Carroll is celebrating reaching the milestone of 75,000 acres preserved in the county with an exhibit, bus tours of nearby preserved farms and a commemoration ceremony at the annual Fall Harvest Celebration in October.
While the county had successfully preserved 75% of its 100,000-acre goal last year, plans had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chris Heyn, director of the Department of Land and Resource Management, told county commissioners at their meeting Thursday that the county’s agricultural preservation program is one of the top in the nation.
“It’s a fantastic program that provides economic benefit to our agricultural community and helps support the growth of what is really the No. 1 industry in Carroll County,” Heyn said.
The celebration will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 16 at the Carroll County Farm Museum and is free to the public. The bus tours will begin around 10:30 a.m. and are expected to last about an hour. There will be two buses with limited space available, and individuals must register in advance online.
Brenda Dinne, special projects coordinator for the department, pointed out the county’s six-member agricultural preservation committee has been working to increase public awareness of the milestone. The celebration will be accompanied by an educational campaign promoting the benefits of preservation to the community and the importance of public support for “growing” preserved land acreage to attain the remaining 25,000 acres.
“We need that last 25,000 acres which are going to be harder to get than the first 75,000,” she said.
The commemorative ceremony is scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m., and Dinne said Gov. Larry Hogan has been invited as the keynote speaker, although it is still too early to confirm his appearance. Local farming groups, lawmakers, county executives and agriculture preservation managers from neighboring counties have also been invited to attend.
“I know you guys put a lot of work into this … It’s going to be fantastic,” said Commissioner Richard Weaver, R-District 2. “It’s refreshing to know we’re going to have open areas in Carroll County.”
He mentioned the county possesses a nice balance between rural land and developed land.
“That is something that is not easy to achieve,” Weaver said.