Federal Ranch Protection Program Funds

Federal Ranch Protection Program Funds

Eric Seifarth and Holly Thibault, Land Preservation Planners brought this request to the Board of County Commissioners during the meeting on Tuesday, August 28, 2007, for Board approval of a Cooperative Agreement between the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Commissioners, and approval of matching funds of $372,781 from the from local Agriculture Transfer Tax to be used to purchase farmland preservation easements. Washington County previously utilized funds funneled through the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation.
This year the State of Maryland opted not to participate in the Federal Ranch Protection Program, allowing Counties to apply for these funds via grant application. Washington County was awarded $372,781 based on its application. Both the Agriculture Advisory Board and Planning Commission have approved the request. $372,781 from the Ag Transfer Tax Fund would be combined with matching Federal dollars to purchase a permanent easement.
Ranking of several easements was also requested to be approved. The top candidate in that ranking is 90.14 acres owned by Phyllis Barr. The measures were approved by unanimous vote.