- The Shapiro Administration has invested over $3.5 million to preserve 1,336 acres on 18 farms in 13 Pennsylvania counties.
- The investment aims to protect these farms from residential or commercial development, ensuring they remain agricultural lands.
- Pennsylvania leads the nation in preserved farmland, with more than 6,284 farms and 630,302 acres protected since 1988.
- The newly preserved farms are spread across various counties and focus on different types of agriculture, including crop and livestock farming.
- The investment is part of broader conservation initiatives, including a new $154 million Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program.
In a significant move to protect agricultural lands, the Shapiro Administration announced an investment of more than $3.5 million to preserve 1,336 acres across 18 farms in 13 counties in Pennsylvania. This investment ensures that these farms are forever protected from residential or commercial development.
A Strategic Investment
The investment comprises more than $3.1 million in state dollars and $433,433 in county dollars. It is part of the commonsense, bipartisan budget that Governor Josh Shapiro signed for the fiscal year 2023-24. The budget includes a nearly 6.4% overall increase in the Agriculture Department’s budget to support Pennsylvania farmers to conserve land, soil, and water resources.
National Leader in Farmland Preservation
Pennsylvania has been a leader in farmland preservation since 1988, when voters overwhelmingly supported the creation of the Farmland Preservation Program. Since then, the state has protected 6,284 farms and 630,302 acres in 58 counties, investing more than $1.68 billion in state, county, and local funds.
Diverse Agricultural Focus
The newly preserved farms are located in various counties, including Berks, Butler, Chester, Crawford, Dauphin, Erie, Franklin, Lancaster, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Westmoreland, and York. These farms focus on different types of agriculture, ranging from crop to livestock farming.
Broader Conservation Initiatives
The investment is part of broader conservation initiatives, including the new $154 million Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program. This program supports farmers’ efforts to reduce water pollution and improve soil quality. Pennsylvania’s Farmland Preservation Program also recently secured a $7.85 million federal grant from the USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program to support climate-smart conservation on preserved farms.
Government and Community Reactions
Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding emphasized preserving farmland for food security and economic stability. “Prime farmland and fertile soil are critical not just for feeding our families but our economy,” he said.