Pilot Light: Ag Districts Add More Farms
To expand its outreach, the Moore County Voluntary Agriculture District Advisory Board changed its meeting day and time this week and succeeded in attracting more farmers interested in joining the program.
The board hosted a community meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Agriculture Center in Carthage. The event attracted 48 residents, five of whom signed applications during the evening. Others took applications for additional study and a possible signup.
Prior to the community meeting, the board held its regular monthly meeting, when five new farmlands were approved for inclusion as agriculture districts. The five add 606 acres, bringing the total to date to 61 farms and 16,297 acres.
SPEAKERS -- Two officials were invited to speak to the farming group.
Gerry Cohn, southeast state director of the American Farmland Trust, discussed the differences between a voluntary agriculture district (VAD) and an enhanced district. Although the enhanced district offers more benefits, the agreement cannot be revoked for at least 10 years.
The voluntary program, which is the one in place in Moore County, allows a farmland owner to withdraw at any time by giving advance notice.
Jerry Dorsett, working lands coordinator with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, reviewed growth of the program across the state.
STATE HOUSE -- The state House of Representatives will convene March 20 to consider removing one member from the assembly.
Gov. Mike Easley called the special session at the request of House Speaker Joe Hackney.
House members will be asked to consider recommendations from a special committee that reached unanimous agreement to recommend removal of Rep. Thomas Wright from office. Wright is the Wilmington Democrat accused of mishandling $340,000 in loans and campaign and charitable contributions. Wright is scheduled for trial on criminal charges later this month.
PROCTORS -- Three middle schools are in need of volunteer proctors, according to a notice from Linda Hubbard, volunteer coordinator with the Moore County Schools.
The schools are Southern, New Century and West Pine, and the times are May 27, 28 and 29 from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m.
Hubbard says volunteers may serve one, two or all three days and calls this "an excellent opportunity to volunteer without a long-term commitment." Interested persons may call her at 947-2342.
HEARING -- The Moore County Board of Commissioners will hold a quasi-judicial public hearing on a cell phone tower rezoning request during the Monday, March 17, meeting.
The board agreed to call the hearing during the March 3 meeting.
American Tower has asked the county to rezone a tract off U.S. 15-501 to Rural Agricultural-Conditional Use District to enable the wireless communications company to build a 35-foot addition to an existing 195-foot monopole. The applicant says the addition is needed to expand Alltel wireless service in the area.
The Monday meeting will begin at 6 p.m.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at 947-4962 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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