Pennsylvania protects 4 farms, 327 acres in Berks County from future development

The Shapiro Administration recently announced that Pennsylvania protected 2,038 acres on 22 farms in 13 counties from future residential or commercial development. The investment of nearly $5 million in state, county, and local dollars preserves prime farmland for the future, helping Pennsylvania farms continue feeding our families and our economy.

The investment illustrates Governor Josh Shapiro’s continued commitment to Pennsylvania’s rural economy and conserving our farmland, soil and water resources to feed future prosperity.

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Governor Shapiro demonstrated his commitment to conservation in his 2023-24 budget proposal, continuing to support the conservation tax credits, loans, grants, incentives and initiatives in the Pennsylvania Farm Bill, and proposing a new $2.5 million investment to help guarantee the integrity of state and local investments in preserving prime farmland.

“Fertile, healthy farmland and clean water are critical to our economy and our future,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “The families who preserve their farms 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 6,202 farms and 624,277 acres in 58 counties from future development, investing more than $1.6 billion in state, county, and local funds. Pennsylvania continues to lead the nation in preserved farmland.

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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.

In Berks County, the total investment includes $897,598, $856,439 state, $41,159 county.

1)Boyd Revocable Living Trust, William T. and Karen A. Boyd, trustees, Longswamp Township, a 67-acre crop farm.

2)Cedar Creek Dairy, LLC, Upper Tulpehocken Township, a 43-acre crop farm.

3)The Henry L. and Madeline M. Seidel Farm, Greenwich Township, a 122-acre crop farm.

4)The Barry A. Smith Farm, Greenwich Township, a 95-acre crop and livestock farm.

These investments will multiply public dollars invested in conservation initiatives, including the recently launched $154 million Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program, supporting farmers’ efforts to reduce water pollution and improve soil quality.

Pennsylvania’s 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, an investment that will not only improve conservation efforts, but help measure their impact.

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