What is the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation?
The Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) was established by the Maryland General Assembly in 1977 and is part of the Maryland Department of Agriculture. The Foundation purchases agricultural preservation easements that forever restrict development on prime farmland and woodland. MALPF settled on its first purchased easement in October 1980.
During its 25th year of preserving agricultural land, MALPF will have helped landowners permanently protect from development more than 250,000 acres on almost 2,000 farms. The Foundation has preserved farmland in all of Maryland’s 23 counties. Today, the Foundation manages a public investment of over $333 million in permanently preserved land. The Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Program is one of the most successful programs of its kind in the nation. Maryland has preserved in perpetuity more agricultural land than any other state in the country.
What is the Foundation’s Mission?
The mission of the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation is:
- to preserve productive farmland and woodland for the continued production of food and fiber for all of Maryland’s citizens;
- to curb the expansion of random urban development;
- to protect wildlife habitat; and
- to enhance the environmental quality of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
How Can the Foundation Help You?
If you are the owner of eligible farmland and/or woodland, the Foundation can help you by purchasing an agricultural preservation easement on your property. This will ensure that your property remains agricultural in perpetuity. The amount that MALPF will pay for your easement is your asking price or the difference between the appraised fair market value of the land and its agricultural value, whichever is less. Depending on where you live in Maryland, the value of your property, and your asking price, the Foundation has in recent years paid from $800 to more than $10,000 per acre for agricultural preservation easements. If you sell an easement for less than the full value of the restrictions, you may qualify for certain tax benefits (consult your tax advisor).
Easement purchases are made through a competitive application process. For your property to qualify for the program, it must meet minimum size and soil eligibility criteria, be located outside a 10-year water and sewer service area, and the owner must commit not to develop the property for five years during the application process. MALPF and local governments rank properties relative to other properties applying to the program with consideration to how much funding the program has available to make offers.
After selling an easement to the Foundation, a property owner will continue to own and operate the farm as before. Landowners may sell or transfer the property, but the land will be permanently preserved for agricultural use. The original seller of the easement retains limited development rights.
Landowners have used the sale of their easements for many purposes, including:
- to finance the purchase of their farm or additional farmland;
- for retirement;
- for estate planning and settlement;
- to finance the improvement of an existing farming operation;
- to fund the production and marketing of new farm products;
- to finance the restoration of an historic home; and
- to pay off existing debt.
How Does the Foundation Operate?
A 12-member Board of Trustees and a staff of five administer the Foundation’s programs. MALPF is based on a partnership with local governments which appoint advisory boards of five members to assist in the administration of the selection process and review requests in each county. Each county has a designated program administrator to act as the primary contact with and liaison between the agricultural community and the Foundation.
For more information about the Foundation's programs, contact your county's program administrator or the MALPF office:
|Allegany County||Dave Dorsey||301-876-9546|
|Anne Arundel County||Barbara Polito||410-222-7317, ext. 3553|
|Baltimore County||Wally Lippincott, Jr||401-887-3854|
|Calvert County||Veronica Cristo||410-535-1600, ext. 2489|
|Caroline County||Debbie Herr Cornwell||410-479-8104|
|Carroll County||Ralph Robertson||410-386-2214|
|Cecil County||Eric Shertz||410-996-5220|
|Charles County||Charles Rice||301-645-0651|
|Dorchester County ||Rodney Banks||410-228-3234|
|Frederick County||Anne Bradley||301-600-1474|
|Garrett County||John Nelson||301-334-1920|
|Harford County ||Bill Amoss||410-638-3235|
|Howard County||Joy Levy||410-313-4382|
|Kent County ||Carla Martin Gerber||410-778-7474|
|Montgomery County ||John Zawitoski||301-590-2831|
|Prince George’s County||Yates Clagett||301-574-5162 x3|
|Queen Anne’s County ||Donna Landis Smith||410-758-4408|
|St. Mary’s County||Donna Sasscer|| 301-475-4200, ext. 1405|
|Somerset County||Tom Lawton||410-651-1424|
|Talbot County||Martin Sokolich||410-770-8030|
|Washington County||Eric Seifarth||240-313-2445|
|Wicomico County ||Gloria Smith||410-548-4860|
|Worcester County||Katherine Munson||410-632-1200 X 1302|