Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania’s Agricultural Land Preservation Board announced today it has preserved farms from across the state, including an eight-generation dairy and a conservation award-winning beef farm.
“Preserving farmland is a team effort among diverse groups united in our effort to spare the state’s best agricultural soils from development,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “Together we help farmers to take an important step toward securing a future for their operations. This meeting is the culmination of an important chapter in the stories of 47 farm families from all corners of Pennsylvania.”
The board preserved 47 farms covering 3,561 acres across 21 counties: Berks, Bucks, Chester, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Lycoming, Mercer, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, Tioga, Union, and Westmoreland. Since the program began in 1988, federal, state, county, and local governments have purchased permanent easements on 5,540 farms totaling 569,767 acres in 59 counties for agricultural production.
Farms included the Marvin and Catherine Teter farm in Schuylkill County was preserved through a partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. The federal Agricultural Conservation Easement Program reimburses up to half of the easement purchase price of qualifying farms, freeing county funds to purchase additional easements.
The Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program, as it is formally known, is dedicated to slowing the loss of prime farmland to non-agricultural uses. Funding allows state, county and local governments to purchase conservation easements from owners of quality farmland. State, county, local, and federal funds committed at today’s meeting are allocated to county programs to purchase development rights to preserve farms on county waiting lists.
Farms in Berks
- The Gerald P. and Alice J. Faust farm #1, a 48.3-acre crop farm
- The Joseph M. and Debra L. Kohler farm #1, a 150.7-acre crop farm
- The Joseph M. and Debra L. Kohler farm #2, a 80.8-acre crop farm
- The Kevin Z. and Melanie R. Martin farm #1, a 43.4-acre crop farm
- The Jeffrey R. and Deborah A. Sweinhart farm #1, a 61.7-acre crop farm