Nearly 2,800 acres added to farmland preservation in Pa.

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Pennsylvania farmland

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania’s Agricultural Land Preservation Board safeguarded 2,793 more acres on 27 farms in 15 counties during its meeting April 16.

The 27 farms preserved are found in Berks, Bucks, Centre, Chester, Erie, Juniata, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Mercer, Northampton, Susquehanna, and York counties.

Since the commonwealth’s program began in 1988, federal, state, county, and local governments have purchased permanent easements on 5,297 farms totaling 549,728 acres in 59 counties for agricultural production.

Preserved

Western Pennsylvania farms preserved include the following.

  • Erie County, The Michael W. Mongera farm No. 2, a 208.95-acre crop and livestock operation.
  • Lawrence County, The Leonard and Patricia L. Stewart farm, a 63.53-acre crop and livestock operation.
  • Mercer County, The Timothy R. and Tammy Leigh Hanna farm, a 160.59-acre crop farm.

Easements

In 2016, the Pa. Department of Agriculture signed a cooperative agreement with the U.S. 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.

The department secured more than $1.7 million under its most recent cooperative agreement to preserve eight farms totaling 1,652 acres, with the potential for additional funding in 2018.

The Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program allows state, county, and local governments to purchase conservation easements, from owners of quality farmland.

State, county, local, and federal funds committed at the April meeting, and allocated to county programs, will secure the purchase of development rights to preserve farms waiting on the county backlog lists.

Details

To learn more about Pennsylvania’s Farmland Preservation Program, visit agriculture.pa.gov.

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