By CBS Baltimore Staff

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — Howard County Executive Calvin Ball on Wednesday announced the county purchased 127.7 acres of farmland to add to its Agricultural Land Preservation Program, an initiative to preserve farmland in the county.

“Agriculture plays a vital role in Howard County, supporting our economy and our environment,” said Ball. “Our farms provide locally grown food, minimize our environmental footprint, and create jobs. As we confront the threat of climate change, we must enact thoughtful policy that ensures we protect and preserve agricultural land and support the many people whose livelihoods depend on our farms.”

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The overall cost of the easement is $5.4 million, the county said. It will be funded by a quarter of the 1% local transfer tax that is dedicated to the program.

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A farmer whose land meets certain size and soil criteria can offer to sell a perpetual easement to the County, while owning the land and continuing to farm, the county said.

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The easement is an addition to the almost 22,900 acres that is already part of the program.

CBS Baltimore Staff