Thursday, October 10, 2019

PA Preserves 27 More Farms Covering 2,115 Acres Bringing Permanently Preserved Farmland To 574,642 Acres

On October 10, the PA Agricultural Land Preservation Board approved permanently preserving another 27 farms covering 2,115 acres in 15 counties.
The board preserved farms in: Adams, Blair, Bucks, Cambria, Chester, Dauphin, Franklin, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Montour, Schuylkill, Tioga, Union, and York.
 Since the program began in 1988, federal, state, county, and local governments have purchased permanent easements on 5,607 farms totaling 574,642 acres in 59 counties for agricultural production.
“Pennsylvanians share a connection to our farmland – we reaffirmed that commitment 30 years ago with the creation of a state farmland preservation program, and through state funding initiatives, county-level programs, non-profits, and farmers themselves, we continue to live that commitment to food production in the Keystone State,” said Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding. “Safeguarding our land is the first step to securing our best agricultural land for generations to come.”
The farms include three preserved by the Hissong family in Franklin County that support a dairy operation, which join four other farms totaling more than 700 acres that have been preserved by the family. 
The board also preserved the Mark and Kelly Shannon farm in Adams County, which grows fruits and vegetables for sale at local farmers markets and for delivery to customers in Washington, D.C.
Seven farms approved in Lehigh County are preserved using funds solely sourced from the county. Counties have contributed more than $500 million to the state’s preservation efforts since the program’s inception.
Other farms preserved include equine, poultry, crop, and livestock operations. Many families accepted reduced compensation for their easements, and several donated their farmland outright.
The Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program, as it is formally known, 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. 
State, county, local, and federal funds committed at the meeting are allocated to county programs to purchase development rights to preserve farms on county waiting lists.
For more information on the program, visit the Department of Agriculture’s Farmland Preservation webpage. 
[Posted: October 10, 2019]

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