Northam awards grants to preserve farmland

Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration is giving grants to six local governments that will be used to preserve farmland.

Northam recently announced that the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services was awarding more than $633,000 to Albemarle, Clarke, Fauquier and Stafford counties as well as Chesapeake and Virginia Beach.

The money compensates farmers who work with local governments and voluntarily sign perpetual conservation easements to preserve working farmland.

The state has awarded more than $12 million in similar grants since 2008 to preserve more than 13,000 acres on 95 farms.

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John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.