More than $6 million has been allocated to close down the second round of pork operations located in flood-prone eastern North Carolina. It is expected to add another 14 or 15 operations to the voluntary buyout program, bringing the total to about 30 farms. The buyouts are funded from the state’s Clean Water Management Trust Fund and administered by the state’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Anyone who owns a pork production operation in a flood-prone area can submit a bid for an amount he/she is willing to accept to give up the farm’s non-discharge permit and give the state a conservation easement on the land.

Last year, bids were received from 85 owners and 14 were accepted for the first round of buyouts. They are now in various stages of the process that includes outside appraisers, legal agreements for permanent easements, negotiating contracts for pumping out lagoons and manure disposal.

Amounts being paid to owners of the initial 14 operations range from $75,000 to $695,000 and average $288,000. Participants will be able to use the buildings and lagoons in other ways, but not for a confined animal operation.

The remainder of the initial $5.7 million is being used to pay contractors to drain lagoons, spread the affluent on land with growing crops and remove pipes from buildings to lagoons.

The process for selecting the second round of farms for buyout will begin later this year. DENR will mail “solicitation packets” to owners of pork operations believed to be in the 100-year flood plain. DENR will hold workshops to explain details and answer questions. Owners whose bids were not accepted last year can resubmit bids.