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AG Preservation & Easements

Since 1978, Howard County has been pro­tect­ing farm­land through the Agri­cul­tural Land Preser­va­tion Pro­gram (ALPP) using three methods:

  • The pur­chase of agri­cul­tural preser­va­tion ease­ments by the County
  • The ded­i­ca­tion of agri­cul­tural preser­va­tion parcels as pro­vided for in the County’s zon­ing regulations
  • The pur­chase of agri­cul­tural preser­va­tion ease­ments by the Mary­land Agri­cul­tural Land Preser­va­tion Foundation

Using these tools, the County has pre­served over 20,000 acres of farm­land in west­ern Howard County.

County Pur­chased Ease­ments
Through this vol­un­tary pro­gram, a farmer whose land meets cer­tain size and soil cri­te­ria can offer to sell a per­pet­ual ease­ment to the County, while hold­ing fee sim­ple title to the land and con­tin­u­ing to farm. The farm may be sold, but the ease­ment, which restricts the devel­op­ment of the prop­erty, remains with the land and binds all future owners.

County Ded­i­cated Ease­ments
The ALPP also accepts agri­cul­tural ease­ments ded­i­cated to the County as a result of the sub­di­vi­sion process, either as den­sity send­ing parcels or clus­ter sub­di­vi­sion residue parcels.

Mary­land Agri­cul­tural Preser­va­tion Foun­da­tion (MALPF)
In addi­tion to ease­ments pur­chased by the Howard County ALPP, the MALPF pro­gram also pur­chases agri­cul­tural ease­ments, and has acquired almost 4,000 ease­ment acres in Howard County. The MALPF pro­gram is admin­is­tered locally, which means that any ques­tions or requests per­tain­ing to MALPF prop­er­ties should be directed to the Howard County Agri­cul­tural Land Preser­va­tion Pro­gram Supervisor.

Howard County Agri­cul­tural Land Preser­va­tion Board (ALPB)
The ALPB makes rec­om­men­da­tions to the County Exec­u­tive on the acqui­si­tion of new agri­cul­tural land preser­va­tion ease­ment prop­er­ties, reviews pro­pos­als con­cern­ing land already sub­ject to an ease­ment and assists ALPB staff with pol­icy cre­ation and refinement.

Con­ser­va­tion Ease­ments
Con­ser­va­tion ease­ments are tai­lored to fit a landowner’s indi­vid­ual sit­u­a­tion, and the terms of the ease­ment are arrived at only after detailed dis­cus­sions between the landowner and a local land trust. Howard County devel­oped a pro­gram to pro­mote this type of ease­ments for parcels of less than 50 acres. For more infor­ma­tion, visit the Howard County Con­ser­vancy web­page.

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