Agricultural & Woodland Preservation Program

Preserving our County’s heritage agricultural and woodland preservation programs.

Planning Framework 

The County has three primary planning documents that establish goals and strategies relating to agricultural and woodland preservation. These include the Plan2040 General Development Plan, the 2022 Land Preservation, Parks, and Recreation Plan, Green Infrastructure Master Plan, and South County Small Area Plan. Within these plans are policies, recommendations, and strategies related 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. The most recent offers made through these programs ranged from $8,000 to $10,000 per acre.


Easement Acquisition Programs

  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 31, 2021, Anne Arundel County has a total of 5,483 acres are permanently preserved through MALPF easements.  
  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 31, 2021, a total of 6,675 acres have been permanently preserved through this program. 
  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 conservation 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 31, 2021, approximately 1,723 acres were preserved through the Rural Legacy program. Approximately 16,952 acres (45 percent) of the RLA has been protected. For additional information, go to Maryland DNR Resource Management/Land Conservation.

Contact Us


1 Harry S Truman Parkway, Annapolis, MD 21401

Billy Gorski, Ag Planner
Maureen Heimbuch

Chair of Ag Preservation Advisory Board