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6/11/2013 - 06.11.13 Howard County Bicycle-Friendly Business Workshop READ MORE
4/26/2013 - 04.26.13 Howard County to Construct First Streetscape Projects on Route 40 READ MORE
3/21/2013 - 03.21.13 County Executive Ulman to Offer Remarks at Launch of the Opportunity Collaborative READ MORE
3/13/2013 - 03.13.13 Howard County Earns Fourth Award for Downtown Columbia Plan READ MORE

Agricultural Preservation

Howard County Agricultural Land Preservation Program (ALPP) 
Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) 
Howard County Agricultural Land Preservation Board (ALPB)
Howard Ag Newsletter
Other Ag Resources
Interactive Preservation Map    





Since 1978, Howard County has been protecting farmland through the Agricultural Land Preservation Program (ALPP) using three methods:

(1) the purchase of agricultural preservation easements by the County,
(2) the dedication of agricultural preservation parcels as provided for in the County's zoning regulations, and 
(3) the purchase of agricultural preservation easements by the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation. 

Using these tools, the County has preserved over 20,000 acres of farmland in the Rural West of Howard County.


MALPF Easement Terminations 

The documents below are intended to answer questions concerning the termination of agricultural land preservation easements in Howard County. The only easements that are potentially eligible for termination are those that were acquired by the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) program. All Howard County easements are in perpetuity. Of the 21,650 acres that are protected by an agricultural easement in Howard County, only 3,960 are MALPF easement properties and are therefore potentially eligible to terminate. The other 17,690 acres are county easements and are not eligible to terminate. Even so, this is an issue of concern for county residents. We want to keep everyone informed about the termination request review process and about the details regarding specific termination applications. Click on the links below for access to some helpful resources on this topic: 

On November 26, 2012, the Agricultural Land Preservation Board will hold a hearing on the termination of three easements. For more information please visit the ALPB web page.


RECENT NEWS | Joy Levy | 410-313-5407 |


Farmland Forever SignsOrder Form | Sample Sign |


At the request of County Executive Ken Ulman, the Agricultural Land Preservation Program (ALPP), working with staff in the County’s Office of Public Information, has created a colorful roadside sign for property owners in the ALPP to display, indicating that their farm is preserved. The 24" x 30" sign is made of aluminum. The County will construct the sign post and do the installation. There will be no cost to program participants for the sign or its installation.

If you would like to show your pride in preservation, please complete and return the form to Joy Levy, ALPP Administrator, at 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City, MD 21043. Joy can also be reached at 410-313-5407 or jlevy@howardcountymd.gov.


 | Joy Levy | 410-313-5407 |

County Purchased Easements | See Batch 14 Update Above |

Through this voluntary program, a farmer whose land meets certain size and soil criteria can offer to sell a perpetual easement to the County, while holding fee simple title to the land and continuing to farm. The farm may be sold, but the easement, which restricts the development of the property, remains with the land and binds all future owners.

Forms and Procedures | Owner/Child Lot Process | Unrestricted Lot Process | Letter of Intent | Letter of Understanding/Owner Lot| Letter of Understanding/Child Lot | Tenant House Application

In order for property owners to exercise the lot and dwelling rights they retain upon entering the ALPP purchased easement program, there are certain procedures that must be followed and forms to be filled out.

PolicyForest Conservation | Lot Location Nontidal Wetland Mitigation | Parcel Division | Permitted UsesRoad ROW DedicationTenant Houses | Soil Conservation and Water Quality Plans |

The primary regulatory framework for the ALPP is Section 15.500 of the Howard County Code. In addition to the laws that govern the program, there are many policies that implement its goals.

County Dedicated Easements | Density/Cluster Exchange Option | Application Form| Soil Conservation Form |

The ALPP also accepts agricultural easements dedicated to the County as a result of the subdivision process, either as density sending parcels or cluster subdivision residue parcels.


In addition to easements purchased by the Howard County ALPP, the MALPF program also purchases agricultural easements, and has acquired almost 4,000 easement acres in Howard County. The MALPF program is administered locally, which means that any questions or requests pertaining to MALPF properties should be directed to Joy Levy.

Easement Termination | Termination Policy |

All MALPF easements prior to 2004 contain a provision that allows a property owner to petition to buy back their development rights from the State after 25 years, if it can be shown that profitable farming is no longer feasible on the property.

For an easement to be terminated, both MALPF and the county's governing body must approve the owner's request. MALPF's responsibilty is to judge economic feasibility. Howard County executive Ken Ulman has approved a policy for termination review that focuses on land use priorities, including consistency with comprehensive planning goals and the effect of termination on vicinal properties.

The original intent of the MALPF easement was that it would be perpetual, and that termination would require extraordinary circumstances. Howard County will work very hard to protect the investment it has made in agricultural preservation over the years. 

| Joy Levy | 410-313-5407 |
| Ag Board Meeting Schedule/Info |

The ALPB makes recommendations to the County Executive on the acquisition of new agricultural land preservation easement properties, reviews proposals concerning land already subject to an easement and assists ALPP staff with policy creation and refinement. 

| Kathy Zimmerman | 410-313-6500 |
2010, Issue 12009, Issue 32009, Issue 2 |

This newsletter consolidates the communications of the ALPP, the Howard County Economic Development Authority's Agricultural Marketing Program and the Howard County Cooperative Extension office. 

| Agricultural Marketing Program | Cooperative Extension | Soil Conservation |

The ALPP works closely with other agencies within the County to provide support to the agricultural community.