HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Agricultural Preservation Board today voted to preserve 3,819 additional acres on 43 farms for future generations through the state's nationally recognized farmland preservation program.
The latest farms to be preserved are located in Adams, Beaver, Berks, Blair, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Lycoming, Monroe, Montgomery and Westmoreland counties.
During the program's 23-year history, 448,466 acres on 4,139 farms have been safeguarded for future agricultural production.
"Agriculture is Pennsylvania's number one industry, providing one in seven jobs and more than $51 billion in total economic impact," said acting Agriculture Secretary George Greig. "Preserving farmland is the first step in securing the future of Pennsylvania agriculture – and our way of life – and I thank the families who have made the decision to set aside land for agricultural production, ensuring the agriculture industry and economy continues to grow and thrive."
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's inception, state, county and local governments have invested more than $1 billion to preserve farms.
Greig added that farm succession planning is essential to ensuring producers are available to farm preserved land, and the Center for Farm Transitions can offer assistance to find the next generation of farmers. A number of resources are available at the center's website, www.iplantofarm.com.
For more information about Pennsylvania's nation-leading farmland preservation program, visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us and search "farmland preservation."
Media contact: Nicole L. C. Bucher, 717-787-5085
Editor's Note: A list of farms preserved at today's meeting follows:
- The Clair and Louetta Showers farm, a 102-acre Christmas tree, crop and orchard operation
- The Edward and Tina Wilkinson farm, a 100-acre crop and livestock operation
The Charles and Judith Stewart farm, a 102-acre crop farm
- The Ernest and Jean Kocher farm, a 45-acre equine and beef operation
- The Harold and Rose Shirk farm, a 65-acre crop farm
The S. Todd and Marcie Lewis farm, a 177-acre crop farm
The Levi and Ruth Ann King farm, a 36-acre crop and livestock operation
- The Wayne and Susan Shirk farm, a 103-acre crop and beef operation
- The Alan and Cheryl Shughart farm, a 92-acre crop and dairy operation
- The Charles and Diane Coleman farm, an 84-acre crop farm
- The Karl and Nancy Laudenslager #1 farm, a 146-acre crop and pasture farm
- The Karl and Nancy Laudenslager #2 farm, a 100-acre crop farm
- The Harry and Wanda Boyer farm, a 136-acre dairy farm
- The Christopher and Kelly Goodling farm, a 232-acre crop and beef operation
- The Dennis and Heidi Love farm, a 105-acre crop and dairy operation
- The Joseph and Beverly Bernoske farm, a 66-acre dairy and hay operation
- The Andrew Mizerak farm, a 50-acre dairy and hay operation
- The Robert and Dorothy Becker farm, a 97-acre crop farm
- The Larry Dull farm, a 112-acre crop and livestock operation
- The Allen and Linda Esbenshade farm, a 56-acre crop and beef operation
- The Dwight and Rose Fahnestock, a 51-acre crop farm
- Five Springs Farm, a 97-acre poultry and beef operation
- The Barry Graver farm, an 87-acre crop and livestock operation
- The John and Marcia Harnish farm, a 98-acre crop and livestock operation
- The Eric and Melissa Herr farm, a 95-acre dairy and poultry operation
- The David and Jane Hess farm, a 54-acre crop farm
- The Earl and Sadie Sensenig farm, a 65-acre crop farm
- The J Robert and Naomi Spahr farm, a 71-acre crop and dairy operation
- The Dennis and Barbara Weaver farm, a 125-acre crop and beef operation
- The Amos and Ruth Zeiset farm, a 68-acre crop and livestock operation
- The James and Cheryl Dice farm, an 89-acre crop and beef operation
- The Richard, Bonita, Steven and April Kreiser farm, a 171-acre crop farm
- The Curtis and Dorothy Martin farm, a 97-acre crop and dairy operation
- The George Ungemach farm, a 101-acre crop, dairy and beef operation
The Leverna and Mildred Herber and Harold and Elaine Hoppes farm, a 63-acre crop farm
James Hill and Darrin and Dale Wertz farm, a 16-acre crop farm
- The Aldo, Jean and Frank Cuce farm, a 38-acre crop and livestock operation
- The Mary Graham farm, a 17-acre crop farm
- The Johnnie and Doris Niehls farm, a 23-acre crop and beef operation
- The David A. Brady Estate farm, a 35-acre crop and beef operation
- The Moses Levy and Joel Kuznits farm, a 102-acre crop and hay operation
- The Elizabeth L. Hubert Trust farm, a 73-acre crop and livestock operation
- The Duane and Maureen Hutter farm, a 175-acre crop and livestock operation
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture