Dept. Of Agriculture, County Officials Celebrate Over 20,000 Acres Of Farmland Preserved In Cumberland County
On September 26, Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding helped to celebrate a three-decade partnership has secured the future of more than 20,000 acres of Cumberland County farmland.
He joined Cumberland County officials and farmland preservation staff for a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the county’s participation in Pennsylvania’s state farmland preservation program, held at Paulus Farm Market in Mechanicsburg.
The Paulus family has preserved 219 acres of farmland, which grows much of the produce sold at their market, since the establishment of the county program in 1989.
“Preservation starts at the local level: with a commitment by farmers themselves and a community that is willing to secure a future for farming where they call home,” said Redding. “Cumberland County is a case study in the value of safeguarding our agricultural lands, as its leaders recognize the importance of growth and prosperity – and ensure that agriculture is a key component of the landscape physically and economically.”
Visit the Cumberland County Farmland Preservation webpage to learn more.
The Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program, as it is formally known, is dedicated to slowing the loss of prime farmland to non-agricultural uses.
Funding allows state, county, and local governments to purchase conservation easements from owners of quality farmland. State, county, local, and federal funds committed at each meeting are allocated to county programs to purchase development rights to preserve farms on county waiting lists.
Fifty-eight participating county programs receive state funds for the purchase of agricultural conservation easements. Counties participating in the program have appointed agricultural land preservation boards, with a state board created to oversee this program.
The state board is responsible for distribution of state funds, approval and monitoring of county programs, and specific easement purchases.
Farm owners apply to the county program. Farm applications are ranked and then forwarded to the state board for final approval. Applications can be obtained at the county level.
Since the program began in 1988, federal, state, county, and local governments have purchased permanent easements on 5,580 farms totaling 572,527 acres in 59 counties for agricultural production.
Pennsylvania leads the nation in acreage of farmland preserved.
For more information, visit the Department of Agriculture’s Farmland Preservation webpage.
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[Posted: September 27, 2019]
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