HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania’s Agricultural Land Preservation Board safeguarded 2,432 more acres on 31 farms in 19 counties throughout the state during its April meeting.
“With each meeting of our state board, Pennsylvania preserves more farmland and a way of life that helps to feed a growing world,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “Many hands have a role in protecting our farmland, and I thank all those who are part of this commitment to conserving our rich agricultural resources.”
Since the program began in 1988, federal, state, county and local governments have invested more than $1.3 billion to preserve 533,457 acres on 5,102 farms in 58 counties for future agricultural production.
The state Agricultural Land Preservation Board preserved farms in 19 counties: Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Clinton, Cumberland, Dauphin, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Lycoming, Mifflin, Monroe, Montgomery, Tioga, Wayne and Westmoreland.
The Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program identifies properties and slows the loss of prime farmland to non-agricultural uses. It enables state, county and local governments to purchase conservation easements, also called development rights, from owners of quality farmland.
In some cases, federal funding helps to preserve these lands. In 2016, the department signed a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service that allows Pennsylvania’s program to submit farms for consideration by the federal Agricultural Conservation Easement Program. Currently, seven farms and 651 acres are slated to be preserved using $1,033,550 from the program in 2016 funds, including two farms approved by the state board at today’s meeting. In addition, the department applied for $1,874,131 in 2017 funds to preserve six farms totaling 1,001 acres.
For more information, visit www.agriculture.pa.gov, click “Encourage,” then “Farmland Preservation.”
— Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture