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Pennsylvania Achieves Farmland Preservation Milestone

The Pennsylvania Farmland Preservation Board set a new record this week by preserving the state's 3,500th farm, the Department of Agriculture announced.

The approved farmland included four Westmoreland County farms, which gives the county 9,268 acres preserved on 66 farms since 1991.

"We are extremely proud to announce the preservation of more than 3,500 farms in Pennsylvania, and 9,000 acres in Westmoreland County," said Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff. "The Commonwealth has earned an outstanding reputation for our agricultural products, and that reputation has been extended to our farmland preservation program, ensuring that agricultural land will be available for the next generation of farmers."

The achievement was celebrated at the Phillip Long Farm, a 336-acre crop farm that was approved for preservation in 2005. The 71 farms preserved this week are located in 20 counties: Beaver, Berks, Bucks, Bradford, Chester, Clinton, Columbia, Cumberland, Erie, Franklin, Indiana, Lancaster, Lehigh, Mercer, Northampton, Schuylkill, Tioga, Union, Westmoreland, and York.

Pennsylvania is the national leader in farmland preservation, covering 3,521 farms and 389,247 acres. Since 1988, state and federal funds, along with counties and local municipalities, have contributed more than $1 billion to preserve farmland.

The state's farmland preservation program works through the Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program, which was developed 20 years ago to help slow the loss of prime farmland to non-agricultural uses. The program enables state, county and local governments to purchase conservation easements, also called development rights, from owners of quality farmland.

For more information, visit the Farmland Preservation Program webpage.


4/18/2008

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