griculture is one o the leading industries inFauquier County. In order to sustain thisindustry, a critical mass o armland is necessary orthe production o crops and animals. In Februaryo 2002, the Fauquier County Board o Supervisorsormally established the Purchase o Development Rights (PDR) Program in order toprotect the County’s armland and retain theagricultural industry’s critical mass. The PDRProgram is a voluntary program in whichlandowners sell the development rights o their landto the County; this protects the agricultural andnatural resources o their property while allowingthem to retain ownership. In some cases, undsgiven to landowners through the PDR program areused to deray debt and save the amily arm. Inother cases, the unds are used to make signifcantimprovements or additions to the armingoperation. The landowner has ull control over howthe PDR unds are to be utilized. In addition to thecash PDR payments, landowners may also qualiyor state and/or ederal land conservation tax creditsand deduction programs. All applicants areencouraged to discuss these programs with their taxadvisors.
hile unding or the PDR Program is largely taxbased, a signifcant percentage, roughly 32%(over $3.9M), has been provided by non-Countysources in the orm o grants and othercontributions.
ncreasingly, Fauquier County is being used as amodel by other localities when seeking guidance indeveloping a PDR Program. In past years, assistancehas been provided to ocials in Staord, Culpeper,Franklin, Hanover, Augusta, Spotsylvania andRockingham Counties.
he Fauquier County Agricultural Developmentsta also served on the Virginia Department o Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS)Farmland Preservation Task Force. This Task Forcehas developed a model PDR Program or Virginialocalities and has outlined the structure or a state-unded PDR Program.
n addition, sta has assisted the VDACS Oce o Farmland Preservation in the development o operating guidelines or the allocation o state-matching unds or armland preservation. 2007brought the frst specifc allocation o matchingunds through VDACS. Fauquier County’s PDRProgram has received approximately $1,061,000 inVDACS matching unds, to date.