Land Summit Professional Development

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2022: $59,195.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2024
Grant Recipient: North Carolina State University at Raleigh
Region: Southern
State: North Carolina
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Robert Branan, JD
North Carolina State University at Raleigh
Hannah Dankbar
North Carolina State University
Chad Poole, PhD, M.S., B.S., P.E.
Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering (NCSU)


Not commodity specific


  • Farm Business Management: land access, heirs property
  • Sustainable Communities: quality of life

    Proposal abstract:

    The Rural Land Summit (RLS) professional development program produces and delivers original content to address matters related to farm and forest land use. The overall goal is to reduce the risk of land removal from production.  Prong One is a professional credit series - assisted by NC State University Office of Continuing Education - for lawyers and others across North Carolina, with the objective to build a network of legal professionals with an identified interest in serving farmers and rural landowners. Prong Two builds the capacity of front-line contacts - cooperative extension, soil & water, etc. - to serve rural landowners and farmers and forest land managers with guidance to resources and professional assistance on land use matters. The project produces a book - The North Carolina Rural Lands Guide (RLG) - targeted to assist rural landowners and operators with legal education on land use. Supporting the RLG is a suite of 1) interview-based videos on sundry legal topics, 2) professional-grade white papers, 3) lay narratives published on two websites - NC Farm Law ( and NC Farm Planning Portal (in development), and 4) supporting presentations.  Collaborators will assist in participant recruitment and content delivery. The topic of “land use” serves landowners and land owner/operators on a range of topics of normal concern, such as heir property resolution, property taxes, zoning and building, and environmental matters such as pesticide use, conservation program practices, leasing and farm tenancies, drainage management, access and easements (including utilities), and basic forest management and marketing.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The overall goal of the project is to build a network of professional assistance and produce extensive subject matter content on the critical land use and production topics faced by all producers and owners of farm and forest land. This goal will be achieved by the following objectives:

    1. Development of a Professional Credit Series (Continuing Legal Education [CLE]). This project will pilot and establish a recurring series of CLE's to update those practitioners in closest contact to production agriculture - both in rural and exurban areas - on land use matters critical to production agriculture. Topics will include those produced as part of the overall content development supported by this grant (see #3 below). Evaluations of participant experience and follow-up for client-permitted examples of professional assistance will be sought from participants of the program to document increased farmer service (behavior change). Such data will be considered in developing and expanding each annual round of CLE programs (scheduled for delivery in late spring of each year). 
    2. Rural Land Summits. Produced to ultimately expose a broader audience of farm landholders to this information to professional service capacity. This format targets those who work with farmers and rural landowners (producers and non-producers): Cooperative Extension agents (both 1890 and 1862, which are co-branded through a singular Extension network), NC Soil & Water conservationists, Division of Forestry foresters, community economic development personnel, local community food advocates, and others for enhanced response to queries on land use and related legal matters and efficient direction to available resources and professionals working in that service sphere. Evaluations of participant experience and follow-up for client-permitted examples of assistance will be sought from participants of the program, to evaluate behavior change in access to resources.
    3. Farm Law Content Development. 1) NC Cooperative Extension (NCCE) Fact Sheets. Fact sheets will be written to target a general audience and will be peer reviewed prior to publication. NCCE Fact Sheets are professionally edited by NCCE Ag Communications editorial staff prior to online and/or print publication; 2) White Papers (peer reviewed). White papers will be published that mirror NCCE Fact Sheets topics but will include citations and references, and retain more narrative detail. The target audience for these white papers is educators and professional advisors that seek to resolve problems related to the topic for clients; 3) Slide Presentations. An explanatory presentation in PowerPoint for delivery to live and online audiences (with a recorded narration linked to appropriate web portals below); 4) Infographics. At least 60% of the topics covered by NCCE Fact Sheets will be addressed in an infographic format, framing the issues and resolutions associated with the topic; 5) Interview-based informational videos with selected professional experts and administrators. Each NCCE Fact Sheet will be accompanied by a companion video on the topic (or multiple depending on sub-topic). For example, a short video on Present Use Value (the property tax program for farming and forestry) will consist of interviews with county tax assessors who administer the program, who can discuss the programs main points as well as address scenarios and tips beneficial to farm and forest landowners, with a focus on transfer and appropriate farm use at the small and mid farm level. Farmer participation in interviews will be included. 6)Web Pages. NCCE has devoted considerable resources and expertise to the development of accessible web content that is mobile device friendly. Content produced by this project will be hosted among several websites managed by project staff, including: The Agricultural and Natural Resource Law (Farm Law) ( provides narratives and resources related to legal topics of concern in farm business operations, land ownership, transfer and management, as well as natural resource regulation topics of concern to farmers and landowners; b) Farm Planning Resources. (currently under construction) This portal is a direct result from a 2020 request from County Agents at a statewide meeting for topics including Getting Started, Land and Water, Business Planning, Taxes, Insurance and Liability, Regulations, Certifications, Marketing, and Support. Behavior change is objectively measured by access to websites (metrics provided by NCSU Extension IT).
    4. The Rural Lands Guide. The capstone product of the grant, this publication will contain the printed content developed during the course of the project. This book will be printed and distributed at future Rural Land Summits where landowners and farmers are the primary audience (i.e. beyond the train-the-trainer series).  Behavior change: participant access to publication (to be evaluated in future workshops)
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.