CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. – Farmers in Centre County are voicing their concerns over some of the proposed routes included in PennDOT’s State College Area Connector plan to reroute or expand Route 322, many of which would destroy farms in the path of the expansion. Though a route still needs to be finalized, the possibility of a four-lane highway bisecting some farms has led to a drop in property values and placed a significant hurdle for farmers who are planning for the future of their farms.
“Centre County is home to prime farmland, and some of these proposals have not taken that fact into consideration,” said Dave Fetterolf, Centre County Farm Bureau (CCFB) President. “We understand the idea behind trying to avoid disrupting businesses when planning this route, but the fact that these farms are not being considered as agricultural businesses is unacceptable.”
The project, which is slated to begin construction in 2027, is already impacting the farming community. Agricultural development, sales and estate planning is on hold because the future of these farms is uncertain.
“We want it to be clear that farmers are willing to work with officials in the planning of this project,” said CCFB Vice President Dan Kniffen. “If the existing Route 322 is expanded along the edges of some of these farms, the impact would be much more manageable. But to split farms in half with a new highway means the end of those farms, period.”
At a recent public informational meeting hosted by PennDOT, Farm Bureau leaders were still left with questions concerning the environmental impacts of the project and compensation for any land that would be seized.
“There’s still a lot we don’t know, and there aren’t a lot of answers at this time from PennDOT officials,” said Andy Bater, District 6 State Board Director for Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB). “We need to be asking some hard questions because the effect of some of these proposed routes will be devastating to farm families.”
–Pennsylvania Farm Bureau