TOWANDA, Pa. — Old barns and open fields, rolling hills and river flats, picturesque small towns and winding country roads, cattle grazing and corn stalks standing tall, the smell of fresh cut hay and the sun setting over the mountain — this is Bradford County. These pastoral scenes are entrusted to us and we must protect them for future generations.
Farm businesses are struggling right now and vulnerable to development. They may see the quick fix of selling land to pay off farm business debt. Once farmland is destroyed for development, that resource is lost forever. And with that we lose the country charm that attracts people to this area. What will Bradford County look like in 15 years if we do nothing? Will there be any active farms left?
The Bradford County Agricultural Land Preservation Board was established in 2001 for just this purpose; preserving our picturesque settings and productive soils for future generations. The Farmland Preservation Program uses funds to pay willing farmers to sign an agricultural easement and keep their land in agriculture forever. The landowner maintains ownership, but land cannot be used for development.
To date, we have protected 17 farms that cover 4,146 acres. We work to preserve the farms with the best quality soil, highest threat for development, and greatest farmland potential. In 2018 we had 26 qualified farms, representing 5762 acres, that applied to preserve their farmland and are now awaiting funding. The county and state funds that we received in 2017 and 2018 will only allow us to preserve 250 acres.
Private, local municipality, and county donations can help us leverage additional state grants funds. Every dollar donated will generate at least $1 in matching state grant funds! All funds go directly to easement purchase. No funds are used for administrative purposes.
Please show your support by telling local legislators that you believe it is important to preserve farmland in Bradford County.
We are currently accepting applications from landowners that are interested in preserving their farmland. Application period closes Jan. 31. Program information and applications are available on our website www.bccdpa.com/farmland-preservation.
Want to learn more? You can reach us by phone at 570-485-3119 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be happy to answer any questions or help you with your application. Donations accepted (and matched).
— Bradford County Conservation District