GERMANSVILLE, Pa. — Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding recently announced that the state hit a major milestone, preserving 550,000 acres of farmland over the last three decades.
“By investing our energy and resources in protecting Pennsylvania’s farmland, we are not simply investing in commodities; we’re investing in people and the future of agriculture and our ability to grow food,” said Redding.
The announcement, which celebrated the safeguarding of 550,000 acres, also recognized Lehigh County for its 30 years of participation in the program. Additionally, Secretary Redding presented the owners of Heidel Hollow Farms with two bicentennial awards.
The Bicentennial Farm Program was created in 2004 to recognize farms that have been in the same family for 200 years or more. To date, the Department of Agriculture has recognized 2,026 Century and 180 Bicentennial farms, representing 2,206 families dedicated to both their heritage and production agriculture.
Future of ag
The Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program is dedicated to slowing the loss of prime farmland to non-agricultural uses. Funding allows state, county and local governments to purchase conservation easements from owners of quality farmland.
Since the commonwealth’s program began in 1988, federal, state, county and local governments have purchased permanent easements on 5,329 farms totaling 552,703 acres in 58 counties for agricultural production.
Since the program’s inception, total county contributions have exceeded the half-billion-dollar mark, and state contributions have surpassed $1 billion. To learn more about Pennsylvania’s Farmland Preservation Program, visit agriculture.pa.gov.