15.15.01.01-1

.01-1 Program Summary.

A. The Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation program is voluntary on the part of landowners and is dependent upon the cooperation of local government. This program requires local governments to appoint agricultural preservation advisory boards that assist in the creation of agricultural preservation districts where the subdivision and development of land is restricted by agreement between the landowner and the Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation, and where agricultural and woodland production activities are encouraged and protected. If a landowner requests that this property be included in a district, that property must meet minimum criteria as established by the Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation. If an easement has not been sold to the Foundation, a landowner may terminate after 5 years his property's inclusion in a district. Notice to terminate must be given 1 year in advance of the termination date.

B. A landowner who includes his land within a district will receive the following benefits:

(1) Direct and indirect support of agriculture;

(2) Insulation of normal agricultural activities from nuisance complaints; and

(3) Eligibility to make an application to sell an agricultural land preservation easement to the Foundation.

C. Once land is in an agricultural preservation district, a landowner may make application to sell an easement to the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation. The application will indicate the price of any easement offered. The maximum value of this easement is determined as the difference between the land's agricultural use value and its fair market value as determined by appraisals. However, the Foundation has the discretion to select those easements which it shall purchase. Purchased easements may be reviewed after a 25-year period, and if profitable farming is found not to be feasible, an easement may be terminated by repurchase.