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Swine Floodplain Buyout


The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) has partnered with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to continue its program to purchase permanent conservation easements on properties within the 100-year floodplain that are currently used for swine production. The purpose of the program is to reduce the potential for pollution from active animal operations by purchasing an owner’s certification to operate a feedlot within the 100-year floodplain.


Eligible operations must be determined to be located within the 100-year floodplain. They must also be subject to the requirements for obtaining a Certificate of Coverage under the Swine Waste Operation General Permit from the Division of Water Resources in accordance with NCGS 143-215.10C(a) and must have been in active use for animal production on or since October 8, 2016. 

Program Background

This is the fifth time this program has been offered since it began in 2000 following devastating flooding from Hurricane Floyd.  Previously, the program has been primarily funded by grants from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund. For Phase V, the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services received a $2.5 million Regional Conservation Partnership Program grant from USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service to continue the program.

Forty-three of the 138 producers who submitted applications in the initial four rounds of the program were selected to participate.  Producers who submitted bids that were not accepted previously are invited to submit new bids. 

Participating producers must agree to allow a permanent conservation easement on the land containing the production facilities. The permanent easement will allow continued agricultural use of the property but will contain the following restrictions:

  • Prohibit feedlots within the portion of the tract(s) covered by the easement.  A feedlot means a lot or building (or combination of lots and building) intended for the confined feeding, breeding, raising or holding of animals and specifically designed as a confinement area in which animal waste may accumulate or where the concentration of animals is such that an established vegetative cover cannot be maintained.   The easement would specifically allow continued use of the site for other agricultural production operations such as pasture-based beef production, row-crop/hay production and vegetable farming, but it would prohibit use of the easement area as a spray field for swine waste.
  • Prohibit non-agricultural development of the portion of the tract included in the easement area.
  • Require development and implementation of a soil and water conservation plan for the area within the 100-year floodplain.  NCDA&CS and NRCS will provide cost share to reimburse the landowner for a portion of the cost of installation of best management practices included in the plan.
  • Require implementation of a permanent 50-foot wide forested riparian buffer on all perennial and intermittent streams and a 35-foot grassed filter strip on all field ditches located within or immediately contiguous to the tract(s) covered by the easement, where technically feasible.  NCDA&CS will reimburse the landowner for 100% of the cost of installing the buffer. 
  • Restrict the location of hazardous materials storage (to include fuel and fertilizer) and mixing areas to minimize water pollution potential from leaks, spills and flooding.

Participation in the buyout requires relinquishment of the facility’s permit and/or waste management plan certification.  As a result, the owner cannot relocate the facility and continue raising swine as an existing operation.  Future swine production outside of the floodplain would be subject to regulations governing new swine operations. 

The easement will cover a minimum of twenty (20) acres including the portion of the tract on which the swine production houses and lagoon(s) are located that is within the 100-year floodplain.  In no case will a bid be accepted that does not include within the proposed easement area all swine production facilities and lagoons within the floodplain that are associated with a tract as well as streamside lands on the tract that receive surface drainage from the swine production houses or lagoon(s). 

The participating producers will be required to contract to close the lagoon(s) in accordance with established standards of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).  NCDA&CS and NRCS will jointly reimburse 100% of the cost of closure provided all sites upon which the lagoon contents are to be applied are within a 3-mile radius of the lagoons.  The applicant is responsible for providing adequate land and crops for lagoon effluent and sludge application required for lagoon closeout and for paying the incremental cost of hauling lagoon contents beyond a 3-mile radius.  The applicant will also be responsible to assure implementation of all requirements in the lagoon closure plan.  All closures will be in accordance with current applicable standards of the Natural Resources Conservation Service. 

This is a voluntary program.  Farmers interested in the program are invited submit an application form to make an offer to NCDA&CS for the total dollar amount they are willing to accept as compensation for ceasing production at a permitted facility within the floodplain and allowing a permanent conservation easement to be placed on their property.  All offers must be postmarked by November 30, 2018. 

The Deparment of Agriculture and Consumer Services has scheduled 4 information sessions to allow interested producers to learn more about the program.  Interested producers are invited to register to attend one or more of these sessions.



Thursday, October 25, 2018

Duplin County Agriculture Center, Auditorium 165 Agriculture Drive, Kenansville, NC

6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Angie Quinn, (910) 296-2120, ext. 3;
Wednesday, November 7, 2018 Cumberland County Agriculture Center, 301 E. Mountain Dr., Fayetteville, NC 12:00-2:30 p.m. Donna Foster; (910) 484-8479 ext. 3;
Thursday, November 8, 2018

Martin County USDA Service Center,      104 Kehukee Park Rd, Williamston, NC

6:00 - 8:30 p.m. Cathy Barber; 252-792-4350, ext. 3;
Tuesday, November 13, 2018 Craven County Agricultural Center          302 Industrial Drive, New Bern NC 12:00-2:30 p.m. Pam Hawkins; 252-633-0397;



Related Links and Documents:

Solicitation for Proposals

Swine Buyout Program Application Form

Frequently Asked Questions

Progress Report on Phases I-IV



Press Releases and News Articles:



NCDA&CS Division of Soil & Water Conservation, Vernon Cox, Director
Mailing Address: 1614 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1614
Physical Address: 216 West Jones Street, Raleigh North Carolina 27603
Phone: 919.707.3770

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