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Thousands of acres of farmland to be permanently preserved around Maryland

Posted at 1:46 PM, Oct 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-17 13:46:02-04

The state of Maryland is paying $2.9 million to preserve nearly 400 acres of "prime farmland" in Baltimore County, as part of a package of 25 working farms - totalling more than 3,300 acres - that are being put into preservation around the state.

It was overseen by the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation, which buys up agricultural easements "from willing farmers that forever protects prime farmland and woodland," according to a press release.

The state's public works board approved the 25 new easements for preservation at its Oct. 12 meeting.

Maryland is paying more than $13.6 million to permanently preserve the 3,385 acres. The largest number of acres is in Kent County, where 1,099 acres are being preserved.

In Baltimore County, five easements are being preserved, for a total of 390 acres. The actual locations of the easements won't be disclosed until the land goes to settlement, when the locations become public record, explained the foundation's executive director.

The other easements are scattered throughout Caroline, Carroll, Dorchester, Frederick, Kent, Talbot, Washington, and Wicomico counties. Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder said in a statement:

“These farms will now be preserved in perpetuity, thereby supporting the environment and food security for the citizens of Maryland.”

Meanwhile, Constellation Energy donated about 300 acres near the Conowingo Dam between Harford and Cecil counties to the state. Gov. Larry Hogan was on hand Saturday, along with Harford and Cecil officials, to celebrate the donation.

Those 300 acres will expand Susquehanna State Park and local parks in Havre de Grace and Port Deposit, said Chesapeake Conservancy president and CEO Joel Dunn in a press release. He called the donation "a dream come true for local communities and park enthusiasts." The land will be permanently preserved for conservation purposes and the public's benefit.