An additional 2,198 acres of prime farmland across the state were protected from development Thursday during a meeting of the Pennsylvania Agricultural Land Preservation Board.
The 22 newly preserved farms are located in Allegheny, Berks, Blair, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Fayette, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Montgomery, Northampton and York counties.
"Pennsylvania farm families know the importance of preserving our farmland and ensuring the viability of Pennsylvania agriculture for future generations," said Agriculture Secretary George Greig. "Agriculture is a $5.7 billion industry and Pennsylvania's number-one industry – the cornerstone of our economy. I thank the families preserving their farms for their foresight in keeping Pennsylvania growing."
During the program's 24-year history, state, county and local governments have invested more than $1.1 billion to safeguard 461,206 acres on 4,265 farms.
Pennsylvania's nationally-recognized 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. It enables state, county and local governments to purchase conservation easements, also called development rights, from owners of quality farmland.