HARRISBURG, Pa., April 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An additional 2,069 acres of prime farmland on 18 farms has been permanently protected through the state's nationally recognized farmland preservation program, acting Agriculture Secretary George Greig said today.
"As the national leader in farmland preservation, today we took another step forward in ensuring Pennsylvania's prime farmland will forever remain in agricultural production," said Greig. "I thank the families who have made the decision to set aside land to keep the agriculture industry and economy growing."
The latest farms to be approved by the Pennsylvania Agricultural Preservation Board are in Allegheny, Berks, Centre, Chester, Erie, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Perry, Schuylkill, Tioga and York counties.
During the program's 23-year history, 450,525 acres on 4,157 farms have been safeguarded for future generations.
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 $1.1 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 William Beinlich farm, a 52-acre hay farm
- The Bethany Children's Home farm, a 114-are crop and dairy operation
- The Terry and Sue Kunkel farm, a 44-acre crop farm
- The David and Darlene Bierly farm, a 189-acre crop and beef operation
- The Kenneth and Nancy Cullen farm, a 32-acre hay and cattle operation
- The David and Kathleen Maas farm, a 34-acre vineyard
- The James and Barbara Neuburger farm, a 240-acre crop farm
- The Paul and Doris Pangratz farm, a 22-acre orchard and crop farm
- The Michael and Deborah Leininger farm #1, a 211-acre crop farm
- The Michael and Deborah Leininger farm #2, a 76-acre crop farm
- The John and Barbara Stoltzfus farm, a 65-acre crop farm
- The Raymond and Verna Hoover farm, a 106-acre crop and livestock operation
- The Michael, Karen and Matthew Heiter farm, a 99-acre crop and livestock operation
- The New Goshenhoppen Church Farm, a 74-acre field crop farm
- The William and Christa Lyons farm, a 142-acre dairy farm
- The David Stoudt farm, a 99-acre crop farm
- The Mark Seeley Farm, a 217-acre beef and crop operation
- The George and James Thompson and Linda Wagner farm, a 254-acre grain farm
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture