Pennsylvania protects 2 farms, 104 acres in Berks County from future development

The Shapiro Administration announced Friday that Pennsylvania protected 3,047 acres on 32 farms in 21 counties from future residential or commercial development.

The investment of more than $10 million in state, county, and local dollars preserves prime farmland for the future, helping Pennsylvania farms continue to feed our families and our economy. Friday’s announcement builds on Governor’s Shapiro continued commitment to the Commonwealth’s agriculture industry and our rural communities.

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“Protecting prime farmland from development is a critical investment in our economy, our environment, and our quality of life,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “These farm families are forging a partnership with government, investing together in ensuring that future Pennsylvania families will have food, green spaces, income, and jobs. Government working to sustain our economy and feed our quality of life is a central goal of the Shapiro Administration.”

Since 1988, Pennsylvania has protected 6,180 farms and 622,238 acres in 58 counties from future development, investing more than $1.6 billion. Pennsylvania leads the nation in preserved farmland.

The newly preserved farms are in Allegheny, Beaver, Berks, Bucks, Butler, Chester, Cumberland, Erie, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montour, Northampton, Somerset, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, and York counties.

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By selling their land’s development rights, landowners ensure that their farms will remain farms and never be sold to developers. Farm families often sell their land at below market value, donate additional land, or agree to conservation practices on their farms in order to leverage additional federal and state money to preserve more family farms.

Pennsylvania partners with county and sometimes local governments and non-profits to purchase development rights, ensuring a strong future for farming and food security.

Highlights among farms preserved at Friday’s State Agricultural Land Preservation Board meeting include Berks County with at otal investment of $306,620, $251,057 state, $55,563 county.

The Robert C. and Ronald C. Ehst Farm, Colebrookdale Township, a 38-acre crop and livestock farm.

The Lynn W. Kline Farm, Robeson Township, a 66-acre crop and livestock farm.

In fall of 2022, Pennsylvania’s nation-leading Farmland Preservation Program secured a $7.85 million federal grant from USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program to support climate-smart conservation on preserved Pennsylvania farms.

The dollars will further multiply conservation investments in the 2022-2023 budget, which devotes $220 million to the new Clean Streams Fund. The fund includes $154 million to establish a new Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program supporting farmers’ efforts to reduce water pollution and improve soil quality, and $22 million to increase funding for the existing Nutrient Management Fund, which supports technical assistance to farms to reduce run-off.

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