Written by Katharine Richter
At an August meeting, 29 farms were added to the Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program by the Pennsylvania Agricultural Land Preservation Board, contributing 2,857 additional acres of farmland for agricultural preservation.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture website, the Easement Purchase Program began back 1988. The program “was formed by amending Act 43 of 1998 to include Section 914.1.” According to the PA Department of Agriculture website, a county participating in the program have their own agricultural land preservation board and the Pennsylvania Agricultural Land Preservation Board oversees the county decisions.
According to a press release from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, “federal, state, county and local governments have invested nearly $1.3 billion to preserve 511,221 acres on 4,830 farms in 57 counties for future agricultural production” under the program. The goal of the program is to protect prime farmland which is at risk of development and from uses which are non-agricultural.
The added farmland comes from farms in 16 different counties and the press release includes a list of each farm and their acreage added to the program.