Pa. preservation program saves more farmland

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HARRISBURG, Pa. — Another 1,916 acres of prime farmland on 23 farms are now protected from development and will forever remain in agricultural use, Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding said recently in announcing the latest action by Pennsylvania’s nation-leading farmland preservation program.

Farms

The newly preserved farms are in Adams, Berks, Butler, Chester, Franklin, Lancaster, Lehigh, Northampton, Perry and Wayne counties. Since 2003, Gov. Edward G. Rendell’s administration has worked to make Pennsylvania the national leader in farmland preservation, achieving eight milestones.

These included the preservation of the 4,000th farm, which was celebrated in June on the Zimmerman Farm in Lebanon County, and the 400,000th acre, recognized in 2008 at the Graver Farm in Northampton County.

Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of farms and acres preserved. In the program’s 22-year history, 4,096 farms and 444,647 acres have been preserved, approximately half of which were safeguarded during the Rendell administration.

Recognizing the need for resources and succession-planning tools for owners of preserved farms, Rendell created the Center for Farm Transitions in 2004 to support transferring ownership of a farm from one generation to the next and business planning. The center hosts workshops for owners of preserved farms and resources are available online at www.iplantofarm.com.

Funds

Since 1988, state, county, township and federal partners have invested more than $1 billion in farmland preservation funds. Rendell championed Growing Greener II in 2005, which provided $80 million to accelerate the rate of preservation and preserve an additional 33,713 acres. In total, the state has invested $337 million in farmland preservation since 2003.

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