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Agricultural Initiatives


Between 1960 and 2003, Maryland experienced a loss of 1.67 million acres of farmland. At the same time, the population increased by over 2 million people. Population trends show no sign of slowing; farm acreage loss also continues. New state residents are living on land that was once in agriculture. In correlation, overall fertilizer use for the state of Maryland has shown a general upward trend.  Even as farmers, working from scientifically established nutrient standards, have learned to grow more on less land through a judicious application of fertilizers, the use of fertilizers by the general populace has increased noticeably.

All residents of the State contribute to the waste streams that flow to the Chesapeake Bay. Until we get our arms around the management and use of urban fertilizers, we will not make appreciative gains in the improvement of water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. It is inappropriate to continue blaming farmers for poor water quality, particularly since nutrient management goals are not being achieved even as farmers continue to come into compliance with the nutrient management laws of the State, and the farm use of fertilizers trends downward.

Fertilizer Use Trends in Maryland

On March 7, 2017 the Montgomery County Council passed Bill 31-16, which will provide a tax credit for urban agricultural properties.

This tax credit is for urban agricultural properties that are zoned residential, are between ½ acre and 3 acres and which are used solely for urban agricultural purposes—the owner may live in a house on the property. The tax credit is limited to those properties for which the property owner has more than $5,000 in gross income from the sale of products grown or raised on the urban agricultural property.  To be eligible for the credit a property must be within 1,000 feet of a Metro Station Policy Area.

The amount of the credit is 80% of the County property tax on the property. The credit is available for 5 years and the owner may apply to renew the credit after 5 years, for another 5 years of tax credits. The total number of years a property may receive the credit is therefore 10 years. The tax credit will be terminated for years during which the property owner does not have more than $5,000 of gross income for the property.

Full details and application found here

The Office of Agriculture · 18410 Muncaster Road · Derwood, Md 20855
Phone: 301-590-2823 · Fax: 301-590-2839

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