Agricultural Preservation


Joy Levy, Program Administrator | 410-313-5407
Recent News

County Executive Re-Opens ALPP

County Executive Calvin Ball re-opens the ALPP on June 5, 2019. The program is now accepting new applications!

ALPP Announcement Video | Photos


What is ALPP? 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 future owners.


How do I apply? Please read through the informational links below for a more step by step process of the application procedures.

Overview | Application | Application Process Procedures | Soil and Water Quality Plan Status | Eligibility Criteria


Who should I contact if I have questions? Joy Levy, Program Administrator, 410-313-5407

Tax Credit for Land in ALPP

What is the tax credit? A property tax credit shall be granted, upon application, to an owner of agricultural land to which an easement has been permanently conveyed or assigned to the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation or the Howard County Agricultural Land Preservation Program. The credit shall equal 75% of any County property tax imposed on the land included in such easement, not including any improvements.

The Agriculture Credit will be noted on your Real Property Tax Bill under "Charge Description".

When and how do I apply? An eligible owner of agricultural land shall apply for the tax credit with the Director of Finance within 30 days of the issuance of each annual property tax bill, which occurs in June. However, applications can be submitted as early as March. Owners must apply EVERY year to be granted this tax credit. Applications can be found here.

All applications should be mailed to:

Agricultural Land Preservation Program
Department of Planning and Zoning
3430 Court House Drive
Ellicott City, MD 21043

Contact Information

Joy Levy,  Program Administrator, 410-313-5407

Dejuan Felder, Assistant Director of Finance, 410-313-1180


Changes to the Agricultural Preservation Law

On October 1, 2018 the Howard County Council passed CB 63-2018, which significantly amended the law that governs the Agricultural Land Preservation Program (ALPP) to expand the duties of the Agricultural Preservation Board (APB), and to broaden the provisions of the law beyond the preservation of agricultural land to include the sustainability of agriculture as a viable sector of the County's economy.

The Howard County Agriculture Sustainability and Land Preservation Act (the Act) now provides that, in addition to acquiring agricultural land preservation easements, the County intends to support farming, agricultural endeavors and its investment in easements by offering technical assistance, promoting agribusiness innovation and developing future market opportunities.

The APB will now serve in an advisory capacity on agricultural issues to the County Executive, the County Council, the Department of Planning and Zoning and the Hearing Examiner. The APB can also provide outreach and education regarding the ALPP to the public, and serve as a sounding board for citizen concerns and complaints related to farming.

James Zoller, Agricultural Coordinator in the Office of Community Sustainability, is the Executive Secretary to the APB. As the County's liason to the agricultural community, Mr. Zoller is the primary contact for general farming related issues and concerns, which he will field to the appropriate county department and assist with a resolution.


Commercial Solar Facilities 

Howard County Agricultural Land Preservation Program Easements (County Purchased & County Dedicated) are eligible to apply for a commercial solar facility (CSF) through the Conditional Use (CU) zoning process. Please read the following documents very carefully for important information regarding CSF eligibility and submission requirements:

Please contact the Division of Public Service and Zoning at 410-313-2350 for questions and instructions on how to submit a CU Petition for a CSF.


Agricultural Preservation Easement Acquisitions 

 Since the opening of the current Howard County Agricultural Land Preservation Program (ALPP) acquisition cycle in 2013, the County has permanently protected 17 properties by purchasing their development rights, for a total of over 1093 acres. In addition, the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) purchased one 71-acre easement. As of March 2019, Howard County’s farmland preservation amounts to a grand total of 22,798 acres.