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Shapiro Administration Invests $8.07 Million to Protect 2,250 Acres on 28 Pennsylvania Farms from Future Development

04/11/2024

Farms protected in Adams, Beaver, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Northampton, Tioga, Union, Washington, Westmoreland, York counties

Harrisburg, PA – The Shapiro Administration announced today that Pennsylvania will purchase development rights for 2,250 acres on 28 farms in 15 counties, forever protecting them from residential or commercial development. The farms, approved for conservation easement purchases by the State Agricultural Land Preservation Board, represent an $8.07 million investment to ensure that Pennsylvania farmers will have prime farmland to feed our families and economy in the future.

“Real estate is all about location," Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “Pennsylvania's prime location — near ports, interstates, railways, and 40 percent of the U.S. population — brings fierce competition from developers who will pay top dollar. Protecting our prime farmland from becoming warehouses, housing developments, or parking lots is one of the most important investments government and farmers make together, not just for our food supply, but our quality of life, and our future prosperity."

Pennsylvania leads the nation in preserved farmland. Since 1988, when voters overwhelmingly supported creation of the Farmland Preservation Program, Pennsylvania has protected 6,364 farms and 636,625 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 their land's development rights, farm owners ensure that their farms will remain productive farms and never be sold to developers. 

Notable among the farms preserved this month, the two Eisenhour farms in York County are the family's 6th and 7th, bringing the total land they have preserved to more than 1,000 acres. Westmoreland County's Elaine McKlveen and her son preserved their family farm, honoring an agreement Elaine's husband Lee made before his death in July 2023. Both families exemplify a commitment to forego greater personal economic gain to pass on their legacy of farming to feed future generations.

Farms preserved today and dollars invested, by county:  

Adams County – Total investment – $319,687; state - $195,930; county - $93,777; township - $29,980

Maring Family Limited Partnership Farm, Cumberland Township, 93-acre crop and livestock farm

Beaver County – Total investment – $380,382; state - $289,002; county - $91,380

William M. and Mary Ann Swick Farm #1, North Sewickly Township, 91-acre crop and livestock farm

Chester County – Total investment – $740,510; state - $586,580, county - $153,930

Alberto Alvarez and Lillian F. Juang Farm, East Nottingham Township, 58-acre crop farm

Robert R. and Dawn Smullen, Samantha J. and L. Cole Brantner Farm, Lower Oxford Township, 37-acre crop farm

Cumberland County – Total investment – $324,389, state - $224,389, county - $100,000

Paul E. and Harry G. Hoch Farm #3, Southampton Township, 94-acre crop and livestock farm

Dauphin County – Total investment – $209,530, state - $87,345, county - $122,185

Melissa S. Barrick Farm, Halifax Township, 42-acre crop farm

Elizabeth S. Gault Farm, South Hanover Township, 40-acre crop farm

Leonard B. and Jessica L. Sitlinger, Lykens Township, 30-acre crop farm

Franklin County – Total investment – $1,053,223, state - $903,223, county - $150,000

Brian D. and Michelle L. Brechbill, trustees, Brechbill Family Revocable Trust Farm; Guilford Township, 139-acre crop farm

Wayne A. and Jackie M. Diehl Farm #2, Southampton Township, 60-acre crop and livestock farm

Thomas L. and Heather M. Lesher Farm, Guilford Township, 78-acre crop and livestock farm

Jay B. Shelly Farm, Peters Township, 150-acre crop and livestock farm

Lackawanna County – Total investment – $79,248, state - $13,008, county - $66,240

William A. Dixon and Marissa O'Donnell Opalka Farm #2, Benton Township, 12-acre crop and livestock farm

Charles D. and Brenda J. Miller Farm #1, Newton Township, 29-acre crop farm

Lancaster County – Total investment – $246,606, state only

Keith A. and Jenessa M. Frey Farm, Rapho Township, 59-acre crop farm

 Lebanon County – Total investment – $385,378, state - $328,541, $56,838 county

Franklin N., Jr. and J. Virginia Graybill, South Londonderry Township, 152-acre beef farm

Northampton County – Total investment – $871,465, state - $658,540, county - $212,925

Jacob R. and Amanda M. Klein, Forks Township, 43-acre crop farm

Weinhofer Farms, LLC #2, Allen Township, 27-acre crop farm

Tioga County – Total investment – $78,609, state only

Kiersten Anne Pino, trustee, Daniel J. and Gina L. Cooper Family Protection Trust Farm, Charleston Township, 51-acre crop farm

Union County – Total investment – $846,864, state - $432,220, county - $414,644

Criswell Acres, LLC Farm, Kelly Township, 113-acre crop farm

David L, Rachel Z., Allen Z., and Dorothy M. Reiff Farm, Limestone Township, 97-acre crop and livestock farm

Washington County – Total investment – $341,016, state only

Oren W. and Beth E. Smith Farm #2, Hopewell Township, 128-acre crop and livestock farm

Westmoreland County – Total investment – $831,822, state only

Terrance J. Matty Farm, South Huntingdon Township, 117-acre crop and livestock farm

Elaine M. McKlveen Farm #1, Ligonier Township, 52-acre crop farm

York County – Total investment – $1,363,737, state only

Dale L. and Sondra L. Bentz, Warrington Township, 46-acre crop farm

James E. Jr., Gloria A., and Brenda J. Eisenhour Farm #1, Warrington Township, 189-acre crop farm

James E. Jr., Gloria A., and Brenda J. Eisenhour Farm #2, Washington Township, 182-acre crop farm

Susan Lee Fox and Jeffrey Todd Van Voorhis Farm, Shrewsbury Township, 39-acre horse 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 conservation funding. Pennsylvania's Farmland Preservation Program also secured a $7.85 million federal grant from USDA's Regional Conservation Partnership Program to support climate-smart conservation on preserved Pennsylvania farms, an investment that will not only improve conservation efforts, but help measure their impact.

To learn more about Pennsylvania's Farmland Preservation Program and investments in a secure, sustainable future for Pennsylvania agriculture, visit agriculture.pa.gov.

Media Contact: Shannon Powers, shpowers@pa.gov, 717.603.2056

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