ANNAPOLIS - Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr. has included an $84.6 million appropriation in his budget for the purchase of permanent agricultural preservation easements on farmland, a state official said.
The funding, if approved by the General Assembly, would be a "dramatic increase from previous years and could allow the purchase of as many as 185 new easements," the state Department of Agriculture said in a news release.
"This is a very strong opportunity for farmers who want to keep their land in agriculture forever to consider selling an easement to the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation," said Agriculture Secretary Lewis R. Riley.
If approved, the ag land preservation budget will "more than double the 25-year, 10,000 acres-per-year average and increase the average price paid for easements," Riley said. "Well-managed farmland is more beneficial to the environment than developed land, so preserving working lands is a very positive investment in the environment, our economy and our quality of life."