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Small farmscape Chris Torres

Maryland program focuses on preserving small farms

The SANG Program helps beginning farmers purchase small farms between 10 and 49 acres in size.

The Maryland Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corp. (MARBIDCO) has announced that the new Small Acreage Next Generation Farmland Acquisition Program is now open.

The SANG Program, which will accept applications on a monthly basis, is designed to help qualified beginning farmers who are not eligible for the original Next Generation Farmland Acquisition Program to purchase smaller farms that are between 10 and 49 acres in size.

It is a relatively fast-moving permanent easement purchase program that’s designed to help facilitate the transfer of farmland to a new generation of farmers while also preserving farmland from future development.

Using the SANG Program, MARBIDCO provides 40% to 60% of the fair market value of the farmland in exchange for a permanent agricultural conservation easement. That money is used as a down-payment to purchase the farm property. The permanent easement is then handed over to another agency to administer. Selection for participation in this program is expected to be competitive. 

“We are very appreciative of the great support that we have received from the Hogan administration, the Maryland General Assembly and the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission for this innovative program, which will help qualified beginning farmers to purchase smaller farms which they could not otherwise do without this assistance,” says Steve McHenry, MARBIDCO’s executive director.

A portion of MARBIDCO’s Next Gen Program’s funding is being allocated to the new SANG Program with additional financial support coming from SMADC for farm and easement purchases in the five Southern Maryland counties.

Although there is no age restriction to apply, “beginning farmers” will have a greater chance of being selected. A beginner farmer is a person who has not owned a farm or ranch, or owns less than 9 acres currently, has not operated a farm or ranch as principal operator for more than 10 years, and has at least one year of farming experience. Most approved SANG Program purchases will be completed within six to eight months.

A commercial lender is also required to be involved in the transaction.

If interested in applying, contact the respective county agricultural land preservation staff in the county where the farmland is located at least one month in advance of applying to discuss the suitability of a potential farm being preserved.

As with the original Next Gen Program, the SANG Program application deadline, including all required application forms and related attachments, is the last business day of every month at the MARBIDCO offices in Annapolis, Md. Late applications will be held over to the next month.

The SANG Program, along with the regular Next Gen Program, will continue to operate if funds are available.

Get further information about the SANG Program, or the Next Gen Program, by contacting Allison Roe, financial programs specialist, at 410-267-6807 or visit marbidco.org.

Source: Maryland Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corp., which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
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