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Land Conservation Tax Incentive renewed for 2013

MET Sign 2

Interested Landowners Should Contact MET Before September 19

The Maryland Environmental Trust (MET) encourages private landowners and working farmers looking to protect their land through conservation easements to act now to take advantage of significant tax deductions. Congress recently renewed the conservation tax incentive which will expire at the end of the year.

“Voluntary land conservation is a cost effective alternative to protect the State’s wildlife habitat, scenic landscapes and productive agricultural lands,” said MET Director Liz Buxton. “We encourage interested landowners to contact us now if they are thinking about protecting their land with an easement, as we anticipate a very busy year and want to be able to assist everyone motivated by this window of opportunity. Congress may not extend this enhanced tax incentive again.”

The original incentive ─ which expired at the end of 2011─ made it possible for MET to successfully conserve 17,195 acres of productive agricultural lands and scenic natural areas between 2006 and 2011 by working with generous landowners.

Landowners who wish to voluntarily protect important natural or historic resources must ensure the easement is established by December 31, 2013 to take advantage of the deductions. To ensure that an easement can be completed by end of the year, those interested should contact MET before September 19, 2013 and submit an application.

The enhanced incentive, which applies to a landowner’s federal income tax:

  • Raises the deduction a donor can take for donating a voluntary conservation agreement from 30% of their income in any year to 50%;
  • Allows farmers and ranchers to deduct up to 100% of their income; and
  • Increases the number of years over which a donor can take deductions from 6 to 16 years.

When a landowner donates a conservation easement to MET, they forgo future development rights but retain ownership and management of their land. They can sell or pass the land on to their heirs.  The incentive makes it more economically feasible for farmers and landowners of modest means to conserve their land and keep it in agricultural production. Voluntary conservation easements protect working farms and also make it easier for families to leave the land to the next generation.

For more on the Maryland Environmental Trust, visit


  • jay beigel

    how much land is required? Thanks, Jay Beigel

    • kking

      One pre-hunt meeting is scheduled. It will be held at Mountain Ridge High School in Frostburg, MD on
      Sunday, October 20, 2013 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm.

      Christina Jarvis
      Black Bear Lottery Coordinator

    • kking

      Dear Mr. Beigel,

      The Maryland Environmental Trust (MET) is the statewide land trust and works with landowners to permanently protect scenic open space and natural resources, primarily with donated conservation easements. This legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust restricts the future uses of the landowner’s property and ensures that natural, scenic and/or working landscape features of the property are protected forever. The easement applies to all future owners of the property and limits such things as the amount of subdivision that is allowed on a property, or the number of houses that may be built and may require a forest stewardship plan. Conservation easements are tailored to fit a landowner’s individual situation and unique features of each property and MET staff work together with land owner to finalize the terms of the easement. There are federal and state tax benefits that may be available to landowners who donate a qualified easement to a land trust.

      Generally, MET will accept donations of conservation easements on parcels of 25 acres or more but does consider easements on less than 25 acres if certain criteria are met.

      Please see our website for more information on MET’s conservation program policy (

      To find out if a MET conservation easement matches your goals and if your property is eligible for our program contact the MET Conservation Easement Planner ( for your county.
      Thank you for your interest in MET.

      Elizabeth Buxton
      Maryland Environmental Trust
      100 Community Place, First Floor
      Crownsville, Maryland 21032
      410-514-7903/410-279-0363 (cell)