Located on the southern tip of the Delmarva Peninsula, Northampton County is one of two counties that comprise the Eastern Shore of Virginia. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel connects the county to the Virginia mainland to the south and to the north is Accomac County, Virginia and the Maryland border. A large portion of America’s last intact barrier island system is located in Northampton County, providing an internationally significant natural resource.
Northampton County is 35 miles long and includes about 230,000 acres. It contains miles of tidal shoreline and its sandy loam soils are well suited for agriculture. Agriculture is still the county’s primary industry and, along with neighboring Accomac County, produces 70 to 75 percent of Virginia’s vegetables.
Although Northampton County is primarily rural, development pressures threaten its valuable farmland. In response to local concerns, several community organizations commissioned American Farmland Trust to conduct a Cost of Community Services (COCS) study to gain a better understanding of the financial impact of existing land uses in the county. The goal of this study was to provide information to help county officials make informed planning decisions and balance the distribution of land uses in the future.