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Carroll County aims for 100,000 acres of preserved farmland, accepts applications for Ag Land Preservation

Nearly three-quarters of the way toward its goal of preserving 100,000 acres of farmland, Carroll County Government invites residents to apply to the Agricultural Land Preservation Program.

The program is accepting applications for the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation through April 3, according to a county news release.

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Owners of farmland of any size that has development potential and is adjacent to preserved land can call Carroll County to find out if their property qualifies for preservation, the release states. Farmland that is not adjacent to preserved land but is at least 50 aces, has development potential, and meets soil requirements may also qualify.

Funding will be available for the program, but the amount is not yet known, according to Carroll County Program Manager Deborah Bowers.

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“It’s important that we have qualified applications for the state program to take advantage of any available state dollars,” Bowers is quoted as saying in the release.

Nearly 73,500 acres are already permanently preserved in the county, and the state program will help Carroll reach its goal of 100,000 acres, the release reads.

“The county’s farmland preservation effort ranks second among locally operated ag land programs in the United States and is the top program in the State of Maryland. The program has been underway since 1980 with strong public support. Agriculture is the county’s number one industry and farmland preservation is key to investment in family farms and all agriculture related businesses, Bowers explained," according to the release.

Carroll County operates four land preservation programs: the County Ag Land Preservation Program, which is now processing fiscal year 2019 and fiscal year 2020 applications. These programs offer payment options: the Critical Farms Program, which provides purchase assistance of 52.5% of fair market value to buyers of qualified farms; the Rural Legacy Program, which is funded through grants from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources; and the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) program.

Citizens are invited to call 410-386-2214 for more information or visit Carroll County Agricultural Preservation on the county website.

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