Wolf Administration purchases over 600,000 acres of farmland for future preservation

Regional News

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ)– Pennsylvania’s nation-leading farmland preservation secured more than 600,000 acres, shielding it from any future possibility of residential, community or industrial development.

Pennsylvania invested in more than $7.5 million for the future of agriculture by adding an additional 2,515 acres from 29 farms in 14 counties on Aug. 19 according to a press release.

The farms are from the following counties:

Berks County–total investment: $375,651 state, $207,200 county:

  • The Benjamin & Karah Davies farm, a 20-acre livestock operation
  • The Kenneth & Elizabeth Ehst farm, a 27-acre crop farm
  • The Curtis & Dorothy Huber farm, a 20-acre crop farm
  • The Dennis & Donna Kunkle farm, a 61-acre crop and livestock operation
  • The Jeremy & Cindy Martin farm, a 50-acre crop and livestock operation
  • The Warren & Bonnie Wessner farm, a 76-acre crop farm

Butler County – total investment: $38,549 state, $78,497 county:

  • Thurber Farm, an 88-acre crop and livestock operation

Centre County – total investment: $148,564 state, $50,000 county:

  • The Larry & Suzanne Harpster farm, an 82-acre crop farm

Chester County – total investment: $954,838 state, $443,970 county:

  • The Virginia Kelsall farm, a 49-acre crop and livestock operation
  • The Douglas & Jessica Engle farm, a 172-acre crop farm

Cumberland County – total investment: $509,985 state, $100,000 county:

  • The Jacob & Lora Crider farm, a 92-acre crop and livestock operation
  • The Floyd & Susan Martin farm, a 68-acre crop and livestock operation

Dauphin County – total investment: $39,540 state only:

  • Andals Farm, a 26-acre crop farm

Erie County – total investment: $361,535 state only:

  • The Kevin & Colleen Osborn farm, a 218-acre crop farm

Lancaster County – total investment: $1,723,754 state only:

  • The Joshua & Britni Akers farm, a 154-acre crop and livestock operation
  • The Bradley & Lois Beiler farm, a 92-acre crop and livestock operation
  • The Thomas & Iva Lapp farm, a 102-acre crop and livestock operation
  • The Jerry Paul & Laurie Beth O’Donnell farm, a 113-acre crop and livestock operation

Lehigh County – total investment: $676,372 state, $17,990 county:

  • The Mark & Annie Miller farm, a 112-acre crop farm

Mercer County – total investment: $185,806 state, $61,026 county:

  • The Harold & Marlyn Hill farm, a 239-acre crop and livestock operation

Montgomery County – total investment: $1,932,433 state, $870,309 county:

  • AFZ Development, a 36-acre crop farm
  • The John & Donald Black and Donna Horn farm, a 44-acre livestock operation
  • The Jason Lutchendorf #1 farm, a 76-acre crop farm
  • The Scott & Sharon Melanson farm, a 26-acre crop farm

Northampton County – total investment: $227,635 state, $277,470 county:

  • Sutliff Farms #1, a 33-acre crop farm
  • The Carl & Judith Nicholas farm, a 16-acre crop farm

Schuylkill County – total investment: $215,534 state, $215,534 county:

  • The Glenn Hetherington #5 farm, a 151-acre crop farm

York County – total investment: $13,251 state, $817,890: county

  • The Randall & Sarah Patterson farm, a 228-acre crop and livestock operation
  • Pennsylvania Wine Works, a 44-acre vineyard

Agriculture Secretary Russell Reading was joined by Senator Judy Schwank, Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs chairs and industry leaders to celebrate the 600,000 acre-milestone at the Martin farm located in Berks County.

“In just 34 years, Pennsylvania has preserved more than 600,000 acres of the most productive, non-irrigated farmland in the United States,” said Redding. “As climate change and our growing population place increased demand on land use, this program becomes even more critical to the resilience of agriculture. The acreage preserved over the past 34 years, and what we look forward to preserving tomorrow, is an investment in the future needs of Pennsylvania, the nation and the world.”

Gov. Wolf has made the preservation of farmland a priority investment by investing over $253 million in the state’s program. This has led to over 100,000 acres of farmland that has been preserved since 2015 according to a press release. That is a 132 percent increase over the former administration’s investment.

“Pennsylvania’s farmland preservation program is of utmost importance – agricultural development and farmland preservation are inextricably tied to food security and nutrition and the population of Pennsylvania and the world are only increasing,” said Governor Wolf. “My investments in preserving Pennsylvania farmland for perpetuity are critical to increasing the quantity and diversity of food, driving economic transformation, and ensuring that land is always available for Pennsylvania’s $132.5 billion agriculture industry.”

An agriculture research study funded by the department done by the University of Pennsylvania in 2019, reported that the total economic impact of farmland preservation to be valued from $1.8 to $2.9 billion annually.

To learn more about Pennsylvania’s Farmland Preservation Program, and future investments in Pennsylvania’s agriculture, visit Pennsylvania’s agriculture website.

Sign up for the WTAJ Newsletter for the latest local news, weather and community events that matter to you.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Don't Miss