Seal of Caroll County, Maryland

Agricultural Land Preservation Program

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Agricultural Land Preservation Program

Carroll County has a rich tradition of agriculture that continues to be strong today. The county-wide desire to preserve the farming way of life and support agricultural industries has resulted in tremendous rates of participation. Carroll County's program is among the top five most successful farmland preservation programs in the United States. Carroll County land owners have voluntarily placed perpetual easements on more than 65,000 acres of productive farmland, limiting their development rights and thus ensuring that the land will be available for farming forever. Each acre of land under an easement also helps to preserve the rural character of the county which is so often imperiled by increased development and the diminished ability of farmers to continue farming as a result of development's side effects.


The Carroll County Agricultural Land Preservation Program will soon begin to settle on conservation easement applications submitted last year. Due to the program being short staffed throughout 2014, a new application cycle has been delayed. However, if you would like to fill out an application, you may do so and we will keep it on file until the new cycle opens later this spring or early summer. Please refer to the information below to learn if your property might qualify. Call 410 386-2214 if you have questions.

If you are interested in preserving your property and would consider payment for a permanent agricultural conservation easement that will restrict your land to agricultural use, you may download and print an application from this site or call our office for further information. Also, review our Preservation Programs Brochure for information on programs available.

Generally, the following qualifications are in effect:

  1. Properties must be at least 60 acres, or if less than 60 acres, they must be more than 30 acres and: a.) adjacent to a preserved farm; b.) have a minimum of 4 lot rights; and c.) may not retain any lot right.
  2. Properties of fewer than 30 acres will not be accepted into the Ag Land Preservation program. Other program options may be available for small properties.
  3. Properties must have at least 50% USDA Class I, II, or III soil capability and/or Woodland Groups I and II.
  4. All properties must have subdivision potential.
  5. The easement must be approved by the Carroll County Agricultural Land Preservation Advisory Board and the Board of County Commissioners.

Two payment options will be available:

  1. Lump sum payment. Applicants must state the per acre price they are willing to accept and compete with other applicants requesting lump sum payment. Compensation offered will not exceed 70% of appraised fair market value.
  2. Installment purchase agreement: Payment through a 20 year contract that will pay 5.25% tax-free interest on the offer amount twice yearly, with full offer amount paid at the end of the period. Offers are capped at 40% of fair market value but boosted with an attractive tax-free interest rate. The cost of bonds may affect the interest rate offered, but the program strives to offer in the range of five percent.

Call 410-386-2214 for more information.

Deborah Bowers, Program Manager