Calvin Murray

Development prohibited on more than 1,000 acres of Howard farms

Howard County's agricultural preservation program committed over the past two years to buy development rights to more than 1,000 acres of farmland, as a slow housing market helped boost landowners' interest in the easements.

The county announced last week that all of the money in the program has been spoken for, and said a continued down market will likely slow the process of collecting enough to protect more land.

The Agricultural Land Preservation Program — funded through real estate transfer taxes — allows agricultural property owners to apply for easements that would "extinguish the development rights and limit the use of the land," said program administrator...