ANNAPOLIS (Sept. 20, 2017)—Governor Larry Hogan today announced that the Board of Public Works approved the purchase of 41 easements protecting 6,011 acres of prime Maryland farmland in 16 counties for $25,642,225 in state funding.
In Charles County, 5 easements representing 524 acres were purchased at a cost of $1,943,256. In St. Mary's County, 5 easements representing 598 acres were purchased at a cost of $2,658,216. No easements were acquired in Calvert County at this time. The state did not release the names of the property owners.
This approval brings the total farmland protected in perpetuity or approved by Board of Public Works by the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) to 313,483 acres. The Board is comprised of the Governor, Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp, and Comptroller Peter Franchot.
"Maryland has one of the strongest agricultural land preservation records in the nation. Each easement purchase proves our commitment to keep farming a viable and profitable industry in our state," said Governor Hogan. "Working together, we can ensure a sustainable environment for future generations, preserve open space, and maintain the agricultural heritage of our state."
Created by the General Assembly in 1977, MALPF purchases agricultural preservation easements that forever restrict development on prime farmland and woodland and has permanently preserved land in each of Maryland's 23 counties, representing a public investment of more than $645 million. With county and other state preservation programs, more than 800,000 acres of farmland and resource land are protected by easements in Maryland. This is the greatest ratio of farmland preserved to total landmass of any state.
According to the last survey conducted by the Schaefer Center for Public Policy, public opinion supports this investment. A full 97 percent of respondents believe that it is important that the state preserve farmland for farming. Marylanders believe that farms and the products they produce should remain a part of the state's culture and economy. A summary of Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation Easement Purchases approved by Board of Public Works on Sept. 20 is available www.mda.maryland.gov/documents/bpw_malpf-09-20-17.pdf .