Friday, December 17, 2021

Dept. Of Agriculture Protects 2,569 More Acres Of Farmland On 30 Farms

On December 16, the Department of Agriculture announced it has protected 2,569 acres on 30 farms in 18 counties from future development, investing more than $7.2 million in state, county and township dollars. 

In 2021, Pennsylvania's Farmland Preservation Program, which leads the nation, approved 166 conservation easements covering 14,397 acres that will permanently remain productive farms.

"Preserving farmland is an investment in feeding all of our families in the future," Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. "It is one of the most important investments we make together, at every level of government, to ensure the security of our economy, our jobs, our communities and our environment."   

Since 1988, the program has purchased permanent conservation easements on 5,979 Pennsylvania farms, covering 606,215 acres in 58 counties, and ensuring they will remain farms in the future. 

By selling their land's development value, landowners preserve their farms, protecting the land from future residential, commercial or industrial development. 

Pennsylvania partners with county and sometimes local governments to purchase the development value, ensuring a strong future for farming and food security.

The 30 farms preserved last week are in Beaver, Berks, Blair, Cambria, Chester, Dauphin, Erie, Franklin, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Schuylkill, Union, Westmoreland, and York counties. 

Notable farms preserved today include: 

-- The Shirley Weaver farm is a 253.9-acre crop and beef operation in Conewago Township, Dauphin County. The farm is three miles south of Hershey in an area experiencing increased development pressure from residential subdivisions. The Weaver farm has been in the family for more than 100 years, with the sixth generation poised to someday take over the farm. 

The Janet and Andrew Sellard farm is an 84.32-acre crop operation in Gregg Township, Union County. The farm, known as Try-Oaks farm, was named for three stately oak trees that grace the farmstead. The former dairy operation produced award-winning Holstein cattle that were frequently shown at local fairs. The Sellards want to preserve the farm to honor their family legacy and to ensure that the land will always be a working farm.

-- The David Fees farm is a 63.0-acre crop operation in the East Carroll Township, Cambria County. Today's approval of the Fee's farm brings Carol Township's total preserved farmland to 755 acres. Pennsylvania's program strives to preserve large blocks of prime farmland in strong agricultural regions like East Carroll Township.  

Click Here for a list of farms protected.

Visit the Department of Agriculture's Farmland Preservation webpage for more information on this program.

Related Articles:

-- Lancaster Conservancy Preserves 155 Acres Along Conewago Recreation Trail 

-- ReadingE: 200 Acres Preserved In 5 Recent Conservation Deals In Berks County

-- BeaverT: Brighton Twp., Beaver County To Focus On Land Preservation In Next Decade

-- McCaffrey Family And Natural Lands Partner To Protect 35 Acre Farm In Chester County Next To Hibernia County Park 

-- WeConservePA: Local Municipal Open Space Referendums In PA 2021 Status Report

[Posted: December 17, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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