Agriculture Secretary George Greig commended members of the Pennsylvania Agricultural Land Preservation Board Thursday for protecting 2,678 additional acres on 28 farms, noting the continued support for the nation-leading program that expanded on the state’s half-millionth acre preserved at the board’s last meeting.
Since the program began in 1988, federal, state, county and local governments have invested nearly $1.3 billion to preserve 502,757 acres on 4,732 farms in 57 counties for future agricultural production.
“Pennsylvania received much-deserved recognition when we broke the 500,000 acre mark in October, and this meeting has capped off the program’s most successful season in five years,” said Greig. “This year’s achievements are built upon the acres and farms safeguarded at every meeting since 1988. State and county staff, local volunteers, landowners and more – all are essential to preserving each acre for the next generation to farm.”
The board preserved farms in sixteen counties: Allegheny, Beaver, Berks, Bucks, Butler, Chester, Lancaster, Lehigh, Lycoming, Mercer, Perry, Schuylkill, Tioga, Washington, Westmoreland and York.
The Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program identifies properties and slows the loss of prime farmland to non-agricultural uses. It enables state, county and local governments to purchase conservation easements, also called development rights, from owners of quality farmland.
In some cases, the federal Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program provides additional assistance. Last fiscal year, Pennsylvania received $541,000 in federal reimbursements.For more information, visit Agriculture’s Farmland Preservation webpage.