PA's Nation-Leading Farmland Preservation Program Saves Additional 1,916 Acres for Future Agricultural Production

Dec 09, 2010, 13:01 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 9, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Another 1,916 acres of prime farmland on 23 farms are now protected from development and will forever remain in agricultural use, Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding said today in announcing the latest action by Pennsylvania's nation-leading farmland preservation program.

"Preserving farmland is critical to our ability to feed our citizens and transition our farms to future generations," said Redding. "Pennsylvania's leadership in farmland preservation simply would not be possible without the dedicated farmers who have made the enduring decision to preserve their land in perpetuity. Thanks to them, we have been able to safeguard nearly 450,000 acres and secure our ability to produce the food, fiber and fuel that sustains Pennsylvania."

The newly preserved farms are in Adams, Berks, Butler, Chester, Franklin, Lancaster, Lehigh, Northampton, Perry and Wayne counties.

Since 2003, the Governor Edward G. Rendell's administration has worked to make Pennsylvania the national leader in farmland preservation, achieving eight milestones. These included the preservation of the 4,000th farm, which was celebrated in June on the Zimmerman Farm in Lebanon County, and the 400,000th acre, recognized in 2008 at the Graver Farm in Northampton County.

Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of farms and acres preserved. In the program's 22-year history, 4,096 farms and 444,647 acres have been preserved, approximately half of which were safeguarded during the Rendell administration.

Recognizing the need for resources and succession-planning tools for owners of preserved farms, Governor Rendell created the Center for Farm Transitions in 2004 to support transferring ownership of a farm from one generation to the next and business planning. The center hosts workshops for owners of preserved farms and resources are available online at

Since 1988, state, county, township and federal partners have invested more than $1 billion in farmland preservation funds. Governor Rendell championed Growing Greener II in 2005, which provided $80 million to accelerate the rate of preservation and preserve an additional 33,713 acres. In total, the state has invested $337 million in farmland preservation since 2003.

The farmland preservation program works through the Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program, launched in 1988 to help slow the loss of prime farmland to agricultural uses. The program enables state, county and local governments to purchase conservation easements, also called development rights, from owners of quality farmland.

For more information about Pennsylvania's nationally recognized farmland preservation program, visit and click on "Producers."

Media Contact: Nicole L. C. Bucher, 717-787-5085

Editor's Note: The farms preserved at today's meeting are as follows:


The Bruce and Beverly Pohlman farm, a 112-acre crop, swine and beef operation.


  • The Geoffrey Berwind farm, a 32-acre crop farm.
  • The Carl and Maryann Spatz farm, a 58-acre crop farm.
  • The Olive Deitrich farm, a 189-acre crop and dairy operation.


The Harold and Barbara Rader farm, a 61-acre crop farm.


The William and Robin Beam farms, a 126-acre crop and beef operation and 40-acre crop farm.


The Dennis and Leilani Brechbill farm, a 207-acre crop and dairy operation.


  • Barley Farms and Frey Dairy Farms, a 65-acre crop and dairy operation.
  • The Donald, Aaron, Judith Ann and Emilene Drager farm, an 89-acre crop and dairy operation.
  • Frey Dairy Farms, a 67-acre crop and dairy operation.
  • The Jay and Elisabeth Hess farm, a 62-acre crop and livestock operation.
  • The Henry and Katie Kauffman farm, a 58-acre crop and dairy operation.
  • The John and Joann Martin farm, a 139-acre dairy farm.
  • The Kenneth Seibert farm, a 72-acre crop and beef operation.
  • The Jonas and Grace Sensenig farms, 60-acre and 61-acre crop and swine operations.
  • The Daniel and Allison Sullivan farm, a 46-acre crop farm.


The Roy and Ruthanne Kunkel farm, an 84-acre pasture, hayland and small grains operation.


  • The Stephen and Richard Hebrock farm, a 113-acre crop farm.
  • The Thaler Family Trust farm, a 60-acre crop and dairy farm.


The John W. Sheibley Estate farm, an 80-acre hay operation.


The Mike and Yvonne Stone farm, a 37-acre crop farm.

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture