From the Department of Common Sense:
The county raises its rates to compete with developers and landowners finally start to bite. But, of course, life is dynamic:
After going without any takers for five years, Howard County's agricultural preservation program has succeeded in enticing three farmers to participate by doubling the maximum per-acre price.
Calvin Murray, 83, whose family has farmed in Howard County for generations, will sell the development rights on 166.3 acres to the county for $40,000 an acre - twice as much as he could have gotten last year. His parents bought the Mount Airy-area farm he lives on for $75 an acre in 1919, he said.
Two other farms are ready to join Howard's agricultural preservation program - one of 60 acres in West Friendship near the County Fairgrounds and another of 35 acres on Route 94 in Woodbine.
Even now, developers will pay $60,000 or $70,000 an acre, Murray said.It's going to go back and forth like this until all the parcels are spoken for (which is probably soon, so maybe it won't go back and forth at all anymore). The county is always going to rely on the non-economic benefits landowners derive from not selling their property in order to stay competitive, but this too will pass as farming becomes more of an anachronism and land is passed down to generations more adept at office work rather than farm work.
So it goes, I suppose.
Impending realities and my personal milieu aside, this was refreshing:
"I've never been to Columbia in my life, and I don't plan on going," [Murray] said, protesting that he wants no publicity.