First published in the December 2017 Equiery

In November, Governor Larry Hogan announced that the Board of Public Works approved the purchase of 16 easements protecting 2,618 acres of prime Maryland farmland in 11 counties for $9,223,273 in state funding. This approval brings the total farmland protected in perpetuity or approved by Board of Public Works by the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) to 316,101 acres. The Board is comprised of the Governor, Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp, and Comptroller Peter Franchot.
“Maryland has one of the strongest agricultural land preservation records in the nation. Each easement purchase proves our commitment to keep farming a viable and profitable industry in our state,” said Governor Hogan. “Working together, we can ensure a sustainable environment for future generations, preserve open space, and maintain the agricultural heritage of our state.”

Created by the General Assembly in 1977, MALPF purchases agricultural preservation easements that forever restrict development on prime farmland and woodland, and has permanently preserved land in each of Maryland’s 23 counties, representing a public investment of more than $645 million. With county and other state preservation programs, more than 800,000 acres of farmland and resource land are protected by easements in Maryland. This is the greatest ratio of farmland preserved to total landmass of any state.

And here is a fun fact…the legislator who penned the bill that became MALPF was Senator James Clark, Jr., whose mother, Alda Hopkins Clark, was a renowned horsewoman and a founder of the Howard County Hunt Club.