Carroll County Agricultural Land Preservation applications now open
Jennifer TurianoCarroll County Times
Applications are open again for the Carroll County Agricultural Land Preservation Program and will be accepted until Aug. 22.
The program will have approximately $5 million for the upcoming fiscal year, open to owners of at least 60 acres of farm or forestland. Owners of fewer than 60 acres may also apply if they meet additional criteria — and can contact the program manager, Deborah Bowers, for more information.
Four programs are currently available to farms that qualify: the county’s own Agricultural Land Preservation Program; the Critical Farms Program, which provides financial assistance to buyers of qualified farms; the Rural Legacy Program, funded through Maryland Department of Natural Resources grants; and the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation Program.
Bowers said, “Carroll County farm owners have a choice of programs depending on the location and size of their property,” and that “except for the Rural Legacy Program, farms must have at least 50 percent of soils in good productive capability, and all farms must have development potential.
“We are expecting some good farms to come into the program,” she said. “We’ve had many inquiries from owners of large properties in all parts of the county.”
According to the county, its farmland preservation effort ranks in the top five most successful in the country and is the top program in the state. More than 71,000 acres have been preserved in Carroll County since farmland protection began in 1980.
Farm and forestland property owners can find the application on the program’s website, or call Program Manager Deborah Bowers at: 410-386-2214.
An earlier version of this story misstated the ranking of Carroll County's farmland preservation effort. It has been changed to reflect that it ranks in the top five most successful in the country, as well as that it is the top program in the state.