Pennsylvania’s Farmland Preservation Program announced this month that it has protected 3,528 acres on 40 farms in 19 counties from future development, investing more than $9.7 million in state and county dollars in preserving prime farmland for tomorrow. The investment also leverages $735,170 that will go toward preserving farms on waitlists in six counties. The approvals bring Pennsylvania’s total to 6,044 farms and 611,620 acres of farmland that will be forever protected from commercial, industrial or residential development.
The 40 newly preserved farms are in Adams, Berks, Bradford, Butler, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Erie, Franklin, Greene, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Mifflin, Monroe, Northampton, Snyder, Tioga and York counties.
About $600,000 in state funds and $220,000 in county funds were used to protect three farms in Adams:
The Wayne H. Mummert Farm, a 111-acre crop farm
The Doyle O. and Jennifer S. Waybright Farm, a 124-acre crop farm
Hanover Shoe Farm #28, a 213.6-acre horse farm, which included $322,880 in federal reimbursement
“Protecting prime farmland is public policy that works, and a priority we all agree on,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “It’s a long-lasting, highly effective partnership among state, federal, county and local governments and the farm families who are committed to feeding future generations. Together, we are protecting Pennsylvania’s priceless resources and sustaining our economy.”
By selling their land’s development rights, landowners preserve their farms, protecting the land from future residential, commercial or industrial development. Farm families often sell their land at below market value to ensure that it will remain farmland. Pennsylvania partners with county and sometimes local governments and non-profits to purchase the development rights, ensuring a strong future for farming and food security.
Pennsylvania has a long-standing partnership with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, the first of its kind, which has invested more than $16 million to date to implement measures on farms that will improve water and soil quality in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
To date, federal programs have leveraged more than $37 million to assist Pennsylvania in preserving more than 41,000 additional acres of farmland.
Six federally funded farms approved at today’s meeting support the preservation of 505.87 acres. These farms, noted in the list below, will leverage $735,170 in federal reimbursements that will go toward preserving farms on waitlists in their counties.
Gov. Tom Wolf’s $1.7 billion plan to help Pennsylvania recover from the COVID-19 pandemic would further extend these investments. The plan devotes $450 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars to support conservation, recreation, and preservation efforts including farmland preservation.
Click here for a complete list of the PA farms being protected.