Agricultural Preservation

Accomplishments As of May 1, 2016
Harford County Agricultural Preservation Program 29,572 Acres
Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation 13,838 Acres
Rural Legacy (Department of Natural Resources) 3,136 Acres
Maryland Environmental Trust 2,945 Acres
Total Acres Under Permanent Easement 49,491 Acres
Leader in Preservation
Since the 1st Agricultural Land Preservation Easement was recorded in 1977, Harford County has been a nationally recognized leader in efforts to permanently preserve our most valuable natural resource: productive farmland. Harford County has preserved over 49,000 acres protected under a variety of preservation programs. Permanently protecting these large connected areas of farmland assures a stable land base for a wide variety of agricultural enterprises. This in turn helps retain local agricultural support businesses, decreases the costs of community services for the entire county and maintains the high quality of life that makes Harford County such a desirable location.

Operating within the Department of Planning and Zoning, the Agricultural and Historic Preservation section offers a variety of options for landowners to preserve their land on a competitive basis. The Harford Agricultural Land Preservation Program (HALPP) and Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) easement programs account for the bulk of land preserved. Rural Legacy easements and donated Maryland Environmental Trust easementsare other key elements supporting the preservation program. Just recently, both the Harford County and MALPF programs have begun accepting donated easements as well.

Agricultural Preservation Advisory Board
A five member Agricultural Preservation Advisory Board assists county staff in administering the programs. Board members evaluate and rank all easement applications, as well as provide recommendations to the department for any actions on easement properties. The Board holds open monthly meetings as posted on the county website.

Basic eligibility for all programs require properties to be agricultural or forest production, have at least one extra development right available and meet certain minimum soil productivity standards as determined by the USDA NRCS.