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Preserving Our County’s Heritage


General Information

Banner: Agricultural and Woodland Preservation

* * * Selling To Developers Or Shutting Down Your Farming Operation Is Not The Only Solution. * * *
Dealing with the current unforgiving economy, the day to day life of a farmer has become exhausting. Many farmers are leaving the business and even selling land if they own what they operate.
Landowners interested in preserving their land from development may qualify for one or more programs offered through Anne Arundel County in partnership with the Maryland Department of Agriculture and Department of Natural Resources. The most recent offers made through these programs ranged from $6,000 to $8,000 per acre.


So, if there is some interest in preserving your farm, give us a call or stop by so we can explain the program details. There is no obligation or commitment by submitting an application.
The American farmer brings a great deal to this Nation’s table, both economically and nutritionally speaking. The American farmer’s land, when managed well and preserved for generations to come, is a gift to the future and all who follow.


Application Deadlines

  • November 1 & April 1 – Anne Arundel County Agricultural and Woodland Preservation Program
  • May 1 – Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation
  • January - December – Rural Legacy (based on annual funding)

Forms and Fact Sheets

       Anne Arundel County Agricultural and Woodland Preservation Map Icon: PDF
       Rural Legacy Application Icon: PDF
        Anne Arundel County Application to Sell an Easement Icon: PDF
        Anne Arundel County Program Deed of Easement Icon: PDF (5 pages)


Planning Framework

The County has three primary planning documents that establish goals and strategies relating to agricultural and woodland preservation. These include the General Development Plan, South County Small Area Plan, and 2013 Land Preservation, Parks, and Recreation Plan. These plans are comprised of policies, recommendations, and strategies related primarily to promoting agriculture and forestry as a viable sector of the local economy; encouraging the use of best management practices, to reduce nutrient runoff, and promote healthy streams; discourage the loss of prime agricultural and forest land to development; and working cooperatively with State agencies and property owners to increase the amount of land protected through easement acquisition.

Easement Acquisition Mechanisms

  1. Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF)

    The program is a purchase of development rights program.  When the State of Maryland purchases your development rights, you voluntarily sell your right in perpetuity to develop your farm for residential, commercial, or industrial use.  This means that, for whatever compensation mutually agreed upon by you and the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation, you will preserve the land for agricultural use, subject to the Annotated Code and the Foundation’s Regulations. Anne Arundel County has participated in the MALPF Program since 1980. As of December 1, 2014, Anne Arundel County has a total of 5,118 acres are permanently preserved through MALPF easements.  Click on the following link for additional information. 

  2. Anne Arundel County Agricultural and Woodland Preservation Program

    The County’s Agricultural and Woodland Preservation Program was created in 1990 to supplement the MALPF program and to offer an alternative for agricultural preservation that recognized the County’s small farms.  This program is a purchase of development rights program where you voluntarily sell your right in perpetuity to develop your farm for residential, commercial, or industrial use subject to Anne Arundel County Code Article 17 Title 10.  Permitted activities include any farm use of the land; operation at any time of machinery used in farm production or the primary processing of any ag products; any normal ag activities and operations, in accordance with good husbandry practices, that do not cause bodily injury or directly endanger human health, including activities that may produce normal ag related noise and odors; and the sale of farm products produced on the farm where the sales are made. As of December 1, 2014, a total of 6,118 acres have been permanently preserved through this program.

    In 1999 an Installment Purchase Agreement (IPA) option was added to stimulate interest and add value to the program.  An installment purchase agreement (IPA) is a contract between the County and the property owner selling his/her development rights.  In the IPA, the County promises to pay the purchase price for an easement on specified dates in the future.  The IPA also commits the County to pay interest on the outstanding purchase price between the time that the easement is given to the County (at closing) and the date that the purchase price is paid to the seller. 
  3. Rural Legacy Program
    The Rural Legacy Program, developed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), consists of two concepts: first, delineating a specific geographic area of a county in need of focused land conservation efforts, and, second, acquiring easements from willing landowners within that area. Anne Arundel County’s Rural Legacy Area (RLA) consists of approximately 37,381-acres and is contained entirely within the Priority Preservation Area as designated in the 2009 General Development Plan.  The RLA covers an area south of Central Avenue, extending west to east between the Patuxent and the Rhode Rivers.  The key goals of the Anne Arundel Rural Legacy Area are to complete a greenway of gently rolling farmland, preserving views from some of the County’s most scenic and historic roads, and protecting multiple other scenic, historic and natural resources.  As of December 1, 2014, approximately 1,319 acres were preserved through the Rural Legacy program. Approximately 16,038 acres (43 percent) of the RLA has been protected.  For additional information, go to the DNR Resource Management/Land Conservation area at 

Contact Information

A.A. County Recreation and Parks
Agricultural and Woodland Preservation Programs

1 Harry S Truman Parkway
Annapolis, MD 21401
(410)-222-7317 ext. 3553 or ext. 3046

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