HARRISBURG, PA — Pennsylvania’s Agricultural Land Preservation Board safeguarded 2,450 additional acres on 29 farms in 16 counties through the state’s nation-leading farmland preservation program. The state board, in partnership with county boards, ended the year by preserving 209 farms (17,505 acres)– the highest number of farms in a decade.
“This collaboration of state, county, local, and federal government combines with the farmer’s commitment to safeguarding our land to help secure a future for agriculture and the world our industry feeds, clothes, and fuels,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “Preserved farmland represents an investment in our best agricultural land for not only our state economy, environment, and food supply, but for our generations to come.”
The 29 farms preserved today are in Adams, Blair, Bradford, Bucks, Butler, Chester, Dauphin, Erie, Lancaster, Lehigh, Northampton, Northumberland, Schuylkill, Washington, Westmoreland, and York counties. Since the program began in 1988, federal, state, county, and local governments have purchased permanent easements on 5,636 farms totaling 577,092 acres in 59 counties for agricultural production.
The farms preserved today include crop, equine, fruit and vegetable, vineyard, timber, dairy, horticulture and nursery, and livestock operations.
Notable farmland preserved includes the Brad, Beth and Caleb Cooper bicentennial farm from Butler County which is a recognized crop farm that has been in the Cooper family since 1796. The family safeguarded the 164-acre operation.
Jeffrey and Donald Buchholz and Joyce Sepulveda preserved their 49.05-acre fruit and vegetable farm in Northeast Township, Erie County. More than 3,000 acres of prime farmland are now protected in the Northeast Township, which fronts Lake Erie, supporting the regions thriving wine industry.
Previously at a risk for development, 171.27-acre dairy operation owned by Richard and Colleen Shaffer of Bradford County was preserved. The dairy adjoins Wyalusing Borough’s growth area and is also next to another preserved farm.
A full list of farms preserved:
The Resh Farm, a 292-acre crop farm
The Lillie M. Negley Farm, a 160-acre crop farm
The Richard R. & Colleen T. Shaffer Farm, a 171-acre crop and livestock operation
The Paul A. & Judith K. Lapinski Farm, a 39-acre crop farm
The James & Christine Simkins Farm #2, a 67-acre crop farm
The Brad, Beth & Caleb Cooper Farm, a 164-acre crop farm
The Marvin Wayne & Darryl Marvin King Farm #2, a 46.39-acre crop farm
The William M. & Anne M. Rawle Farm #1, a 42.62-acre equine operation
The William M. & Anne M. Rawle Farm #2, a 59.58-acre equine operation
The Ronald & Joyce Novinger Farm, a 68-acre crop and livestock operation
The Jeffery L. & Donald H. Buchholz & Joyce B. Sepulveda Farm #1, a 49-acre fruit and vegetable farm
The William K. and Kimberly M. Russell and Jack & Deborah A. Phillips #1, a 61-acre crop farm
The Thomas G. Wilkinson & Janeene L. Hesling Farm #1, a 26-acre vineyard operation
The Thomas G. Wilkinson & Janeene L. Hesling Farm #2, a 29-acre crop farm
The Curtis D. & Epsucheolige L. Hoffman Farm, a 49.57-acre crop farm
The Larry D. & Deborah D. Housekeeper Farm, a 55.82-acre crop farm
The Stephen S. & Anna M. King Farm, a 90-acre crop and livestock operation
The Robert L. & Sandra L. Schnader Farm, a 49.54 crop farm
The Jay David & Kathleen S. Wenger Farm, a 12.57-acre crop farm
The Nelson H. & Alma Wenger Farm, a 108-acre dairy operation
The Peter H. & Jolanta Knight Farm, a 103-acre crop farm
The Barbara E. Peters Farm, a 12.12-acre crop farm
The Upper Macungie Township Farm #1, a 24.45-acre crop farm
The Moore Township Farm #3, a 61.03-acre crop farm
The John R. & Jean Sensenig Farm, a 154-acre crop and livestock operation
The Gary L. & Richard E. Hart Farm #3, a 26.26-acre timber operation
The George R. Godwin, Jr. Farm #2, a 118-acre horticulture & nursery operation
The Wayne C. & Hope L. Frye Farm #4, a 92-acre dairy operation
The Miller Farm, a 218-acre crop and livestock operation
The Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program, as it is formally known, is dedicated to slowing the loss of prime farmland to non-agricultural uses. Funding allows state, county, and local governments to purchase conservation easements from owners of quality farmland. State, county, local, and federal funds committed at the meeting are allocated to county programs to purchase development rights to preserve farms on county waiting lists.
Investments in preserving farmland for future production are being further enhanced by investments Governor Wolf signed through the PA Farm Bill. It created the Agriculture Business Development Center to support business planning, marketing, diversification, and transition planning for Pennsylvania farmers. The bill package also included a realty transfer tax exemption for the transfer of preserved farmland to a qualified beginning farmer.
Source: Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
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