Our story

working lands trust


The Trust was conceived in 2013, born from a collaboration between the North Carolina Forestry Association, North Carolina State Department of Agriculture and community conservation leaders. This group collectively identified increasing interest among farm and forest landowners in exploring conservation options for working lands. Since our inception, we have been warmly welcomed by both the public and private sector and have enjoyed consistent success in expanding the conserved landscape of North Carolina. The Trust received its 501(c)(3) status in 2014, and within its first two years had permanently conserved over 4000 acres across three counties of the state’s eastern reaches and coastal plain.

The Trust continues to expand both its service area and partnerships, working closely with the state’s Agricultural Development and Farmland Protection Trust Fund, the US Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the US Department of Defense. Through these partnerships the Trust has protected over 17,000 acres of working farms and forests to date… And we are just getting started….


To achieve our overarching goal of protecting and sustaining North Carolina’s farms and forests, the Trust:

  • Educates landowners about working lands conservation tools, programs and practices;
  • Secures land protection funding from public and private partners;
  • Works closely with landowners and funding agencies to achieve an aligned set of conservation outcomes, memorialized through perpetual conservation agreements;
  • Develops a diverse slate of future conservation projects and funders that help to fulfill our mission and enhance the economic and environmental well-being of the landowners and communities we serve.

Ultimately, our work ensures lasting protection of North Carolina’s working landscape. In doing so, we help to retain its sense of place and quality of life, keep land ownership in private hands and deliver economic benefits not only to North Carolina, but to the region and beyond.