Harrisburg, Pa., August 25, 2011, (PRNewswire-USNewswire) — Thanks to the efforts of farm families and the Pennsylvania Agricultural Preservation Board, 1,425 additional acres on 16 farms in seven counties are preserved for future generations through the state's nationally recognized farmland preservation program.
The board met today to approve the preservation of these farms, located in Bucks, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton and York counties. The farms range in size from 24 to 174 acres and include crop and dairy operations.
During the program's 23-year history, 453,419 acres on 4,189 farms have been safeguarded for future agricultural production.
"Preserving farmland is the first step in securing the future of Pennsylvania's number-one industry," says Agriculture Secretary George Greig. "Agriculture provides not only one-in-seven jobs and $51 billion in total economic impact, but also provides a way of life for Pennsylvania's farm families. I thank these producers who have decided to set aside land for agricultural production. They are ensuring the future success of the agriculture industry and its ability to serve as the cornerstone of our state's economic recovery."
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."