Landowner Resources - Government Agencies
USDA Conservation Programs
USDA is the federal department that runs the Farm Bill conservation programs, primarily through two agencies, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS).
The FSA administers the Conservation Reserve Program, including the popular riparian buffer program – the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, or CREP. These programs operate through a network of state and county offices.
NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to farmers to conserve natural resources. NRCS has a local presence in each of the counties in MD. Each field office is operated by a district conservationist and a number of technical support staff who deliver the “nuts and bolts” of the programs. The field offices work most directly with program participants (farmers and landowners).
Soil Conservation Districts
In Maryland, NRCS, FSA and SCD staff are usually located in the same office, which makes it a one-stop shop for landowners (like you) who are interested in applying for funding to do conservation on their land.
- Frederick County Service Center (contact info)
- Washington County Service Center
- Carroll County Service Center
Eligibility Requirements for USDA Farm Bill Programs:
To participate in USDA Farm Bill programs, all applicants must meet the following basic eligibility requirements:
- Adjusted Gross Income (AGI): for non-farm income cannot exceed $1,000,000 ($2,000,000 for a married couple), unless at least 2/3 of your total AGI comes from farming, ranching and/or forestry operations.
- Conservation Compliance:Your land must comply with Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) provisions that prevent soil loss and discourage wetland degradation. If you or your tenant have received any USDA assistance, your farm is likely already in compliance.
- Farm Registration: All participants in Farm Bill programs are required to register their farm with FSA. If you or your tenant have received any past USDA assistance, your farm is already registered and should have a tract and farm number. If you don’t have these numbers, contact your USDA Service Center to have one assigned.
Local and State Contacts for Conservation Programs and Organizations
CARROLL COUNTY SERVICE CENTER | 698J Corporate Center Court | Westminster, MD 21157
Eric Hines, District Conservationist
(410) 484-6696 ext 104 |(410) 848-8258 fax | firstname.lastname@example.org
FREDERICK COUNTY SERVICE CENTER | 92 Thomas Johnson Dr Ste 240 | Frederick, MD 21702-4403
James Myers, District Conservationist
(301) 695-2803 ext 111 | (301) 698-5469 fax | email@example.com
WASHINGTON COUNTY SERVICE CENTER | 1260 Maryland Ave | Hagerstown, MD 21740-2912
James Myers, District Conservationist
(301) 797-0500 | (301) 714-0746 fax | firstname.lastname@example.org
MARYLAND STATE OFFICE | 339 Buschs Frontage Rd, Ste 301 | Annapolis, MD 21409-5534
Malcolm Reeves, Administrative Officer
(443) 482-2938 | (410) 757-0687 fax | email@example.com
County Agricultural Land Preservation Programs and the MD Agricultural Land Preservation Program
Ralph Robertson, Manager - firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 410-386-2214 Fax: 410-386-2120
Location: 225 North Center St., Westminster, MD 21157
Land Preservation Program Administrator
30 N. Market St, Frederick, MD 21701
Agricultural Land Preservation Program:
Eric Seifarth, Rural Preservation Administrator
County Administrative Annex
80 West Baltimore Street, Hagerstown, MD 21740
Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation – Annapolis Office
Maryland Department of Agriculture
50 Harry S. Truman Parkway, Room 104
Annapolis, Maryland 21401-8960
410-841-5860 (voice); 410-841-5730 (fax)
Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program
(Ag Land Preservation administrators in each county (see above) also serve as contacts for this program)
Central and Western Maryland - Shawn Clotworthy, Maryland Department of Natural Resources:
Stacy Schaefer, Associate Director Land Conservation, Maryland Department of Natural Resources,
Maryland Environmental Trust
Megan Sines, Western Maryland Easement Planner
MET website: www.dnr.state.md.us/met
Local Land Trusts
Operating within the watersheds of the Monocacy River, Catoctin Creek, or Antietam Creek:
Carroll County Land Trust (Service area: Carroll County)
Catoctin Land Trust (Service area: Frederick and Washington Counties and beyond) 301-668-4028
Save Historic Antietam Foundation (Service area: Washington County within the viewshed of Antietam National Battlefield, or the site or viewshed of any significant event related to the battle and the Maryland Campaign of 1862).
Box 550, Sharpsburg, Maryland 21782
Local land trusts are conservation organizations that help private landowners permanently protect their land through conservation easements. An easement, which is held by the land trust, generally prevents future development of the land while allowing current and future landowners to continue to own and operate their land. All land trusts accept donated conservation easements, but if funds are available, they can also purchase such easements from the landowner. The donation of a conservation easement provides landowners with a potential federal income tax deduction. If that easement is held jointly with the Maryland Environmental Trust, additional state and local tax benefits are available (see the section on MET).