control practices that are addressed to said highly erodible land, and
(5) The property is the subject of a conservation agreement, as defined in G.S. § 121-35
between the county and the owner of such land that prohibits non-farm use or development of such land for a period of at least ten years. There will be an exemption for the creation of not more than three lots that meet applicable county watershed and subdivision regulations (Chapter 156 of this code) or the regulations of any municipality that apply to the farm property. The property owner may voluntarily revoke this conservation agreement by submitting a written request to the Board in accordance with § 161.08. Any accepted agricultural practice will be exempt from this conservation agreement.
(B) Certification. The owner of the farm seeking to qualify his property for participation in the farmland preservation program shall submit written evidence that the property conforms to the requirements of subsection (A) above. This written information shall be submitted to the Chairman of the Advisory Board or the designated staff person on forms provided by the Board. The certification may be submitted at the same time the owner applies for inclusion in a district.
(Ord. passed 7-16-01)