HARRISBURG, PA — Pennsylvania protected 2,569 acres on 30 farms in 18 counties from future development, investing more than $7.2 million in state, county and township dollars. In 2021, Pennsylvania’s Farmland Preservation Program, which leads the nation, approved 166 conservation easements covering 14,397 acres that will permanently remain productive farms.
“Preserving farmland is an investment in feeding all of our families in the future,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “It is one of the most important investments we make together, at every level of government, to ensure the security of our economy, our jobs, our communities and our environment.”
Since 1988, the program has purchased permanent conservation easements on 5,979 Pennsylvania farms, covering 606,215 acres in 58 counties, and ensuring they will remain farms in the future. By selling their land’s development value, landowners preserve their farms, protecting the land from future residential, commercial or industrial development. Pennsylvania partners with county and sometimes local governments to purchase the development value, ensuring a strong future for farming and food security.
The 30 farms preserved are in Beaver, Berks, Blair, Cambria, Chester, Dauphin, Erie, Franklin, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Schuylkill, Union, Westmoreland, and York counties.
Notable farms preserved include:
The Shirley Weaver farm is a 253.9-acre crop and beef operation in Conewago Township, Dauphin County. The farm is three miles south of Hershey in an area experiencing increased development pressure from residential subdivisions. The Weaver farm has been in the family for more than 100 years, with the sixth generation poised to someday take over the farm.
The Janet and Andrew Sellard farm is an 84.32-acre crop operation in Gregg Township, Union County. The farm, known as Try-Oaks farm, was named for three stately oak trees that grace the farmstead. The former dairy operation produced award-winning Holstein cattle that were frequently shown at local fairs. The Sellards want to preserve the farm to honor their family legacy and to ensure that the land will always be a working farm.
The David Fees farm is a 63.0-acre crop operation in the East Carroll Township, Cambria County. The approval of the Fee’s farm brings Carol Township’s total preserved farmland to 755 acres. Pennsylvania’s program strives to preserve large blocks of prime farmland in strong agricultural regions like East Carroll Township.
Farms preserved and dollars invested, by county:
Beaver County – total investment $274.044 state; $86,552 county
- The David G. Haffey farm #2, a 139-acre crop operation
Berks County – Total investment $160,420 state; $60,000 county
- The Jesse R. and Jessica M. Alspaugh farm, an 80-acre crop and livestock operation
Blair County – Total investment $103,026 state; $55,000 county
- The Kevin and Tonya Brubaker farm, an 84-acre crop operation
Cambria County – Total investment $221,245 state; $7,000 county
- The David M. Fees Farm #1, a 63-acre crop farm
- The Deborah and Daniel Sharretts Farm #1, a 142-acre crop farm
Chester County – Total investment $202,425 state; $511,556 county
- The Larry W. And John D. Althouse Farm, a 53-acre livestock farm
- The David K. and Katie F. King Farm, a 55-acre dairy farm
- The David and Phoebe McElhenny Farm, an 18-acre crop and livestock farm
- The Stewart Ramsey and Wendy Komnik Farm, a 28-acre equine farm
- The Peter L. Temple Farm, a 15-acre crop farm
Dauphin County – Total investment $380,850 state only
- The Shirley L. Weaver Farm, a 254-acre crop and livestock farm
Erie County – Total investment $19,891 state only
- The Rick and Bonnie Showman Farm #1, a 10-acre crop and livestock farm
Franklin County – Total investment $5,302 state; $113,110 county
- The Jere D. Hissong, Sr. Farm, a 53-acre crop farm
Lawrence County – Total investment $125,542 state; $15,907 county
- The Lance and Megan Nimmo #3 Farm, a 104-acre crop farm
Lebanon County – Total investment $554,820 state; $139,836 county
- The Pauline E. Grumbine Farm, a 174-acre crop farm
- The Bruce R. and Laura M. Heilinger #2 Farm, a 100-acre crop and livestock farm
Lehigh County – Total investment $285,489 state, $1,160,413 county, $7366 Weisenberg Township
- The Wyatt Jonas and Leah Ellen Gehringer Farm, a 37-acre crop farm
- The Michael G. Wachter Farm, a 49-acre crop farm
- The Nancy A. Walbert Farm, a 78-acre crop farm
- The Arlene R., James D., Mark A., Kevin L. and Lisa L. Yoachim Farm, an 80-acre crop and livestock farm
Northampton County – Total investment $484,177 state only
- The Arlene Savakus Farm, a 98-acre crop farm
Northumberland County – Total investment $156,069 state only
- The Deborah K. Yoder, Denise R. Redcay and Donna L. Kennel Farm, an 81-acre crop farm
Perry County – Total investment $155,353 state, $25,716 county
- The Clarence S. and Lois H. Martin Farm, a 146-acre crop farm
Schuylkill County – Total investment $6,034 state, $448,500 county
- The Carol A. Her, Brenda S. Knorr, Joan M. Conrad and Glenn R. Bensinger Farm #1
Union County – Total investment $759,954 state $153,233 county
- The Alanson E. and Bonnie M. Johnson Farm, a 44-acre crop farm
- The Phares Z. Jr. and Susan Z. Reiff Farm #1, a 77-acre crop and livestock farm
- The Janet M. and Hugh Andrew Sellard Farm, an 84-acre crop farm
- The Brian R. and Barbara J. Shively Farm, a 112-acre crop farm
Westmoreland County – Total investment $390,810 state only
- The Wayne and Craig Frye Farm #1, a 78-acre crop and livestock farm
York County – Total investment $616,147 state only
- The Thomas # and Heidi A. Beck #1 Farm, a 203-acre crop farm
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