Assessing Your Land
What is Suitable to Grow on My Land?
Assessing the potential of a piece of land and its suitability for agricultural enterprises is a complex process of decision making. The best ideas combine the realities and limitations of the land’s natural resources, a landowners interests and skill sets, and potential markets to sell farm products.
Landowners should consider the following when determining what types of agricultural production might be suitable for their land:
- Amount of sunlight vs. shade
- Topography & orientation of the land
- Soil type and quality
- Wind and water movement patterns on the property
- Potential impacts from adjacent properties/roads
There are many useful resources that are helpful to landowners with a mission to steward their property:
The Farm Service Agency is a division of the USDA, offering federal programs and services to producers and farmers. Landowners can register their farm with a Farm ID number as a first step to accessing programs. View Buncombe County Service Agency contacts.
The Forestry and Environmental Resources Department at NC State University provides trainings, offers educational workshops, and publishes resources on a variety of forestry topics.
The NC Forest Service addresses forest health across the state, oversees state forests, alerts landowners to invasive forest threats, issues burn permits, and offers educational outreach.
The US Forest Service in North Carolina provides vast information on the national forests across the state, including issuing permits for forest products.
Accessing land is the number one hurdle for beginning farmers. Alternatively, you may have farmland but choose to have someone else take on the demands of farming. NC FarmLink helps connect existing landowners with experienced farmers that are seeking land on which to farm. NC FarmLink staff will help guide you through considerations and assist you in locating resources you will need when negotiating a land tenure arrangement.
The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Agronomic Division offers soil testing services to NC residents. This simple test provides information on soil quality and nutrient levels that are essential to know when growing for profit.
Soil and Water
The Buncombe County Soil & Water Conservation Service provides technical guidance on soil and water topics including soil erosion, stream-water issues, ponds, and cost-share programs for landowners. They also have rental equipment for area landowners.
The Natural Resource Conservation Service also assists landowners managing natural resource concerns on their property. Cost-share programs help landowners meet critical conservation goals.
The NC Wildlife Commission oversees wildlife education, conservation and licensing for wildlife species across the state. They are the best source for learning about enhancing habitats for wildlife. Should you encounter issues with wildlife damaging your farm products, depredation permits are also under their jurisdiction.
Particularly for beekeepers, fencing to deter black bears from damaging beeyards is critical. Bear Fencing guidance.
Deer can be problematic in certain areas in the county. Many producers will need to consider deer fencing options in order to protect high value crops that have heavy deer feeding pressure.