In 1994, Frederick County started the Critical Farms Program. This program works as a lender by providing full-time farmers the up-front capitol they may need to purchase farmland in the county. The funds provided to purchase the farmland are considered an option to acquire a preservation easement on the property.
Once the County has granted the option funds to a farmer, they must apply for a period of 7 years to sell an easement under the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) or another governmental land preservation program. If the applicant is successful in selling an easement to the State, they can then repay the County the original option price.
If the farmer is not successful in the easement sale, they may exit the Critical Farms Program and repay the option price, or they may keep the Critical Farms money and an easement is placed on the property for no further payment.
The County has assisted 40 farmers in acquiring farms since the inception of the program, which has transferred over 5,100 acres to full-time farmers for continued agricultural use.
Have remaining development rights
The Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation Program (MALPF). is a state land preservation program aimed at preserving prime farmland for future food and fiber production by paying farmers to extinguish their development rights. Since 1980, over 21,800 acres of prime farmland have been permanently protected in Frederick County and over 301,000 acres in the State of Maryland.
To apply for a MALPF easement, property owners must meet the following minimum requirements:
The Maryland General Assembly enacted the Rural Legacy Program in 1997. It was created as part of the state’s Smart Growth initiatives to protect large contiguous areas called Rural Legacy Areas. This program promotes natural resource based industries, provide greenbelts, preserve critical habitats for native plant and wildlife species, and protect riparian forests and wetland.
The efforts to apply for and create these protection areas were regional and included Montgomery and Washington Counties. Due to these efforts, 2 official Rural Legacy Areas were created in Frederick County, 1 in the Burkittsville Region, known as Mid-Maryland Rural Legacy Area, and the other in the Adamstown Region, the Carrollton Manor Rural legacy Area. The team that worked on this project received recognition from the Maryland Chapter of American Planners Association in October 1998. Over 5,600 acres have been permanently preserved in Frederick County through the Rural Legacy Program.