Board of Public Works Approves Easement Purchases of 563 Acres of Farmland
State and Local Combine for $4 Million Investment
ANNAPOLIS, MD– Governor Martin O’Malley today announced that the Board of Public Works approved the purchase of four easements protecting 563 acres of prime Maryland farmland in four counties for approximately $4 million in State and local funding. This approval brings the total farmland protected in perpetuity by the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) in Maryland to 286,660 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 sustainable industry in our State,” said Governor O'Malley. “By working with our local partners through the MALPF program, we will keep Maryland's future smart, green and growing by helping farmers stay on their land, preserving open space, protecting our environment, and maintaining the rich 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 over $605 million. With county and other state preservation programs, nearly 558,914 acres of farmland are protected in Maryland. This is the greatest ratio of farmland preserved to total landmass of any state.
According to a survey conducted by the Schaefer Center for Public Policy last year, 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 by County, November 16, 2011, is available online at: http://www.mda.state.md.us/pdf/11-16-11_bpw_malpf.pdf.