HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Farmland Preservation Board set a new record by preserving the state’s 400,000th acre.
Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of acres preserved.
The approved farmland included three Northampton County farms, which gives the county 10,302 acres preserved on 94 farms since 1991.
The achievement was celebrated at the Graver farmstead, a 123-acre beef operation and bicentennial farm that was approved for preservation in 2007.
The 55 farms preserved today are in 25 counties: Adams, Bedford, Berks, Bucks, Butler, Chester, Dauphin, Erie, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Perry, Schuylkill, Union, Warren and York.
Two counties preserved farmland for the first time. Greene County preserved the 108-acre farm owned by William and Lura Ann Cree, and Warren County preserved the 152-acre farm of H. Peter Block.
In its 20-year history, Pennsylvania has become the national leader in farmland preservation, covering 3,634 farms and 401,185 acres.
Since 1988, state and federal funds, along with counties and local municipalities, have contributed more than $1 billion to preserve farmland.
The state’s farmland preservation program works through the Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program 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.
For more information on the farmland preservation program, visit the department of agriculture’s Web site.