by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
Harrisburg – Pennsylvania’s Agricultural Land Preservation Board [on Jun 13th] safeguarded 1,906 additional acres on 23 farms in 11 counties through the state’s nationally renowned farmland preservation program.
The board preserved farms in Berks, Bucks, Cambria, Columbia, Franklin, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton and Wayne counties. Since the program began in 1988, state, county and local governments have invested nearly $1.2 billion to preserve 475,000 acres on 4,426 farms in 57 counties for future agricultural production.
“Our farmland preservation program plays a critical role in keeping agriculture the cornerstone of Pennsylvania’s economy,” Agriculture Secretary George Greig said. “The producers who preserve their farms are helping ensure our prime farmland stays in agriculture production for generations to come, even against the challenges of population growth and urbanization.”
In its 25th year, the Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program identifies properties and slows the loss of prime farmland to nonagricultural uses.
The program 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 a record $6.1 million in federal reimbursements.