WEST CHESTER, PA — 42-acres of farmland in Cochranville will be preserved thanks to state and county investments for agricultural land preservation, states state Senator Carolyn Comitta.
The Mark A. & Claudia V. Cole farm, a 42-acre crop and livestock operation, received an investment of $8,994 from the Pennsylvania Farmland Preservation Program and $152,682 from the county program.
“Preserving local farms helps conserve open space, protect our environmental resources, and ensure access to healthy, nutritious, locally-grown food,” said Comitta, who serves on the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. “Agriculture is part of our heritage and our economic success in Chester County and Pennsylvania. These investments are important for all those reasons, as well as countering the encroaching pressures of development on our farms and rural areas.”
The preserved farmland comes as part of nearly 1,999 acres on 21 farms in 13 counties protected from future development today through the Commonwealth’s Farmland Preservation Program.
In total, the Cole farm, along with another farm located in Chester County, the Leila & Sander Lehrer farm, a 56-acre crop operation in Warwick Township, were awarded $18,861 in state and $497,728 in county farmland preservation investments.
“Farmland preservation provides a secure pathway for future generations to succeed,” said Secretary Redding. “It ensures future agriculturalists have land to farm, and in return, consumers will have food on the table. Once farmland goes out of production, it rarely comes back, which is why farmland preservation is so important.”
Pennsylvania leads the nation in both the number of farms and acres permanently preserved for agricultural production. The Farmland Preservation Program, also known as the Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program, was developed to strengthen Pennsylvania’s agricultural economy and protect prime farmland. This program enables state and county governments to purchase conservation easements from farmers.
Since it was established in 1988, the program has invested more than $1.6 billion to purchase permanent conservation easements on 5,949 Pennsylvania farms, covering 603,646 acres, in 58 counties, ensuring they will remain farms in perpetuity.
A 2019 research study funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and conducted by Dr. Thomas Daniels of the University of Pennsylvania, found the total economic impact of farmland preservation in Pennsylvania to be valued from $1.8 to $2.9 billion annually. The report also concluded environmental benefits of farmland preservation are estimated at an additional $1.9 billion annually.
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