PA Preserves 4,000th Farm for Future Agricultural Production

State Adds 34 Farms to Nation-Leading Program, Including 15,000th Preserved Acre in Lebanon County

Harrisburg – The Pennsylvania Agricultural Land Preservation Board reached a major milestone today by preserving the state’s 4,000th farm, ensuring these vital agricultural operations will remain available to produce food and fiber for future generations, Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding today.

“Pennsylvania’s farmland preservation program leads the nation, and I am honored today to mark the preservation of our 4,000th farm,” said Redding. “Preserving farmland secures our food production abilities, protects the environment and our natural resources, and sustains our local economies – all of which are critical to keeping Pennsylvania growing.

“I applaud the farmers who have made the enormous commitment to protect their farm in perpetuity – meaning it will always remain available for agricultural production. Today we celebrate, with gratitude, their enduring decision.”

The achievement was marked at the Charles Zimmerman Farm, a dairy operation in Myerstown, Lebanon County, which was preserved today. The family’s first farm was preserved in 2004. Together, the two farms account for 148 acres of preserved farmland with the help of federal, state and county partners.

The Zimmerman farm was one of three farms preserved in Lebanon County today, bringing the county’s total of preserved acres to 15,000. The remaining 31 farms were preserved by the board in Adams, Beaver, Berks, Bucks, Columbia, Fayette, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lehigh, Montgomery, Pike and Wayne counties.

In total, Pennsylvania’s Farmland Preservation Program has preserved 436,769 acres on 4,016 farms. Both figures are the highest of any state in the nation.

The state’s farmland preservation program works through the Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program, which was developed in 1988 to help curb 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.

With this purchase of development rights, farm owners create an agreement whereby the land will forever remain in production agriculture, regardless of who may later own or work the land.

The easement purchases approved today represent an $11.1 million total investment of state, county and township funds.

Since the program’s inception, state, county and local governments have invested more than $1 billion to preserve farms.

Information about Pennsylvania’s nation-leading farmland preservation program and a downloadable version of the 2009 Annual Farmland Preservation Report is available online at by searching “Farmland Preservation.”

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