Pennsylvania Continues to Lead Nation, Adds 31 Farms in 17 Counties to Nearly 6,000 Permanently Preserved
Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania’s Agricultural Land Preservation Board at its April meeting safeguarded 3,134 additional acres on 31 farms in 17 counties through the state’s nation-leading farmland preservation program.
The board preserved 31 farms covering 3,134 acres across 17 counties: Adams, Berks, Blair, Centre, Chester, Columbia, Crawford, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lackawanna, Lebanon, Lehigh, Mercer, Monroe, Montgomery, Washington, and York. Since the program began in 1988, federal, state, county, and local governments have purchased permanent easements on 5,494 farms totaling 566,305 acres in 59 counties for agricultural production.
“Behind every farm is a story: of families and the natural resources they both use and conserve,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “Our farmland preservation program seeks not only to preserve farmland, but our economy, our food supply, and a way of life. The commitment of a cadre of volunteers and staff makes each of these covenants – in which farmers entrust to us the security of their farmland in perpetuity – possible.”
The safeguarded lands included nurseries, dairies, crop farms, incubators for local agriculture, and one of the largest farms preserved in the 31-year history of the state program. Among the farms preserved were three submitted by Lehigh County’s Lower Macungie Township. The farms will be conveyed from ownership by the township to private ownership and used to mentor new and beginning agriculturalists. The 641-acre Dunn family farm in Crawford County used multiple years’ worth of state and local funding to complete a purchase that has been planned since 2013.
“These are just the latest stories of agriculture that have seen new chapters written thanks to our preservation program,” added Redding. “I particularly admire the innovative spirit of the Lehigh County and Lower Macungie Township staff and volunteers who are working hard to make these opportunities a reality for an up-and-coming generation that is excited about the opportunities of production agriculture. My best wishes to all farmers who benefit from this meeting’s investment in Pennsylvania.”
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 today’s meeting, and allocated to county programs, will secure the purchase of development rights to preserve farms waiting on the county backlog lists.
In some cases, federal funding helps to preserve these lands. The 2018 federal Farm Bill provides a significant opportunity to leverage federal funds through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. The department will negotiate a cooperative agreement to participate in the federal Agricultural Conservation Easement program in the coming year
These investments in preserving farmland for future production will be further enhanced by investments Governor Wolf proposed in the PA Farm BillOpens In A New Window.
The Hoffman Farm Properties, LLC farm, a 103.02-acre crop farm
The Robert E. and Marsha J. Chappell farm, a 23.9-acre crop farm
The John R. Bicksler farm #1, a 107.9-acre crop farm
The Allyne D. Greco farm #1, a 69.7-acre crop farm
The Schantz Family Trust farm, a 76.1-acre crop farm
The Brandon K. Treichler farm #1, a 45.9-acre crop and livestock operation
The Brandon L. and Stacy L. Weiss farm #1, a 36.9-acre livestock operation
The Robert O. Bailey farm, a 134.34-acre crop and livestock operation
The Ralph Wheland farm #1, a 137.72-acre crop and livestock operation
The John B. and Rachel A. Esch farm, a 102.84-acre crop farm
The Glenroy Farm L.P. and Glenknockie Limited Partnership farm, a 219.65-acre crop farm
The Mackenzie Family Trust farm, a 48.9-acre crop farm
The Sadie S. Stoltzfus farm, an 83.63-acre crop farm
The Paul and Elizabeth Tickle, Norman Lehr, and L&T Landholding Partnership farm, a 44.94-acre nursery
The Suzanne H. and Thomas J. Jaagus and Elizabeth I Cruse farm, a 98.93-acre crop farm
The William L. Dunn farm, a 641.01-acre crop and livestock operation
The Dennis L. and Donna M. Calaman farm, a 76.86-acre crop and livestock operation
The Lester M. and Lori L. Wenger farm #2, an 81.44-acre crop farm
The Clair Bush farm #1, a 208.39-acre crop farm
The Albert M., Joseph L., and Donna M. Hajos farm #1, a 74.59-acre crop and livestock operation
The Kenneth H. and Regina A. Martin farm, a 122.98-acre crop and livestock operation
The David O. and Sonia E. and Michael Fink farm, a 27.02-acre crop farm
The Lower Macungie Township farm #1, a 29.96-acre crop farm
The Lower Macungie Township farm #3, a 37.19-acre crop farm
The Lower Macungie Township farm #4, an 18.87-acre crop farm
The Sylvia L. Heim farm #1, an 81.22-acre crop farm
The Wanda Martin farm, a 59.83-acre crop farm
The Joseph and Deborah Modica farm, a 56.4-acre crop and livestock operation
The Kenneth L and Dana L. Pfister farm, a 26.98-acre crop and livestock operation
The Robert D. Lash farm, a 68.65-acre crop and livestock operation
The Barley Farms LP farm #2, a 188.68-acre crop farm