The Shapiro Administration announced today that Pennsylvania preserved 2,044 acres on 29 farms in 15 counties, forever protecting them from future residential or commercial development.
The investment of more than $10.2 million in state, county, and local dollars preserves prime farmland, helping Pennsylvania farms continue feeding our families and our economy in the future. The investment illustrates Governor Josh Shapiro’s continued commitment to Pennsylvania’s rural economy and conserving land, soil and water resources to feed future prosperity.
Governor Shapiro’s budget proposes critical investments in Pennsylvania’s $132 billion agriculture industry, including $13.8 million to fully fund the Pennsylvania Farm Bill for the fifth year, a $1 million investment for the creation of a new Organic Center of Excellence, $500,000 for a new Center for Plant Excellence, and $2.5 million for the Farmland Preservation Program – ensuring resources will be available for counties to produce food and feed Pennsylvania’s economy.
“Prime soil and clean water are critical resources for feeding a growing population,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “Families who preserve their farms forge a partnership with government, investing together in ensuring that future Pennsylvania families will have green spaces, and the resources to produce food, income, and jobs. Connecting businesses and communities to resources they need to sustain our economy and feed our quality of life is a key goal of the Shapiro Administration.”
Pennsylvania continues to lead the nation in preserved farmland. Since 1988, Pennsylvania has protected 6,231 farms and 626,321 acres in 58 counties from future development, investing more than $1.67 billion in state, county, and local funds.
Pennsylvania partners with county and sometimes local governments and non-profits 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, Berks, Butler, Centre, Clinton, Cumberland, Lancaster, Lehigh, Mifflin, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Northumberland, Union, and Wayne counties.
Berks County has seen a total investment of $703,376, $604,966 from the state, $98,410 from the county.
Farms protected include: The Nathaniel S. and Rebecca Weaver Burkholder Farm, Richmond Township, 77-acre crop and livestock farm. The Charles M. III and Linda L. Evans Farm, Jefferson Township, 51-acre crop farm. The Elizabeth Moore Farm, Tulpehoken Township, 120-acre dairy 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.