The Department of Agriculture Tuesday announced the PA Agricultural Land Preservation Board approved conservation easement purchases to protect another 29 farms totaling 2,093 acres in the Commonwealth.
The board preserved farms in 20 counties: Adams, Armstrong, Blair, Bucks, Butler, Chester, Columbia, Dauphin, Fayette, Franklin, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Northampton, Susquehanna, Union, Washington, Westmoreland and Wyoming.
With the acreage preserved last Thursday, Pennsylvania will end have preserved 16,237 additional acres on 197 farms in 2017, according to state Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding.
“Preserving Pennsylvania’s farmland is as important today as it was nearly three decades ago when the program was conceived,” said Redding. “2017 has been another successful year for safeguarding our best acreage – and our food supply – because of the commitment of farmers and other partners. Along the way, we’ve secured federal funding, advocated for succession planning for owners of preserved farms, and remain the national leader in farmland preservation.”
The Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program identifies properties and slows the loss of prime farmland to non-agricultural uses. It enables state, county and local governments to purchase conservation easements, or development rights, from owners of quality farmland.
Gov. Tom Wolf allocated $40 million for farmland preservation in this year’s state budget – an increase of $8 million that makes the 2017-18 fiscal year the program’s highest-funded in a decade.
Read the full story from Pa Environment Digest here.