Pa. preserves more farmland

HARRISBURG —Pennsylvania’s Agricultural Land Preservation Board recently safeguarded 1,445 additional acres on 21 farms through the state’s nationally renowned farmland preservation program.

The board preserved farms in 10 counties. They are Armstrong, Beaver, Berks, Chester, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Northampton, Westmoreland and York counties.

Since the program began in 1988, state, county and local governments have invested nearly $1.2 billion to preserve 471,601 acres on 4,385 farms in 57 counties for future agricultural production.

“Gov. Corbett is committed to preserving our state’s farms and the way of life for our more than 62,000 farm families,” said Agriculture Secretary George Greig. “I thank the producers who have enrolled their farms in this program. Their foresight will help keep a new generation of farmers farming.”

The board approved a $33 million state funding threshold for 2013 easement purchases. Counties across Pennsylvania have certified $15.4 million for farmland preservation in 2013.

How it works

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program identifies properties and slows the loss of prime farmland to non-agricultural uses.

The program enables state, county and local governments to purchase conservation easements, also called development rights, from owners of quality farmland. In some cases, the federal Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program provides additional assistance.

Last fiscal year, Pennsylvania received $6.1 million in federal reimbursements, the largest amount ever. For more information, visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us and search “farmland preservation.”

About the Author

Chris Kick lives in Wooster, Ohio. An American FFA Degree recipient, he holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Ashland University. He spends his free time on his grandparents’ farms in Wayne and Holmes counties. More Stories by Chris Kick

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