Land Protection

31 Million Farmland Acres Gone in 20 Years

Conversion to Urban

A recent report from the American Farmland Trust found that:

  • The loss of farmland is serious and will accelerate unless action is taken.
  • Almost 31 million acres of farmland were lost between 1992 and 2012 – equal to ALL of the farmland in Iowa.
  • Development disproportionately occurred on agricultural land, with 62% of all development occurring on farmland.
  • Expanding urban areas accounted for 59% of the loss; Low-density residential development accounted for the other 41%.
  • Maryland had one of the highest rates of agricultural land being converted into urban developments.

GMOs Improve Soil Health


cover cropsMaryland farmers have surpassed the 2015 Goal for planting cover crops.

  • Planted after the fall harvest, cover crops help to absorb unused plant nutrients that remain in the soil and prevent erosion over the winter months. Cover cropsimprove soil productivity and protect water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.  *MDA
  • Irrigation allows farmers to apply specific nutrients to certain areas of their crops as they grow through the season.  This enables the crop to utilize all the nutrients and virtually eliminate the risk associated with a drought.  Research has proven irrigated crops actually mine the soil of nutrients, thus helping reduce the legacy phosphorous issues. *MDA
  • Nutrient Management plans reduce the potential for nutrients to wash or infiltrate into water supplies and protect Bay water quality by preventing over-application of commercial fertilizers and animal manure. *MDA
  • Nutrient Management plans are tested and updated every three years to stay current with farmland and scientific research. These plans were mandated by the state in 1998, under Governor Paris Glendening. *MDA
  • Maryland had one of the first agricultural land preservation easement programs. For many years MD was noted as having the most acres of preserved farmland, currently about 292,357 acres. *MDA