The Maryland Board of Public Works has given its seal of approval to 24 new Maryland Agricultural Preservation Foundation easements, a significant step towards the preservation of the state’s farmland. The newly-approved easements will permanently protect a total of 3,715 acres of prime farmland across ten counties, with an investment exceeding $17 million.
Maryland’s commitment to agricultural land preservation is widely recognized, and the approval of these easements further solidifies its position as one of the leaders in this field. The efforts of the state not only ensure the preservation of valuable farmland but also contribute to the sustainability and profitability of the agricultural industry.
“Maryland has one of the strongest agricultural land preservation programs in the country. Each farmer that sells an easement to the state helps to keep farming a viable and profitable Maryland industry,” stated Kevin Atticks, the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Agriculture. He emphasized the significance of collaboration in protecting the resources necessary for a robust agricultural economy and preserving the state’s rich agricultural heritage.
The newly-approved easements span across Anne Arundel, Carroll, Charles, Harford, Montgomery, Queen Anne’s, St. Mary’s, Somerset, Talbot, and Worcester counties. This strategic distribution ensures that farmland in various regions of the state is conserved, contributing to the overall goal of preserving Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay area. The conservation efforts aim to protect and sustain over 1 million acres of productive agricultural land by 2030, as part of the state’s commitment to the environmental health of the bay.
The Maryland Agricultural Preservation Foundation, established in 1977 as a part of the Maryland Department of Agriculture, plays a crucial role in the preservation process. The foundation purchases agricultural preservation easements from farmers who are willing to participate, ensuring that prime farmland and woodland remain protected in perpetuity.
The approved easements are a result of the foundation’s ongoing efforts to work closely with farmers and landowners. By providing financial incentives and support, the foundation encourages landowners to voluntarily participate in the preservation program. This collaboration ensures the preservation of farmland for future generations while enabling farmers to continue their agricultural operations.
The public can access a detailed breakdown of the Maryland Agricultural Preservation Foundation easements by county on the official website. This transparency fosters accountability and allows stakeholders to understand the scope and impact of the preservation efforts across different regions of the state.
The approval of these easements is a significant milestone in Maryland’s journey towards achieving its ambitious goal of conserving and preserving over 1 million acres of productive agricultural land by 2030. It highlights the state’s dedication to safeguarding its agricultural heritage and promoting a sustainable agricultural industry.
The preservation of farmland not only protects the state’s natural resources but also contributes to the overall well-being of Maryland’s economy and communities. Preserved farmland provides opportunities for agricultural businesses, supports local food production, and offers recreational spaces for residents and visitors alike.
The Maryland Board of Public Works’ decision to approve these easements demonstrates the state’s commitment to long-term environmental stewardship and sustainable agriculture. By investing in the preservation of prime farmland, Maryland continues to lead the way in ensuring a thriving agricultural sector and preserving its natural landscape for future generations to enjoy.