The Carroll County Agricultural Land Preservation Program is accepting applications for the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Program through April 9.
Owners of farmland of any size that has development potential and is adjacent to lands already preserved may call the Carroll County program at 410 386-2214 to see if their property might qualify for preservation, according to a county release Monday. Owners of farmland that is not adjacent to other preserved land but is at least 50 acres and has development potential will also be eligible to apply.
The program will have funding available but the amount is not yet known, Carroll County Program Manager Deborah Bowers said.
“It’s important that we have qualified applications for the state program to take advantage of any available state dollars,” she said.
The county has preserved 74,218 acres of its long-established 100,000-acre goal to date — about 75 percent — and the program will assist in preserving even more land this year.
“We anticipate reaching the milestone of 75,000 acres by the end of this calendar year,” Bowers said. “That will be very exciting, and we have some truly excellent large farms in all parts of the county coming into the program this year.”
The county’s farmland preservation effort, which began in 1980, ranks among the top five most successful locally operated programs in the United States, and is the top program in Maryland, according to the release.
Agriculture is the county’s No. 1 industry and farmland preservation is key to investment in family farms and all agriculture related businesses, Bowers said.
For more information on the program or how to apply, Bowers can be reached by phone at: 410 386-2214.
Carroll County operates four land preservation programs: the County Ag Land Preservation Program — which is now processing FY19 applications and offers two payment options, the Critical Farms Program — which provides purchase assistance of 52.5 percent 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.