Washington County Preserves 116 Acres of Farmland

Autumn color and harvested farm fields surround a cemetery on the Renfrew Park grounds.

HAGERSTOWN, MD – The Washington County Department of Planning & Zoning has announced a significant step towards preserving Washington County’s agricultural heritage was taken recently as a local farmer sold a 116.65-acre conservation easement near Clear Spring. This remarkable achievement was made possible through the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Program (MALPP), an initiative designed to protect highly productive agricultural land from future development.

Administered by the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) at the state level and locally managed by the Washington County Department of Planning & Zoning, MALPP operates on the foundation of Purchase of Development Rights (PDR). In this process, landowners choose to sell their future residential, commercial, and industrial development rights to the easement holder while retaining full title to their property.

The MALPP program is made possible through funding from the Maryland Department of Agriculture, along with contributions from Washington County’s Agricultural Transfer Tax and Real Estate Transfer Tax. On average, the program pays approximately $4,800 per acre, ensuring fair compensation to landowners while safeguarding the county’s agricultural landscape.

With the successful purchase of this easement, Washington County now boasts over 15,100 acres enrolled in the MALPP program, further solidifying its commitment to agricultural preservation. Across all land preservation programs, the county has secured more than 39,300 acres to date.

For further information about the MALPP program and other land preservation initiatives offered by the County, please reach out to Chris Boggs, Rural Preservation Administrator, at 240-313-2447 or via email at [email protected].

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