Westminster, MD, Monday, January 6, 2020 - The Carroll County Agricultural Land Preservation Program is accepting applications for the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) through April 3, 2020.

Owners of farmland of any size having development potential and adjacent to lands already preserved may call the Carroll County program to see if their property might qualify for preservation. Owners with farmland not adjacent to preserved farmland but meeting certain criteria may also apply. Farms must be at least 50 acres, have development potential and meet soil requirements.

The program will have funding available, but the amount is not yet known, according to Carroll County Program Manager Deborah Bowers.

“It’s important that we have qualified applications for the state program to take advantage of any available state dollars,” Bowers said.

The state program will help Carroll reach its long-established goal of preserving 100,000 acres. Nearly 73,500 acres are already permanently-preserved in the county.

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.

Carroll County operates four land preservation programs: the County Ag Land Preservation Program, which is now processing FY19 and FY20 applications and offers two 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.

Call 410-386-2214 for more information.