WASHINGTON COUNTY -- The Washington County Commissioners came closer to reaching an agreement on a system to rank farms for preservation funds but stopped short of approving a new ranking system Tuesday.
The commissioners suggested changes to the ranking system that will be taken to the Washington County Agricultural Board for approval.
A final checklist used to rank farms will be presented again to the commissioners in a couple of weeks, said Eric Seifarth, the county's rural preservation administrator.
The checklist uses a point system to determine the order of easement payments through the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Program (MALPP), a state program that pays farmers who agree to continue farming their land.
Because there are always more applicants than money available, the ranking system decides who gets paid first, Seifarth said.
During an April discussion, some commissioners suggested changes to the system.
Aleshire said properties that are contiguous to other preserved farms get too much weight under the ranking system, which he said leaves many farmers without the possibility of receiving MALPP funds.