The state Department of Agriculture Thursday said nearly $7.5 million was invested in protecting 24 farms from future development.
The money from state, county, local governments protected 2,046 acres from commercial, industrial or residential development. The acquisition brings the total protected land to 616,713 acres on more than 6,100 farms.
The newly preserved farms are in Berks, Bucks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Wyoming and York counties.
“Every dollar spent protecting prime farmland from development is an investment in our economy, our environment, our quality of life, and our ability to feed Pennsylvania’s families and economy,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “Preserving land resources is one of the most important investments we make together, across every level of government, hand in hand with farm families investing to guard their legacy of daily hard work and sacrifice to feed us all.”
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, the Department of Agriculture said.
Pennsylvania partners with county and sometimes local governments and non-profits to purchase development rights, ensuring a strong future for farming and food security and leading the nation in the number of preserved farms, the department said.
Notable farms preserved at Thursday’s PA Land Preservation Board meeting include:
John W. Marsteller Jr.’s York County crop farm is the third farm preserved by the family, bringing the family’s total protected land to more than 1,400 acres. Southern York County is experiencing intense residential development pressure as a bedroom community for Baltimore commuters.
Other farms preserved today and dollars invested by county include:
Berks County – Total investment – $923,414, state – $878,389, county – $45,025
The Mark B. Latshaw Farm, District Twp., a 180-acre crop farm
The David A. Yost Farm, Upper Tulpehocken Twp., a 122-acre crop farm
The Peter A. and LeAnne L. Zettlemoyer Farm, a 59-acre crop and livestock farm
Cumberland County – Total investment – $467,204, state – $9,347, county – $117,532, township – $340,325
The Thomas D. Moyer Farm #1, Silver Spring Twp., a 118-acre crop farm
Dauphin County – Total investment – $832,861, state only
Bechtel Farms, Halifax, a 123-acre crop farm
The Eli L. and Sadie M. King Farm, Mifflin Twp., a 93-acre crop and livestock farm
The John Neagley Farm, Washington Twp., a 165-acre crop farm
The Darryl Rode Farm, Halifax, a 62-acre crop farm
The Gerald F .and Linda K. Wiest Farm #2, Lykens, a 39-acre crop farm
Lancaster County – Total investment – $1,574,265, state only
The Benjamin Joel and Alisha Danae Nissley Farm, Mt. Joy, a 130-acre crop and livestock farm
The Fred L. and Connie L. Ranck Farm #1, Strasburg, a 33-acre crop farm
The Fred L. and Connie L. Ranck Farm #2, Strasburg, a 111-acre crop farm
The Matthew K. and Kelly L. Wiker Farm, Martic Twp., a 123-acre crop farm
Lehigh County – Total investment – $366,371, state – $356,371, county – $5,000, township – $5,000
The Michael G. and Karin M. Bowman Farm, Heidelberg Twp., a 26-acre crop farm
The Adam B. and Amanda L. Dietrich Farm, Lynn Twp., a 44-acre crop farm
Northampton County – Total investment – $466,534, state – $21,777, county – $227,100, township – $197,657
The Moore Township #5 Farm, a 43-acre crop farm
The Walter M. Jr. and Melody A. Schlegel Farm, Plainfield Twp., a 40-acre crop farm
York County – Total investment – $1,001,978, state – $775,583, county – $226,395
The Robert B. and Judy K. Burchett Farm #4, Chanceford Twp., a 104-acre crop farm
The Lydia M. Manifold Farm #2, East Hopewell Twp., an 84-acre crop farm
The John W. Marsteller, Jr. Farm #1, Hopewell Twp., a 149-acre crop farm
Pennsylvania’s Farmland Preservation Program recently secured a $7.85 million grant from the USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program to support climate-smart conservation on preserved Pennsylvania farms.
The dollars will further multiply the Wolf Administration’s investments in conservation in the 2022-’23 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.