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Maryland Farmland Easement Purchases Include $1.07 Million for Washington County

Maryland Farmland Easement Purchases Include $1.07 Million for Washington County

The Maryland Board of Public Works on September 10th approved purchase of 27 easements protecting 3,380 acres of prime Maryland farmland in 11 counties for over $23.6 million in State and local funding. Two farms in Washington County, with combined acreage of 190 acres will receive a total of $1.07 million. This approval by the board brings total farmland preservation by the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) in Maryland to 272,158 acres.
County Land Preservation Planner Eric Seifarth said that in Washington County, the $1.7 million will bring the total for easements granted by MALPF to over $4.2 million for Fiscal Year 2008.
Governor Martin O'Malley, in making the announcement on September 24th said, "Maryland has the strongest agricultural land preservation record in the nation. Each easement purchase proves our commitment to keep farming a viable and sustainable industry in our state. By working with our local partners through the MALPF program, we will keep Maryland's farmers on their land to preserve open space, protect our environment, and maintain the rich agricultural heritage of our State."
MALPF was created by the General Assembly in 1977, purchases agricultural preservation easements that forever restrict development on prime farmland and woodland, and has granted permanent land easements in all 23 Maryland counties, representing a public investment of over $500 million. With contributions from county and other state preservation programs, more than 490,000 acres of farmland are protected in Maryland. This is the greatest ratio of farmland preserved to total landmass of any state. Seifarth said the additional acreage will take the total farmland under preservation from all sources to approximately 24,000 acres.
According to a news release from the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA), a survey conducted by the Schaefer Center for Public Policy last year showed public opinion supporting this investment. 97 percent of respondents said they believe that it is important that the state preserve farmland for farming. MDA said Marylanders believe that farms and the products they produce should remain a part of the State's culture and economy.

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