Pennsylvania protected 1,969 acres on 26 farms in 12 counties from future development, investing more than $6.4 million in state, county and township dollars. Today’s approved farm purchases bring the state total to 6,004 farms and 608,091 acres of prime farmland that will be forever protected from commercial, industrial or residential development.
“Pennsylvania farmers face tremendous pressure to sell their valuable land to developers,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “Many of these families have farmed through generations of hardships and uncertainty, but they are committed to ensuring their legacy continues and Pennsylvania has the resources to feed future generations.
“Pennsylvania is home to some of the most fertile, non-irrigated soil in the nation, and we have been the most successful of any state in at protecting our prime farmland.” Redding said. This is one of our most important investments in feeding our families and our economy in years to come.”
By selling their land’s development rights, landowners preserve their farms, protecting the land from future residential, commercial or industrial development.
Farm families often sell their land at below market value to ensure that it will remain farmland. Pennsylvania partners with county and sometimes local governments and non-profits to purchase the development rights, ensuring a strong future for farming and food security.
The State Agricultural Land Preservation Board also set the 2022 spending threshold at $38 million. County programs set aside $15.9 in local funds to spend on preserving farms in 2022.
The 26 farms preserved are in Berks, Blair, Chester, Dauphin, Fayette, Lancaster, Lehigh, Luzerne, Mercer, Northampton, Schuylkill and York counties.
Notable farms preserved include the Leon and Linda Burkholder Farm, a 70.6-acre crop and livestock farm in Maxatawny Township, Berks County, is classified by the USDA as nearly all prime farmland soils, the best for producing food. The farm is adjacent to two other preserved farms and within two miles of thirty-four others.
Farms preserved and dollars invested in Berks County. Total investment $643,649 state; $135,900 county. The Leon and Linda Burkholder, and Aaron W. Nolt Farm, a 71-acre crop and livestock farm. The Ammon N. and Edna S. Leid Farm, a 60-acre crop and livestock farm. The Daniel H. & Kristine W. Schuler Farm #2, a 126-acre crop farm. The Richard C. Wolf Farm, a 33-acre crop farm.