PA preserves over 400 acres of farmland in Franklin, Adams, Huntingdon Counties this year

22 December 2023- The Shapiro Administration announced today that Pennsylvania preserved 2,553 acres on 30 farms in 21 counties, forever protecting them from residential or commercial development. This investment of more than $8.7 million brings the total during 2023 to nearly $46.3 million invested to purchase land development rights for 13,663 acres on 166 farms, helping ensure that Pennsylvania farmers will have prime farmland to feed our families and economy in the future.

Preserving prime farmland is one of the critical investments the state has made in supporting Pennsylvania’s 52,700 farm families. The nearly 6.4% overall increase in the Agriculture Department’s budget for 2023-24 is multiplying farmers’ efforts to conserve land, soil, and water resources by investing in land preservation, equipment purchases, business planning, and farm management tools they need to innovate and grow.

“Without prime farmland, we simply don’t have the resources to grow food and supply the $132.5 billion our industry feeds into our economy every year,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “Pennsylvania farm families who sell their land development rights are leaving a legacy that ensures Pennsylvania families will have green spaces and healthy farmland available to produce food, income, and jobs. The Shapiro Administration is proud to support that legacy.”  

Pennsylvania leads the nation in preserved farmland. Since 1988, when voters overwhelmingly supported creation of the Farmland Preservation Program, Pennsylvania has protected 6,314 farms and 632,856 acres in 58 counties from future development, investing more than $1.69 billion in state, county, and local funds.

Pennsylvania partners with county, and sometimes local government and nonprofits to purchase development rights, ensuring a strong future for farming and food security. By selling their land’s development rights, farm owners ensure that their farms will remain farms and never be sold to developers.

Farms preserved today and dollars invested, by county:  

Adams County – Total investment – $348,810, $299,721 – state, $24,989 county, $60,100 Township

Arentz Family #2 – 60-acre crop farm, Union Township

Bruce Pohlman and Son Hog Farm – 43-acre crop farm, Union Township

Franklin County – Total investment – $271,066 state only

Donald and Denise Martin #1 – 105-acre crop farm, Guilford Township

Huntingdon County – Total investment – $301,630, $256,630 state, $45,000 county

Kristen N. and Kenneth E. Snyder Jr. – 224-acre crop and livestock farm, Warriors Mark Township

These purchases continue to multiply public dollars invested in conservation initiatives, including the new $154 million Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program, supporting farmers’ efforts to reduce water pollution and improve soil quality, along with Clean & Green tax incentives, Resource Enhancement and Protection dollars, and other conservation funding. Pennsylvania’s Farmland Preservation Program also secured a $7.85 million federal grant from USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program to support climate-smart conservation on preserved Pennsylvania farms, an investment that will not only improve conservation efforts, but help measure their impact.