Pennsylvania safeguarded 2,638 acres on 30 farms in 16 counties through the state’s nation-leading Farmland Preservation Program. Since 1988, the program has purchased permanent conservation easements on 5,843 Pennsylvania farms, covering 594,457 acres, in 59 counties, ensuring they will remain farms in the future.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have seen vividly how crucial our farms are for food in our stores and on our tables,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “Ensuring that farms stay farms instead of becoming warehouses or parking lots is an investment in all of our futures, and one of the most effective partnerships among farmers and government at every level.”
Preserved farms are protected from future residential, commercial or industrial development. They represent targeted investments in the future of farming and food security in Pennsylvania.
The 30 farms preserved today are in Beaver, Butler, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Northampton, Schuylkill, Snyder, Union and York counties.
These farms include crop, cattle, sheep, goat and dairy operations.
Notable farms preserved today include the Keith Eckel Farm, a 78.85-acre crop operation with soils classified as the most productive, along the banks of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in Lackawanna County.
The David F. and Diane M. Friedman Farm, a 48.45-acre crop operation in Northampton County, is being preserved in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In addition to providing land necessary for food production, preserved farms with forested and natural areas also provide significant wildlife habitat.
The Alfred D. Nagle Farm, a 98.53-acre crop operation in Schuylkill County, is part of a 4,100-acre Agricultural Security Area (ASA), of which 646.42-acres are permanently preserved. There are more than 1,000 townships across Pennsylvania with designated Agricultural Security Areas. This designation is required for farms to be preserved through the state farmland preservation program.