Land prices are among the biggest barriers for new farmers, especially for local meat producers, who typically require more acreage for livestock and need close proximity to urban markets. In 2018, the CEFS’ NC Choices program received a USDA grant to help beginning pasture based meat farmers gain access to land by obtaining leases in either pasture-based or silvopasture systems (the integration of trees, livestock, and forage management) on protected lands. Project partners include a mix of Cooperative Extension specialists, researchers, agri-businesses, farmers, and The Triangle Land Conservancy who has committed 30+ acres toward this project. This session will cover the project to date including strategies for developing partnerships to incorporate livestock systems on protected lands, budgeting and stage infrastructure costs, grazing plans, and finding the right “match” for farmers and land trusts.
Session Level: Advanced Session Location: Raleigh Convention Center
Just 10 miles east of Raleigh lies the Marks Creek Rural Lands Initiative, a 50,000 acre watershed home to historic Shotwell, the Neuse River, Marks Creek and 2,200 acres of open space including Triangle Land Conservancy’s (TLC) 405 acre Walnut Hill Preserve. This open space initiative started off with a circle of the closest unfragmented rural landscape to the capital city twenty years ago and has grown to be one of the most successful conservation efforts in urban North Carolina. Meet many of the parties involved in this conservation effort and learn strategies used over the past 20 years to engage the local community, schools, and funders to protect the Marks Creek Rural Lands. TLC will discuss planning efforts and community engagement strategies that helped engage a diverse rural community and build support for conservation efforts and development of nature preserves within the landscape. A local community member will provide a fast paced Wild Ideas presentation that highlights the diverse and historical significance of the area. Partners will detail techniques including: local advisory groups, community charrettes, Bioblitzes, volunteer days and Wild Ideas events. These strategies provided meaningful and useful feedback for conservation efforts, preserve design, and natural/historical interpretation that your land trust could replicate. Finally Wake County will share tools and techniques for running successful local bond initiatives to support conservation efforts.
Session Level: Basic Session Location: Raleigh Convention Center