Thursday, August 19, 2021

Dept. Of Agriculture Celebrates 600,000 Acres Of PA Farmland Preserved

On August 19, Gov. Tom. Wolf announced Pennsylvania’s nation-leading farmland preservation program has reached more than 600,000 acres of farmland preserved, leaving it forever safeguarded from future residential, commercial, or industrial development.

Since 2015, 100,000 acres of farmland under the Wolf Administration.

“Pennsylvania’s farmland preservation program is of utmost importance – agricultural development and farmland preservation are inextricably tied to food security and nutrition and the population of Pennsylvania and the world are only increasing,” said Gov. Wolf. “My investments in preserving Pennsylvania farmland for perpetuity are critical to increasing the quantity and diversity of food, driving economic transformation, and ensuring that land is always available for Pennsylvania’s $132.5 billion agriculture industry.”

The 600,000-acre milestone was celebrated at the Martin Farm in Berks County today, where Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding was joined by Sen. Judy Schwank (D-Berks), Minority Chair of the Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs chair and industry leaders.

This week, Pennsylvania safeguarded an additional 2,515 acres on 29 farms in 14 counties, investing more than $7.5 million in the future of agriculture.

“In just 34 years, Pennsylvania has preserved more than 600,000 acres of the most productive, non-irrigated farmland in the United States,” said Redding. “As climate change and our growing population place increased demand on land use, this program becomes even more critical to the resilience of agriculture. The acreage preserved over the past 34 years, and what we look forward to preserving tomorrow, is an investment in the future needs of Pennsylvania, the nation and the world.”

The 29 farms preserved were in Berks, Butler, Centre, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Erie, Lancaster, Lehigh, Mercer, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill and York counties.

These farms include a vineyard as well as multiple crop and livestock operations.

Click Here for a complete list of farms preserved this week.

"Not every state is fortunate enough to have an agriculture industry like we have in Pennsylvania,” said Sen. Schwank. “It's a major economic driver and serves as the green infrastructure that sustains the Commonwealth environmentally. Preserving farmland ensures we can grow our own crops and rely less on imports and products. Buying locally grown food keeps money in local economies, creates jobs and provides economic stability to farmers. The continued growth of the Farmland Preservation program is very encouraging, and I believe will help Pennsylvania maintain its robust agriculture industry well into the future." 

Since the program began in 1988, federal, state, county, and local governments have purchased permanent easements on 5,928 Pennsylvania farms totaling 601,647 acres.

For more information on this program, visit the Department of Agriculture’s Farmland Preservation webpage.

[Posted: August 19, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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