The Carroll County government is a few hundred acres closer to meeting its goal of 100,000 preserved agricultural acres after adding a new easement in Westminster of about 105 acres.
During a meeting Thursday, the Board of Carroll County Commissioners approved a request from the Department of Land and Resource Management to purchase an easement on the Stephen R. Boose property, at 2352 Tyrone Road. .
The 104.57-acre farm property, owned by Boose, was granted preliminary approval to participate in the county Agricultural Land Preservation Program by the County Agricultural Land Preservation Advisory Board on Jan. 13, 2021. Commissioners granted preliminary approval the following week.
The property owners requested to be compensated by a lump-sum payment and agreed to a purchase price of $604,902.72, or $5,784.66 per acre.
“We’re here today to request final approval,” said J.P. Smith, program manager of the county’s Agricultural Land Preservation Program. “If this is accepted, we’ll be right around 77,200 acres” of agricultural land preserved in Carroll, bringing the county closer to its goal of 100,000 acres.
Through a collaboration of agricultural interests and county officials, the 100,000 acres goal was determined to be the minimum acreage needed to maintain a viable agricultural base in Carroll County.
According to the Carroll County government website, the county’s agricultural land preservation effort is the most successful in the state, “preserving more farms and more acres through the purchase of land preservation easements than any other county in Maryland.” Carroll’s program also ranks among the nation’s top five similar programs administered by local governments in the United States, according to the county government.
“Preserving large, contiguous areas of agricultural land is essential to building a ‘critical mass’ of viable agricultural operations in order to sustain agribusinesses, such as farm suppliers and ag lenders, necessary for farm operations to thrive,” the county’s website states.
The Boose property is next to several other preserved easements.
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In April, two Westminster properties owned by James Warehime were purchased by the county for preservation as well, according to Smith. One farm, accessed from Old Hanover Road, consists of 40 acres and the second farm, accessed from Cherry Town Road, consists of about 70 acres, for a combined total of 110 acres.
“I know Mr. Boose is looking forward to restoring the property to the glory of his grandfather,” Smith said. ”He’s very proud, and we are too, to have this farm in our program.”
In response to comments and questions from commissioners, Smith confirmed that there are additional properties near the Boose property that could be added to the preserved farmland list. Smith also confirmed that the property owners were “adamant and excited” about cleaning up the property in anticipation of the preservation approval.
More information on the county’s agricultural land preservation program can be found at carrollcountymd.gov/government/directory/land-resource-management/agricultural-land-preservation/benefits-of-ag-pres/.