Elkton, Maryland — On Thursday, October 12, Governor Larry Hogan and the Maryland Environmental Trust honored Bill and Phyllis Kilby for donating a permanent conservation easement on their 44-acre Colora farm. This easement donation to the Maryland Environmental Trust is a generous and permanent gift protecting open space and agricultural potential, forever. Bill is the President and founder of Cecil Land Trust, which works to protect farms, forests and streams in Cecil County, and the Kilbys lead by example.
An October 12th reception in Annapolis celebrated the Maryland Environmental Trust’s 50th anniversary and honored landowners who have donated conservation easements since 2014. A conservation easement is a voluntary agreement between a landowner and land trust or government entity, which limits future development and protects environmental values such as fertile soils, clean water, and wildlife habitat. A landowner retains the right to sell or pass on the property to heirs.
Mr. and Mrs. Kilby also donated two other conservation easements on the Kilby Cream property along Hopewell Road in Rising Sun. Those easements, donated in 2005 and 2007, together protect another 175.8 acres of prime Cecil County farmland. All three Kilby easements, totaling 220 acres, are co-held by Maryland Environmental Trust and Cecil Land Trust.
The Kilbys also protected part of their family farm through the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation, a state program for purchasing conservation easements. Conserving private lands—either by donating or selling an easement—protects our agricultural economy, keeps fertile soils in farming, strengthens the local tax base, protects beautiful views, our rural legacy, and vital wildlife habitat, and it keeps our water clean. These demonstrated public benefits of conservation easements have led to federal and state tax benefits for easement donors, and to federal, state and local government programs to purchase qualified conservation easements.
“Protecting our farms through permanent conservation easements was the right thing to do,” stated Mr. Kilby, “and I look forward to continuing to work with Cecil Land Trust and our community and supporters to protect lands and waters throughout Cecil County.”
More information is available by calling the Cecil Land Trust at (410) 441-3717, or going to MET’s website.
Pictured Above: Maryland Environmental Trust Director William Leahy, Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton, Maryland Environmental Trust Board of Trustees Chair James Constable and Governor Larry Hogan present Cecil Land Trust President, Bill Kilby (center) with an award on October 12, in recognition of Bill and Phyllis Kilby’s voluntary and permanent protection of their family farm land. (Photo Credit: Joe Andrucyk, Executive Office of the Governor.)