The Shapiro Administration recently announced that Pennsylvania preserved 2,645 acres on 35 farms in 18 counties, forever protecting them from future residential or commercial development. The investment of $8.64 million in state, county, and local dollars preserves prime farmland, so that Pennsylvania farms can continue feeding our families and our economy in the future.
The commonsense, bipartisan budget Governor Josh Shapiro signed last month makes critical investments in supporting Pennsylvania farmers in their work to conserve resources, investing in the equipment purchases, business planning, and farm management tools they need to innovate and continue to grow.
“’No farms, no food’ is the battle cry for farmland preservation across the country,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “Pennsylvania has led that charge, and families who preserve their farms join forces with government, investing together to ensure that future Pennsylvania families will have green spaces and healthy farmland available to produce food, income, and jobs.”
Pennsylvania continues to lead the nation in preserved farmland. Since 1988, when voters overwhelmingly supported the creation of the Farmland Preservation Program, Pennsylvania has protected 6,266 farms and 628,967 acres in 58 counties from future development, investing nearly $1.68 billion in state, county, and local funds.
Pennsylvania partners with county and sometimes local governments and nonprofits to purchase development rights, ensuring a strong future for farming and food security. By selling their land’s development rights, farm owners ensure that their farms will remain farms and never be sold to developers.
The newly preserved farms are in Adams, Allegheny, Beaver, Berks, Chester, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Erie, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Lycoming, Montgomery, Northampton, Union, and York counties.
In Berks County, the total investment has been $377,350.95; $261,416.95 from the state, $115,934.00 from the county. Alice A Deanin Farm, North Heidelberg Township, 31-acre crop and livestock farm. Roy and Ruthann Kunkel Farm #1, Albany Township, 32-acre crop farm and Skyline Acres, Inc. Farm, Upper Bern Township, a 65-acre crop farm.
These investments will multiply public dollars invested in conservation initiatives, including the new $154 million Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program, supporting farmers’ efforts to reduce water pollution and improve soil quality.
Pennsylvania’s Farmland Preservation Program also secured a $7.85 million federal grant from USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program to support climate-smart conservation on preserved Pennsylvania farms, an investment that will not only improve conservation efforts, but help measure their impact.