ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Maryland Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation (MARBIDCO) has announced that the new Small Acreage Next Generation Farmland Acquisition Program (SANG Program) is now open, thanks to support from the State of Maryland and the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC). This program, which will accept applications on a monthly basis, is designed to help qualified beginning farmers purchase smaller farm properties that are between 10 to 49 acres in size and who are not eligible for the original Next Generation Farmland Acquisition Program (Next Gen Program).
The SANG Program is a relatively fast-moving permanent easement purchase program that is designed to help facilitate the transfer of farmland to a new generation of farmers, while also effectively preserving the subject agricultural land 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, and 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. The 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,” said 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. We anticipate, like with the Next Gen Program, that 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 to the program, please contact the respective county agricultural land preservation staff (in the county in which the farmland is located) one month in advance of submitting an application, to discuss the suitability of a subject farm being permanently preserved. As with the original Next Gen Program, the formal SANG Program application submission deadline (including all required application forms and related attachments) is the last business day of every month, at the MARBIDCO offices in Annapolis. Late applications will be held over to the next month. The SANG Program, along with the regular Next Gen Program, will continue to operate as long as funds are available.
Further information about the SANG Program, or the Next Gen Program, may be obtained by contacting Allison Roe, Financial Programs Specialist, at (410) 267-6807, or by visiting MARBIDCO’s website at: www.marbidco.org.
–Steve McHenry, MARBIDCO