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Robert Branan

Associate Extension Professor

Nelson Hall 4336


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Date: 09/15/23 - 9/14/28
Amount: $656,514.00
Funding Agencies: USDA - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

This 10-week summer program will train six students per year for five years on the topic of agricultural runoff pollution through research and extension experiences. The program long-term goal is to prepare the upcoming generation of agro-environmental engineers and scientists, extension specialists, practitioners and industry leaders to address this issue by providing them with an holistic perspective of the science and practice. Students will engage in various experiential learning activities including training workshops, seminars, field visits, research and an ???extension abroad??? experience in France.

Date: 07/01/22 - 6/30/24
Amount: $59,195.00
Funding Agencies: USDA - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

The Rural Land Summit (RLS) is a two-pronged professional development education series - with original content support - to address matters related to farm and forest land use. One education prong is a professional credit series - assisted by NC State Office of Continuing Education - for lawyers and others across North Carolina. The second prong 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 not traditionally served by commodity group education programming, and thus operating at a scale not often served by risk management education outside of dedicated programming. Additional media produced will be a suite of 1) interview-based youtube 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) matching powerpoint presentations. The main topic of ???land use??? is somewhat of a catchall - designed to capture the attention of landowners (i.e. farm landlords) 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.

Date: 09/01/18 - 8/31/22
Amount: $599,020.00
Funding Agencies: USDA - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

The goal of the project is to increase the number of beginning farmers and ranchers successfully and profitably raising meat through either pasture-based or silvopasture systems by providing them and their families with novel land acquisition strategies in partnership with land trusts, solar farms, and existing landowners, while also equipping new farmers with targeted knowledge, skills, decision-making tools, and the market and buyer connections that have been identified as needed for these producers to operate profitably and be successfully. CEFS?????????????????? NC Choices (, working comprehensively to support the meat value chain since 2002, is uniquely equipped to not only identify needs of beginning farmers, in part through their statewide surveys of all registered meat handlers in the state, but to deliver this comprehensive program addressing those identified needs. For this project, we have assembled the necessary partners and subject matter experts, identified key choke points for beginning farmers, and are proposing high- impact solutions that offered together will insure success. This comprehensive support, including introducing and adapting a Meat and Yield Price Calculator and Meat Suite to expand their markets, will result in 250 beginning farmers who will receive training, decision-making, and market development tools plus 15 new cohort farmers who will enter into model land-share agreements with land partners. Finally, through resource development and training to aid CES agents in serving beginning farmers and via the national conference of land trusts to be held in North Carolina in 2019, we ensure that this project will have statewide and national impact.

Date: 11/01/19 - 8/31/21
Amount: $33,592.00
Funding Agencies: NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission

So You Have Inherited a Farm: The Heir's Guide to Inherited Farm and Forest Land Interests is a proposed guide for inheritors of family interests in farm and forest land. The workbook features narratives on topics such as managing and resolving co-tenancy land ownership, trusteeship of landowning trusts, LLC membership, and land management topics including forestry, present use valuation, appraisals and surveys, leasehold arrangements with farm operators, and land and water conservation programs. The workbook includes worksheets and legal agreement templates, drawn from the principal author's former law practice library. The project draws from field research in development, and supports landowner-focused education campaign. Principally authored by Andrew Branan, Extension Assistant Professor (law), and Guido van der Hoeven, Extension Specialist/Senior Lecturer (tax/farm management), both of ARE Department with NCSU (CALS). The project will be supported by various cooperative extension staff in the field. The NC Agricultural Foundation is the applicant.

Date: 08/01/20 - 6/30/21
Amount: $15,291.00
Funding Agencies: USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

All 50 states offer preferential property tax programs that lower the taxes paid on enrolled agricultural and/or forest lands (Kilgore et al., 2017). Agroforestry is a land use that combines elements of both agriculture and forestry; however, eligibility criteria and other rules and regulations may prevent enrollment of agroforestry lands in one or more of the agriculture and forestry tax programs in a state. For example, minimum trees per acre requirements for forestry tax programs might prohibit certain agroforestry uses. Maximum tree cover requirements or minimum annual income requirements for agriculture tax programs could limit participation by other agroforestry practitioners. Such prohibitions, whether intended or unintended, would present a major financial burden on current or potential future agroforestry adopters, as forestry programs can reduce taxes by $8 per acre on average across the U.S., and much higher in many states (Kilgore et al., 2017). On the other hand, some states may have separate eligibility criteria for agroforestry, which provide opportunities for easier access than the traditional forestry and agriculture criteria. This project will identify and catalog these potential challenges and opportunities for agroforestry systems to participate in preferential agriculture and forestry property tax programs

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