Did You Know… Voluntary Agriculture Districts (VADs) in Jones County
Did you know that farming has and does play a very important role in Jones County? Jones County was built on agriculture and agriculture is still the number one industry in Jones County and North Carolina. From the days of a mule and plow agriculture has fed Jones County, clothed Jones County, housed Jones County and supported Jones County. Jones County agriculture has made Jones County a unique place to work and live.
People have seen the enjoyable life of rural NC and they want to a part of that life. Jones County is away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. Most days the most traffic you will deal with is the farmer driving his tractor down the road to get to the next field. Thanks to the active forestry and agriculture industries Jones County is full of fresh air, clean water and beautiful views. You may smell a chicken house or hog truck occasionally, but Jones County allows you to breathe easy and enjoy clean healthy air without the smog in the city.
During the summer you can ride the roads and see the beautiful blooms on the trees, the picturesque millpond, the pallet of green across a well-maintained soybean or peanut field. As the summer advances you can see the white blankets stretching across the many cotton fields around the county. You may see a deer browsing on the tender growth in a soybean field as her fawns fool around. If you are lucky you may catch a glimpse of a black bear snacking on the peanuts as he passes through. As fall arrives you see the stunning wheat fields emerge into a dense green carpet to rival even the most prestigious golf courses. These are all things that we enjoy about Jones County and things that draw outsiders to our piece of the good life. The people of Jones County have enjoyed these things for decades and continue to enjoy them today. Jones County residents also realize there are a few nuisances they must live with along the way.
You will get behind a tractor every now and then on your way to work or to dinner. You will get a whiff of a hog truck occasionally. During harvest time you may see or hear a combine operating into the night. During harvest time you may also see some mud on the road from vehicles leaving fields. There may be some cotton that falls out of the truck and ends up on the side of the road. Logging equipment may be somewhat loud at times. You may hear a dog barking or a cow mooing. There may be a rooster crowing every now and then. A cow, chicken, deer or opossum may be in the road. There are things that go along with the wonderful scenery we enjoy on a daily basis that happen on an occasional basis. Jones County residents understand this and accept it. However over the past few years there have been newcomers to the area.
These newcomers have moved here to enjoy the good life. However, these newcomers, like all newcomers, may not realize the intricacies of rural life that they may not see when just passing through. Many take these occasional nuisances in stride and learn to live with them. Some of the newcomers realize that this was not what they pictured in their minds and cannot accept these occasional nuisances, which are vital to creating the wonderful life style they are seeking. These people in turn are unhappy and thus make others unhappy. We in Jones County have come up with a way to bridge the gap so to speak between life as it is in Jones County and our newer residents. This bridge is the Voluntary Agricultural District or VAD program.
The VAD program is a program that Jones County landowners can enroll in to raise awareness that this area is one in which agriculture related activities occur. This program is completely voluntary and individuals may get out of the program at any time with no questions asked. The program identifies properties as VAD’s with the Register of Deeds and also are identified with a VAD sign to help raise awareness.
When anyone is looking to purchase land within a one mile radius of the property, they are notified that they are buying property near a Voluntary Agricultural District. This means that agriculture is done there and that the sights, sounds, and smells associated with agriculture/forestry may be experienced from time to time. So you may smell a hog house or there may be farm equipment on the road from time to time. There may be a combine harvesting soybeans at midnight. This program lets people, particularly newcomers to rural life, know that these type of activities, sights, smells, and noises may occur. This allows people to be aware of what they may experience prior to buying property in this area, allowing them to make decisions on whether they can take these occasional nuisances or whether they should look somewhere a little less rural for their next home. It is important that we all get along and communication can go a long way to creating harmonious relationships with our neighbors new and old alike.
Jones County like most places in eastern NC is a great place to live and work. The scenery and way of life is beyond compare. We welcome all newcomers with open arms and southern hospitality. However it is important that they understand the full picture so that they can be as happy as we are with our piece of the good life. If you own farm or forestry land and you would like more information about the VAD program please give Ivy Reid or myself a call at the Jones County Cooperative Extension Office at (252) 448-9621.
North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status, or disability. In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation. North Carolina State University, North Carolina A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.
This article will be published in the Jones Post newspaper on April 18, 2013 and was written by Jacob Morgan, Agriculture Agent.