The Fayette County Farmland Protection Board will seek grant funding to turn the 84-acre Whitlock farm into a local farm incubator, offering training, resources and leased land to new farmers.
The board purchased the farm at public auction on April 27, 2016, for $495,000. The group will place an agricultural easement on the acreage, preventing it from being developed for non-agricultural purposes in the future.
On Tuesday the Fayette County Commission approved a letter to the Farmland Protect board, praising its decision to develop an incubator farm, offering support for the grant application.
Fayette County Resource Coordinator Kelly Jo Drey said the lack of affordable farmland, lack off access to food distribution systems, lack of knowledge and the high cost of investing in farm equipment makes is hard for new farmers to have a solid start.
“The Whitlock property is on W.Va. 16, close to U.S. 19 and Fayetteville. That makes it an ideal location to attract young farmers to the area. The location is convenient for farmers to live in Fayetteville or Oak Hill, and our area is vibrant. It’s a place people want to come to anyway. This will make it easer for them to come, start farming and have access to recreation and other aspects of quality of life,” she said…
Follow the author on Twitter @Sarah_E_Plummer