New Applications Sought for County’s Local Ag Land Preservation Program
Westminster, MD, Monday, September 14, 2020 - The Carroll County Agricultural Land Preservation Program is accepting new applications from farm owners now through October 15, 2020.
Owners of at least 60 acres of farm or forestland can find an application on the program’s website. Owners of fewer than 60 acres may also apply if they meet additional criteria and should call 410 386-2214 for more information.
The program is operated and funded by the county. Each property that completes the program will be restricted to agricultural or conservation use in perpetuity by a Deed of Conservation Easement recorded in the Carroll County Land Records. This program is popular with Carroll farmers, and has approximately $3.5 million in local funds available for new applications, according to Program Manager Deborah Bowers.
Three other programs are also available to farm families: the county’s unique and locally created Critical Farms Program, which provides financial assistance to buyers of qualified farms; the Rural Legacy Program, funded by grants from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources; and the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation Program which will have an application deadline next spring.
All properties must have development potential to qualify and will be ranked according to soil quality and other factors. Bowers encourages applications from all parts of the county.
Carroll County’s farm preservation ranks in the top five such efforts in the United States and is the top program in Maryland. Nearly 75,000 acres have been preserved in Carroll County since farmland protection began in 1980. The county’s long-standing goal of preserving 100,000 acres is three-quarters complete with a celebration planned for next year.