PITTSBORO- Thursday, Aug. 31, was Andrew Waters’ first day in the Soil and Water Conservation Department for Chatham County.
“I was really excited when this position came open,” said Waters. “There’s several counties with this same position now, but it’s still fairly a novel position here in North Carolina.”
The position of Farmland Preservation Coordinator is relatively new to Chatham County. Created by the Chatham County Board of Commissioners, its purpose is to administer the trust fund and implement other aspects of the Chatham Farmland Preservation Plan.
Several counties have created this position by implementing certain actions to preserve farmland from non-farm development.
“Twenty years ago, there were none of these positions, and now they are starting to become more prevalent,” Waters said. “My wife and I had just started renting a house in Chatham County, so I was excited when this position became available.”
Waters and his wife just recently moved from Spartanburg, S.C., but he’s a native of Hendersonville. He received his undergraduate degree from UNC-Chapel Hill, a master's from UNC Greensboro and a Ph.D. from Clemson University in Natural Resource Policy.
The new Farmland Preservation Coordinator originally comes from a commercial real estate background, having seen first-hand the explosive growth of commercial industry change the landscape, little by little, precious farmland disappearing throughout the state, giving way to the ever-expanding population of North Carolina.
However, he credits his time in real estate as an essential tool in understanding land preservation by the legal code, law, and requirements that one must know when making real estate transactions.
“Commercial real estate is a good way to start through the knowledge of real estate law and contracts,” Waters explained.
Some of Waters’ hobbies include canoeing.
“I look forward to exploring the Haw River,” Waters said. “I really like the feel of the momentum and the initiative around conservation here and look forward to exploring the area. I’m looking forward to interacting with the amazing people in the community and starting to play a role here. There are so many different groups that support this work and support our initiatives, and I’m just really impressed by the synergy around preservation here. I want to make sure what we’re doing supports and promotes conservation efforts.”
He continued, “We want to do as much as we can to create opportunities for anyone looking or actively trying to get involved in farming and to make sure that we are serving all of the population of Chatham County.”
The Chatham Soil and Water Conservation District Office is located at the Chatham County Agriculture and Conference Center, 1192 US 64 W Business, Suite 200 in Pittsboro.