Critical Farms Program

Overview & History
In 1994, Frederick County started the Critical Farms Program. This program works as a lender by providing full-time farmers the up-front capitol they may need to purchase farmland in the county. The funds given to purchase farmland are considered options to acquire an easement on the property. 

Once the county has granted the option funds to a farmer, he or she must apply for a period of 5 years to sell an easement under the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Program (MALPF) or another governmental land preservation program. If the applicant is successful in selling an easement to the State, they can then repay the County the original option price.

If the farmer is not successful in the easement sale, they may exit the Critical Farms Program and repay the option price, or they may keep the Critical Farms money and an easement is placed on the property. 

The county has assisted 37 farmers in acquiring farms since the inception of the program, which has transferred over 4,600 acres to full-time farmers for continued agricultural use.

Program Resources