FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 22, 2019

 

PA Safeguards 35 Farms, 3,333 Acres, Positions Nation-Leading Farmland Preservation Program for Continued Growth

State board sets highest spending threshold in a decade; counties certify most funds in 12 years  

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Agricultural Land Preservation Board’s first meeting of 2019 set a tone for success throughout the coming year, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said.

The board yesterday preserved 35 farms covering 3,333 acres across 19 counties. The 35 farms preserved are in Allegheny, Beaver, Berks, Bucks, Butler, Cambria, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Greene, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mercer, Northampton, Washington, Westmoreland, and York counties. Since the program began in 1988, federal, state, county, and local governments have purchased permanent easements on 5,462 farms totaling 562,920 acres in 59 counties for agricultural production.

“Looking at the geographic, ownership, and production diversity of the farms preserved at this week’s meeting, it’s clear that this program has a statewide impact and benefits farm families of all types and at all stages, from those growing their operations to those transitioning to a new generation,” Redding said.  “More than $56 million committed for strategically safeguarding our most vulnerable farmland this coming year is an incredible success only made possible because of the commitment of government at all levels, farm families, volunteer county and state board members, and the citizens of Pennsylvania. Together, we have created and sustained a program that is a model for our country.” 

The 17-member board approved its highest annual spending threshold in a decade: $38 million approved for 2019 purchases of development rights from farm owners. Additionally, counties certified the highest amount of funding for preservation in twelve years at $18.2 million.

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 today’s meeting, and allocated to county programs, will secure the purchase of development rights to preserve farms waiting on the county backlog lists.

In some cases, federal funding helps to preserve these lands. The 2018 Farm Bill provides a significant opportunity to leverage federal funds through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. The department will negotiate a cooperative agreement to participate in the federal Agricultural Conservation Easement program in the coming year

These investments in preserving farmland for future production will be further enhanced by investments Governor Wolf proposed last week in the PA Farm Bill.

To learn more about Pennsylvania’s Farmland Preservation Program, visit agriculture.pa.gov.

Farms Preserved:

Allegheny
The Urban Homesteaders, LLC farm, a 77.85-acre crop and livestock operation 

Beaver
The Guidice-Davis Farm #1, a 127.91-acre crop and livestock operation 

Berks
The Shirley B. Frank Estate farm, a 108.4-acre crop and livestock operation
The Glenn E. and Rose M. Jacoby farm, a 24.5-acre crop farm
The Paul J. Stump, Sr., Estate farm, a 109.9-acre crop farm 

Bucks
The White Star Limited Partnership LTD farm, a 102-acre crop farm 

Butler
The Kathy B. Allen farm, a 35.36-acre crop and livestock operation
The Farm Kings LLC farm, an 88.29-acre livestock operation
The John P. Jordan farm, a 56.76-acre crop farm 

Cambria
The Justin E. And Marci D. Beyer farm #1, a 68.26-acre crop and livestock operation 

Chester
The Kenneth J. and Deborah S. Roberts farm, a 50.57-acre crop farm
The Samuel M. and Barbara S. Stoltzfus farm, a 98.14-acre crop farm

Cumberland
Creekside Dairy LLC, a 48-acre crop farm
The C. Richard and Janet L. Kutz farm, a 70.37-acre crop farm
The Donald A. McKeehan farm #8, a 100.47-acre crop and livestock operation
The Donald A. McKeehan farm #9, an 88.8-acre crop farm
The James D. and Amy C. Paulus farm, a 45.3-acre crop farm
The Richard D. and Mary Ellen Yeager farm, a 50.69-acre dairy farm 

Dauphin
The Erich Bair farm #1, a 128.52-acre crop and livestock operation
The Gordon Kochenour farm #1, a 145.8-acre crop and livestock operation 

Greene
The William Milesky farm, a 116-acre crop and livestock operation 

Lackawanna
The David Colombo farm #1, a 145.85-acre crop and livestock operation 

Lancaster
The Jay Ivan and Ruth Ann Stoltzfus farm, a 107.06-acre crop farm 

Luzerne
The Rosemarie Mylet farm #1, a 104.58-acre crop farm
The Bryan Ochs farm, a 37.53-acre crop farm 

Lycoming
The Richard Eiswerth farm, a 78.98-acre crop farm

Mercer
The Scott and Verna McCarl farm, a 187.12-acre crop and livestock operation
The Benjamin J. and Kristy L. Mozes farm, a 105.02-acre crop and livestock operation 

Northampton
The Donald S. and Mary K. Harris farm, a 61.41-acre crop farm
The Moore Township farm #2, a 37.92-acre crop farm
The James L. Wackermann Sr. farm, a 26.23-acre crop farm 

Washington
The Marko Brigich Jr. farm, a 104.94-acre crop and livestock operation
The Robert W. Miller farm, a 446.24-acre crop and livestock operation

Westmoreland
The Loyalhanna Watershed Association farm, a 119.99-acre crop and livestock operation

York
The Priscilla D. Knight farm, a 28-acre crop farm 

MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Powers – 717.783.2628

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