St. Mary’s County Farm Tour Highlights Continued Need For Agricultural Preservation Funding

A September 21 article highlights the ongoing need for agricultural preservation funding as it reports on a farm tour undertaken by the St. Mary’s County commissioners.

The St. Mary’s County commissioners took a tour of three farms this week, where they were told at one farm that development is still encroaching on agriculture. More funding is needed to preserve farmland, said Brian Russell, a Morganza farmer.

However, there is little money set aside this year to buy any easements to keep land in farming.  …

St. Mary’s County government budgeted $1.67 million this year to buy the development rights to farmland to keep it in agriculture, as the state usually funds $1 million. The county funded $666,000 this year as it has in the past, but the state only funded $169,000 to the county this year, said Donna Sasscer, agricultural specialist for St. Mary’s County government.  …

Sasscer said St. Mary’s County government accepted 20 applications for farmland preservation funds, but could only submit eight properties to the state, though none can be funded this fiscal year, which runs until June 30, 2013.

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