Pa. adds farmland to preservation list

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HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania’s nation-leading farmland preservation program has set aside an additional 3,332 acres on 31 farms for permanent agricultural production.

In the program’s 21-year history, 428,708 acres on 3,928 farms have been preserved for agricultural use in perpetuity, safeguarding them from development.

Easement purchases

The state’s farmland preservation program works through the Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program, which was developed in 1988 to help slow 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.

The latest farms to be preserved are in 19 counties: Armstrong, Beaver, Berks, Bucks, Butler, Dauphin, Lancaster, Luzerne, Mercer, Mifflin, Monroe, Montgomery, Montour, Somerset, Union, Washington, Wayne, Westmoreland, Wyoming and York.

The farms preserved in western Pennsylvania include: Armstrong: The Martha Morrison farm, a 133-acre beef operation; Beaver: The Theodore and Debora Sockaci farm, a 69-acre crop farm; Butler: The Wayne and Wanda Hixon farm, a 73-acre dairy operation; Mercer: The Daniel and Sherry Ealy farm, a 110 dairy operation; William and Bonnie McCullough farm, a 131-acre crop and beef operation; Somerset: The Robert and Janet Miller farm, a 172-acre crop and dairy operation; Washington: The David and Barbara Carlisle farm, a 395-acre crop and cattle operation; Westmoreland: The Robert and Leonora Kepple farm, a 148-acre crop and beef operation, The Nick and Marian Yuris farm, a 119-acre dairy and crop farm and The Karen Zucco farm, a 50-acre crop farm.

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