ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) is now accepting easement applications for the FY22 cycle. Eligible Maryland farmers who are interested in preserving their land as an agricultural easement should apply with their county preservation program office as soon as possible.
“Maryland’s beauty, history, and character is woven into its nearly 2 million acres of farmland,” said Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “Preserving our precious agricultural land in such a highly-developed and populated area is crucial to sustaining the viability of our state’s agriculture industry. As the past year has shown all of us, our local food systems are instrumental in meeting the needs of Marylanders. By keeping land in agriculture, we are enabling farmers to continue farming and ensuring people around the state are provided for.”
MALPF was established by the Maryland General Assembly in 1977 and is part of the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA). MALPF purchases agricultural preservation easements from farmers that forever restrict development on prime farmland and woodland.
Since its inception, MALPF has preserved 2,467 farms and 333,474 acres of farmland for a total investment of $811,536,219. MALPF is one of the most successful programs of its kind in the country.
Maryland farmers interested in applying for a MALPF easement should be sure they meet the following eligibility requirements.
- Size:The minimum easement size is 50 contiguous acres.
- Productivity:The land must either be currently used for producing food or fiber or has the capability to do so. Woodland management and harvesting operations are eligible to join this program.
- Location:Land that lies within the boundaries of a 10-year water and sewer service area plan is generally ineligible unless it has extraordinary productive capability and is of significant size.
- Development Rights:A property must have at least one unused development right associated with the property to sell an easement.
For more information on eligibility criteria, visit MALPF’s website: mda.maryland.gov/malpf. MALPF is jointly administered by counties and the state. Counties may impose additional or more stringent requirements than the state.
Applications must be submitted to county preservation programs as soon as possible. Deadlines for submission vary by county. After county review, qualifying applications will be submitted to MALPF by July 1, 2021, for easement consideration. Farmers will be notified if their application has been accepted or not by MALPF via mail.