Tuesday, June 05, 2007

It's as simple as something that nobody knows...

From the Department of Common Sense:

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.

The county raises its rates to compete with developers and landowners finally start to bite. But, of course, life is dynamic:

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.


Livin' Large said...

Refreshing and funny? Yes. Remotely possible? No. An 80+ year old guy who lives in Howard County has never been to Columbia? Not even to Howard County General Hospital as a patient or to visit a relative? I don’t believe that for a second.

What the heck is an 80 year going to do with $6.5 million? Buy a Ferrari? I bet that keeping the farm preserved means much more to him than the money. I am surprised he held out this long.

Anonymous said...

I can believe it. A lot of the older residents of Western Howard fear (and despise) the big city that is Columbia. When we moved in, we got all sorts of advertisements for services in Carroll County or Western Howard so that we wouldn't have to go to the big city.

There are plenty of other hospitals in the area, and, depending on where this guy lives, they are likely closer than Ho Co General.

Not everyone loves Columbia or has need to visit there. Sure, those people are increasing rare to find, but chances are, if you leave the confines of the suburbs and explore Howard and Carroll counties, you'll find them.

Anonymous said...

Can someone direct me to the West County blog?

There are people who've never been to Columbia, albeit they could quite possibly be well-traveled.