Two Franklin County farms benefit from PA state development rights purchases

13 June 2024- The Shapiro Administration announced today that Pennsylvania will purchase development rights for 2,629 acres on 28 farms in 19 counties, protecting them from future residential or commercial development. The farms, approved for conservation easement purchases by the State Agricultural Land Preservation Board, represent an $9.8 million investment to ensure that Pennsylvania farmers have the resources they need to continue supporting families, communities, and jobs.

“Pennsylvania’s location — near ports, interstates, railways, and 40 percent of the U.S. population — makes our state a great place to do business,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “If your business is farming, that location brings fierce competition from developers willing to pay top dollar for your land. Keeping prime farmland from becoming warehouses, housing developments, or parking lots is a critical investment the Shapiro Administration is making in partnership with farm families and county and local governments to feed our families, and our economy, and our future.”

Pennsylvania leads the nation in preserved farmland. Since 1988, when voters overwhelmingly supported creation of the Farmland Preservation Program, Pennsylvania has protected 6,392 farms and 639,254 acres in 58 counties from future development, investing more than $1.7 billion in state, county, and local funds.

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

Kyle Henninger and Beth Kramer’s Farm in Lehigh County’s Weisenberg Township is the seventh the family has preserved in an area where land is highly sought after for development. More than 477 acres of high-quality land on the family’s farms will continue to be dedicated to feeding future generations of Pennsylvanians.

Farms preserved today and dollars invested, by county:  

Adams County – Total investment – $690,292; state – $470,270; county – $155,301; Conewago Township – $64,721

Hanover Shoe Farms #22, Conewago Township, 161-acre horse farm

Harry C. and Mary Jane Hilbert, Mt. Joy Township, 46-acre crop and livestock farm

Cumberland County – Total investment – $760,103, state – $345,123, county – $414,981

Robert C. and Kathryn A. Boyce Farm #1, Lower Frankford Township, 77-acre beef farm

Cheryl D. Pauli Farm, Lower Frankford Township, 71-acre crop farm

Sharon R. and Paul A.T. Wolfgang Farm, Monroe Township, 100-acre crop farm

Franklin County – Total investment – $339,177, state only

Douglas C. and Connie M. Miller, Montgomery Township, 63-acre crop and livestock farm

Dennis W. and Barbara S. Peckman Farm #2, Peters Township, 74-acre crop farm

These purchases multiply Pennsylvania dollars invested in conservation initiatives, including the $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 funding that is supporting Pennsylvania farmers in conserving and enhancing the clean water and healthy soil they need to be productive in the future.