Adds new Article 55B, Food Desert Agriculture Grants, in GS Chapter 106, which provides as follows. Establishes the North Carolina Food Desert Agriculture Grant Fund (Fund) as a special fund in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS). Makes DACS responsible for administering the Fund using personnel and other administrative resources of the Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund program. Allows the Fund to receive funds appropriated by the NCGA and any gifts, grants, or donations from any public or private sources. Requires the Fund to be used to encourage agricultural production and availability in food desert zones in the state. Allows an owner of property located in a food desert zone using the property for an eligible activity to apply for a grant from the Fund. Defines eligible activity as the use of real property for the production of crops or plants for sale as food or as a farmers' market. Allows charging grant applicants a fee for reviewing and processing applications. Specifies that grant amounts do not exceed the property tax due for the property in the year the application is submitted reduced by the amount of any rent charged for using the property for an eligible activity and reduced proportionately for (1) any amount of the property not used for the eligible activity and (2) any full months during the tax year when the property was not used for the eligible activity. Requires awards to be issued in the order that applications were received. Requires that when the amount of eligible grants requested in a fiscal year exceeds available funds, that the grants be paid in the next fiscal year when funds are available. Allows DACS to issue rules to implement the Article. Requires DACS to report on grants made from the Fund annually by February 1, with copies to be made available to the specified NCGA committee and division. Specifies items to be included in the report.
Appropriates $500,000 in 2021-22 from the General Fund to DACS for the grants under Article 55B.
Status: Ref to the Com on Finance, if favorable, Families, Children, and Aging Policy, if favorable, Appropriations, if favorable, Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House (House action) (Mar 31 2021)
Bill H 458 (2021-2022)Summary date: Mar 30 2021 - View Summary