Pennsylvania Protects 2,250 Acres of Prime Farmland Across 15 Counties


HARRISBURG- The Shapiro Administration announced 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

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

Are you enjoying local news?

First Month 99¢

Already a subscriber? Login here.