Land Acquisition and Planning

Maryland's Rural Legacy Program

What are some other land acquisition/protection methods?

  • Purchase of conservation easements. Agricultural conservation easements are designed specifically to protect farmland. Landowners who sell easements retain the right to use their land for farming, ranching and other purposes that do not interfere with or reduce agricultural viability. They continue to hold title to their properties and may restrict public access, sell, give or transfer their property, as they desire. Conservation easements limit land to specific uses and thus protect it from development. These voluntary legal agreements are created between private landowners (grantors) and qualified land trusts, conservation organizations or government agencies (grantees). Grantors can receive federal tax benefits as a result of donating easements. Grantees are responsible for monitoring the land and enforcing the terms of the easements.

  • Fee estate purchase involves the acquisition by the purchaser (often a land trust) of title, structures, and all development rights associated with real property.

  • Fee simple purchase involves the acquisition of the title, structure and the whole bundle of rights (as opposed to just development rights under Fee Estate) associated with real property.

  • Donation of fee estate and easement. Under the Rural Legacy Program, both easement and fee estate interests in real property may be voluntarily donated by property owners to Rural Legacy Sponsors or the State.

  • Tax-exempt installment purchase. Under this arrangement, an installment purchase agreement is entered into with a landowner to buy conservation easements, whereby the Rural Legacy Sponsor or the RLB would pay interest-only payments annually or semi-annually for a period of years and the balloon principal payment would be postponed until the end of the period, i.e., 30 years.

Rural Legacy Program Staff Contacts