Why is Farmland Conservation Important in the Carolina Piedmont? | Catawba Lands Conservancy
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Why is Farmland Conservation Important in the Carolina Piedmont?

Farmland conservation is one of our mission pillars here at Catawba Lands Conservancy and while it might not be the first thing to come to mind when we say conservation, it is just as vital to protect as wildlife habitat or waterways.

Situated between the mountains and coastal plains, the Carolina Piedmont is an ideal environment for agriculture. The fertile, stable soils are ripe for growing many types of crops. If you had to take a guess, what would you think North Carolinas top three agricultural products are? If you were thinking of tobacco, soybeans, and sweet potatoes, you would be right! We found our niche specifically in tobacco and sweet potatoes, with NC being the nation’s top producer in both.

Grace Farm, Lincoln County

The key to this agricultural success is rooted in the soil. Much of the Piedmont is comprised of one or more soils from the Cecil soil series, which is itself one of the prime soil types in the agricultural industry. Across NC, those soils make up more than 1.6 million acres of land. Cecil soils are well-draining, moderately permeable soils…perfect for growing a variety of crops and making great soil in urban areas.

Agriculture is a core industry for the area and has provided a fruitful economy for many years. North Carolina currently has around 8.1 million acres of land in agricultural production, including livestock. However, with a growing population and increasing development, farmland is easily converted into residential developments or retail centers. That is why it is vital to ensure there is a focus on farmland conservation.

Looking for a way you can support farmlands? Buying locally grown produce or planting a native pollinator garden to build habitat for those all-important creatures are easy steps you can take at home.

Be sure to stay connected with us for updates on our farmland conservation successes!

Photos of Grace Farm by Nancy Pierce.