HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Agricultural Lands Preservation Board has preserved an additional 1,788 acres on 19 farms in 12 counties for future generations through the state's nationally recognized farmland preservation program.
The preserved farms are located in Berks, Blair, Cambria, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Monroe, Somerset, Sullivan, Union, Washington, Westmoreland and York counties.
During the program's 23-year history, 455,208 acres on 4,208 farms have been safeguarded for future agricultural production.
"To ensure the future success of the agriculture industry in Pennsylvania, the first step is to preserve our farmland," said Agriculture Secretary George Greig. "Agriculture isn't just our number-one industry – the cornerstone of our economy – it's a way of life for our farm families.
"I thank these producers who set their land aside for agricultural production. They're enabling a new generation of agriculturalists to keep Pennsylvania growing far into the future."
The state's farmland preservation efforts work through the Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program, which was developed in 1988 to help slow the loss of prime farmland to non-agricultural uses. The program enables state, county and local governments to purchase conservation easements, also called development rights, from owners of quality farmland.
Since the program began, state, county and local governments have invested more than $1 billion to preserve farms across Pennsylvania.
Following the board's Oct. 13 meeting, representatives from the Attorney General's office led a roundtable discussion about Act 38 of 2005, known as ACRE (Agriculture, Communities and Rural Environment). The law allows farmers to operate with fewer limitations from local ordinances.
For more information about Pennsylvania's nation-leading farmland preservation program, visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us and search "farmland preservation."
Media contact: Will Nichols, 717-787-5085
Editor's Note: A list of farms preserved at the Oct. 13 meeting follows:
The Robert French farm #1, a 135-acre crop and livestock operation
The Norman Martin farm #1, a 27-acre crop farm
The Paul and Anne Mae Martin farm #4, a 47-acre crop farm
The Levi and Doris Zimmerman farm #1, a 75-acre crop farm
The K. Wayne and Bonnie Burket farm, a 93-acre crop and livestock operation
The James and Mary Karlheim farm, an 80-acre crop farm
The John Sarnoski Jr. farm, a 17-acre crop and beef operation
The David Smucker farm, a 79-acre crop farm
The Union School Road LP, a 53-acre crop farm
The Raymond Gumm Jr. farm #1, a 70-acre crop and pasture operation
The Robert and Janet Miller farm #2, a 57-acre dairy farm
The William and Tammy Bahl farm, a 124-acre crop and livestock operation
The Curtus and Jerrel Brubaker farm #5, a 114-acre crop farm
The Nancy Miller Boyer farm #1, a 96-acre crop farm
The Ivan and Jane Nolt farm #1, a 147-acre crop and livestock operation
The Robert and Florence Lowry farm, a 200-acre crop farm
The Virgil Walters farm #1, a 135-acre crop and livestock operation
The Edna Amspacker farm, an 85-acre crop farm
The Harold Jr. and Nancy Miller farm #3, a 153-acre crop farm
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture