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County Commissioners conserve new properties; honor Land Conservancy and 4H

Wednesday was a day to appreciate preserving Adams County’s rural landscape as the commissioners approved the purchase of new land for preservation and honored two conservation agencies at their meeting.

The commissioners approved a proposal from Ellen Dayhoff, AG Land Conservation Board Program administrator, to purchase five agricultural conservation easements in Conewago and Union Townships. The purchase should go to settlement by the end of March.

Three farms from Union Township will be purchased with $171,484 in township funds and $414,822 in county funds. The two farms in Conewago County will be purchased with $396,407 from township funds and $106,477 from the county. The county investment comes from the general fund 2020/2021 farmland preservation program annual allocation.

The properties are part of a multiple farm preservation program, including Hanover Shoe Farm, where famous harness racing horses are bred and raised. “An equine study completed by the Adams County Planning Office shows what a strong economic driver the equine farms are for the county,” Dayhoff added.

Dayhoff said the four additional Hanover Shoe farms are being purchased through state and federal funding and are slated to close by the end of the month. A further two properties, including the “home” Hanover Shoe farm, are in the process of being acquired and may go to settlement by the end of 2023 or early 2024.

The commissioners also proclaimed March 9 to April 21 as Land Conservancy of Adams County Month and March 12 to 18 as Pennsylvania 4-H Week.

According to Board President Dave Salisbury, the Land Conservancy of Adams County (LCAC) was born out of the county’s agricultural land preservation program in 1995. Since then, it has worked with more than 130 local landowners to preserve more than 12,000 acres of farmland, meadows, forests, streams, and historic spaces, including 43 miles along streams and creeks.

Commissioner Phiel, a conservancy board member, reminded the public of an opportunity to support the LCAC by participating in the 36th annual art auction that will take place from April 7 to 19. Art donations are accepted from March 13 to 29. More information regarding the event and contributions can be found at preserveadams.org/art-auction-23. 

The Adams County Commissioners proclaimed March 9 to April 21 as Land Conservancy of Adams County (LCAC) Month. From left, James Martin, county commissioner,
Norma Calhoun, LCAC treasurer, Randy Phiel, county commissioners, Dave Salisbury, LCAC board president, Marty Qually. commissioner and Sarah Kipp, LCAC conservation director.

Darlene Resh, 4-H club spokesperson, thanked the commissioners for their support and praised the 60 county volunteers who supply about $170,000 worth of work hours for the club and its members.

There are more than 1000 members in Adams County 4-H club programs, including their after-school programs and embryology school enrichment program. The enrichment program provides educational materials that teach elementary students about the care and management of chicken development as part of a three-week science program.

“I love seeing preservation and future in the same room,” Commissioner Marty Qually said. “It should be a goal in every government to keep our land healthy.”

Commissioner James Martin thanked the club for its work with Adams County youth, saying, “Leadership, citizenship, life skills – there are very few places where that happens in such a negative society. You are like an oasis.”

New Chief Public Defender

Scott Harper, former Adams County assistant public defender, has been named Chief Public Defender of Adams County. Harper graduated from Widener University School of Law in 2005 and was in private practice as a trial attorney, serving much of south-central PA. He joined the Adams County Public Defender’s staff in 2021. A former business owner, Harper graduated from Juniata College in 1991. He and his wife of 31 years have two children.

Featured image caption:

Front Row Left to Right:

Carly Keller, 4-H Beef Club member; Casey Zirk, 4-H Goat Club member; Darlene Resh, 4-H Educator; Makayla Keller, 4-H Teen Senate member.

Back Row Left to Right:

Noah Kuhn, 4-H Sheep Club member;  Donna Scherer, Customer Relations Manager; Alexis Lansford, 4-H Educator; Jim Martin, County Commissioner; Randy Phiel, County Commissioner; Charlie Lory, East Berlin 4-H Shooting Sports Club member; Marty Qually, County Commissioner; Laura Klunk, New Oxford 4-H Club Leader.

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Judith Cameron Seniura is a freelance reporter. She began her journalism career in the early ‘70s and has written for newspapers, magazines, and other media in Ontario, Canada, Alaska, Michigan, Nebraska, San Antonio, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

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