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Keyword: preservation

Permanent Protection to Maintain a Viable, Local Base of Food and Fiber Production for the Current and Future Citizens of Baltimore County.

Baltimore County is now accepting applications for both the FY21 Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) and the Baltimore County Land Preservation Programs.

MALPF is the State funded easement program which protects 24,719 acres of farmland in Baltimore County alone. Created by the General Assembly in 1977, MALPF purchases agricultural preservation easements that restrict development on prime farmland and woodland in perpetuity. The County program which operates similarly, was created in 1994 to preserve working family farms in the county.

MALPF has permanently preserved 318,215 acres of agricultural land across Maryland, representing a public investment of more than $752 million. With county and other state preservation programs, more than 963,700 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. Baltimore County is also a national leader in land preservation and has consistently ranked in the top 10 counties for land preservation.

With 67,000 acres protected through various public and private programs, Baltimore County is over 80 percent of way to the goal of permanently protecting 80,000 acre of land in the County’s rural area. The purpose of the goal is to provide permanent protection of enough land to be able to maintain a viable local base of food and fiber production for the current and future citizens of Baltimore County.

To be eligible to be considered for either program, the land must be rural, meet minimum soil criteria and be at least 50 acres in size or adjacent to an already preserved land. Funding is limited so selection will be based upon the quality of the farm land, development potential, discounted asking price, and other factors.

Baltimore County staff is ready to assist landowners with their applications and encourages landowners considering applying to contact them early to begin the process as the application is quite extensive. For landowners who have applied in prior years, a new application must be submitted each application cycle to be considered for the sale of an agricultural easement.

The application period is now open and the deadline is April 17, 2020. View more information and application forms at our Land Preservation page.

Interested landowners are encouraged to contact Joe Wiley or Megan Benjamin at (410) 887-3480 before completing the application.


Totals 561 Acres of Land Preservation

County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced today that offers have been made to preserve five farms totaling 561 acres in Baltimore County through the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation. While frequently recognized for its very important and primary purpose of protecting our region's prime soils for food and fiber production, land preservation does so much more by protecting:

  • Drinking water for 1.6 million people of the Metropolitan District
  • Forest land for wildlife and air quality
  • The scenic beauty of the countryside by keeping sprawl at bay—an effort that reduces the cost of County services and thus the cost of government

The Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation made offers to five farms in Baltimore County through the Fiscal Year 2019 State easement process. The offers were scheduled to go before the State Board of Public Works on July 24 for approval of $2.8 million in funding. Subsequently, a request will go before the Baltimore County Council for $1.3 million in County-matching funds that comes from voter-approved bond funds.

Critically Important to Our Future

“Land preservation is critically important to the future of Baltimore County. Each new easement is an accomplishment illustrating the dedication of landowners, creative partnerships of land trusts and government agencies, and financial support of the County citizenry,” Olszewski said.

The five farms illustrate the multiple purposes that farmland preservation provides in Baltimore County:

  • The 119-acre horse farm in the Long Green Valley includes 45 acres of forest that adjoins the Gunpowder State Park and Little Gunpowder River, providing greater water quality protection and additional forest lands to buffer the State park.
  • The 95-acre portion of a 200-acre dairy in the Western Run is one of the five remaining dairies in Baltimore County. Dairies are one of the highest economic generators of all the farm industries providing a multiplier in terms of other payrolls.
  • The 169-acre crop farm in the Parkton area is part of an over 350-acre farm that has extensive forest that border the Prettyboy Reservoir properties, thus playing a role in the protection of the Metropolitan Drinking Water system that supplies over 1.6 million people.
  • The 75-acre horse farm in Sparks along the Maryland designated Horses and Hounds Scenic Byway provides scenic beauty and adds to the 19,400-acre easement block of the Piney Run Rural Legacy Area—one of the largest blocks of protected lands on the East Coast.
  • While farmers in Baltimore County lease most of their land for cropland, it is also important to have acreage that they own that they can fully control. The fifth farm is 103 acres that is owned by a multi-generation family farm business.

A Leader in Land Preservation

Baltimore County is a leader in land preservation in the nation, with over 66,000 acres preserved, not including the 561 acres when the easements for these farms settle. The County’s 2020 Master Plan’s goal for land preservation is at least 80,000 acres. Most recently, the County has preserved nearly 1,000 acres a year, and with the State and Land Trusts cooperative efforts we hope to increase the amount preserved each year.

Landowners interested in preserving their lands through either donations or selling development rights can find more information on programs and applications on the County website.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017