HARRISBURG, Pa. — The state Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee on Monday approved a measure to give property owners more options for managing their preserved farmland, according to the bill’s sponsor Sen. Gene Yaw, R-23.
Senate Bill 145 will provide necessary updates to the state’s Agricultural Area Security Law to clarify how landowners may want to handle the need for additional farm residences when preserving their farm. Currently, state law allows for the creation of one additional farmstead residence on preserved farms. However, some farmers may not want to exercise this option, and would instead wish to waive that right to reduce the value of their land.
Additionally, SB 145 will clarify that preserved farm owners can subdivide their land for a second residence, whether it is standing or needs to be constructed. State law currently allows for subdivision only when another farmhouse is going to be constructed, not for one that is standing.
“Adjustments to our Agricultural Area Security Law are needed to reflect the current and future needs of preserved farm owners,” Sen. Yaw said. “I believe that the owners of preserved farmland should be allowed to exercise their own judgment, based on individual circumstances.” The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, Pennsylvania Farmland Preservation Association and the Lancaster County Agricultural Preserve Board all voiced support for the measure prior to Monday’s committee meeting.
Senate Bill 145 now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.
— Senator Gene Yaw