Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced today that Pennsylvania’s Agricultural Land Preservation Board added 2,512 acres on 33 farms in 16 counties to the nation’s leading farmland preservation program. Today’s $9.4 million investment purchases development rights for these farms to ensure they will remain in agricultural production permanently.
“Pennsylvania farmers sacrifice to put food on our tables in good times and bad,” Redding said. “Pennsylvania’s Farmland Preservation program is a covenant between farmers and government to protect our priceless land resources. It is the foundation of food security and a joint investment in feeding our future.”
The $9,429,743 total investment includes nearly $8.9 million in state money, more than $540,000 in county dollars, and $15,000 invested by townships. Since the program began in 1988, federal, state, county and local governments have purchased permanent easements on 5,756 Pennsylvania farms totaling 586,884 acres in 59 counties, investing more than $1.6 billion to ensure that Pennsylvania will have land to produce agriculture in the future.
The 33 farms preserved today include crop, fruit and vegetable, equine, dairy and livestock operations in Berks, Centre, Chester, Dauphin, Erie, Franklin, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Northampton, Perry, Westmoreland and York counties.
Notable farms include the 120.6-acre Earle Wickersham farm in Newlin Township, Chester County, which provides fresh dairy and egg products to the local community. The farm’s exemplary soil and water conservation practices contribute to a cleaner Brandywine Creek watershed and Delaware Bay. All preserved farms are required to follow a conservation plan that addresses soil, water and nutrient concerns.
The 104.31-acre Quatro, LLC, potato farm in Girard Township, Erie County is a prime example of climate, soil and infrastructure conditions for fruit and vegetable production that are so important to the local and state economy. According to the county’s comprehensive plan, Girard Township has some of the most significant farmland in Pennsylvania.
The 27.77-acre Michael and Kris Stofanak farm in East Allen Township, Northampton County joins a cluster of more than 300 contiguous acres of preserved farmland in a township that has recently lost significant amounts prime farmland to warehouse development.