TOWANDA, Pa. — The Bradford County Agricultural Land Preservation Board is excited to announce the preservation of two farms in Bradford County.
The first farm is 104 acres in Springfield Township owned by Gary and Eunice Braund and Paul and Trudy Sheeley. This land is part of Braund-Valley Farms, a multi-generational dairy and crop farm. This parcel consists of crop fields and pastures used for grazing replacement heifers. Braund-Valley Farms, established by Elwood and Leatrice Braund, preserved an adjacent parcel in 2004.
The second farm preserved is the Jon Harnish property, 57 acres in Granville Township. It is part of a larger beef and crop farm, producing forages and grains used to feed beef cattle.
Both family farms have a long history of cooperation with the Bradford County Conservation District. Conservation practices installed over the years include: crop rotation, contour farming, diversions, strip cropping, fencing, prescribed grazing, no-till, cover crops, spring development and riparian forest buffers.
The Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program has preserved 542,800 acres on 5,213 farms in 59 counties for future agricultural production. Since the program began in 1988, federal, state, county and local governments have invested nearly $1.4 billion in farmland preservation. The program helps the state, county and local governments purchase conservation easements, or development rights, from owners of quality farmland. The initiative is designed to identify and preserve farmland to slow the loss of prime farmland to non-agricultural uses.
“Farmland is a precious resource that is increasingly threatened by development,” said State Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “Farm families are the original stewards of that precious natural resource and Pennsylvania’s Farmland Preservation Program supports their efforts to keep their valuable land in agricultural production for future generations.”
The Bradford County Agricultural Land Preservation Program was established in 2001. The program has preserved 16 farms and 3,903 acres in the county. In 2017, BCAPP received 18 qualified applications for 3,974 acres. Hopefully, these farms will be preserved in the future as funding becomes available.
The next program application period is Jan. 1–31, 2018. For more information go to www.bccdpa.com/farmland-preservation or contact Amy Kneller at 570-485-3119.
— Bradford County Conservation District