WASHINGTON - Frederick County officials have launched a new effort to preserve an old part of their economy: farming.
Since the county's start in 1748, farming has been a staple in Frederick County. There are over 1,300 farms and 188,576 acres of farmland in the county.
But as development moves up the I-270 corridor, county officials are hoping a new plan takes root to preserve both the agriculture and the history.
The "Farming Frederick" campaign was launched over concern that developers in western Maryland are grabbing up land for new homes and commercial buildings, causing worries over the possible loss of farmland. County officials tell FOX 5 they’ve identified 70,000 acres to be restricted for agricultural use only.
Moon Valley Farms is one of the farms in the county that is working to preserve and help grow.
"We sell to over 100 restaurants and local school systems. The demand is so much that we’re actually taking on an additional lease and farming more acreage to try to meet it better," said Emma Jagoz.
Making sure farms like Moon Valley actually have land to expand to is where Frederick County is concentrating its efforts.
"Agriculture is an important piece of Frederick. It’s our leading industry – it’s not to say other industries aren’t important, they are important – but agriculture is our leading industry, and we want to continue to preserve agriculture, and to do that we’ve got to preserve the farmland. But we’ve got to preserve the farmer as well," said Katie Stevens, Frederick County Director of Agriculture.