A 80-acre farm in Bethel Township is among 30 recently preserved by the state preservation board.
That brings the total farms preserved in the state in 2021 to 166, according to the state Department of Agriculture. The Berks farm belongs to Jesse and Jessica Alspaugh. It is a crop and livestock operation.
The total cost for the Alspaugh property easement is $160,420 from the state and $60,000 from Berks County
In 2021, Pennsylvania’s Farmland Preservation Program, which leads the nation, approved 166 conservation easements covering 14,397 acres that will permanently remain productive farms.
“Preserving farmland is an investment in feeding all of our families in the future,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “It is one of the most important investments we make together, at every level of government, to ensure the security of our economy, our jobs, our communities and our environment.”
Since 1988, the program has purchased permanent conservation easements on 5,979 farms, covering 606,215 acres in 58 counties, and ensuring they will remain farms. By selling their land’s development value, landowners preserve their farms, protecting the land from future residential, commercial or industrial development. Pennsylvania partners with county and sometimes local governments to buy the development value, ensuring a strong future for farming and food security.
In neighboring Schuylkill County, the state paid $6,034 state and the county paid $448,500 for the Carol A. Her, Brenda S. Knorr, Joan M. Conrad and Glenn R. Bensinger Farm #1.
Other notable farms preserved recently include:
• The Shirley Weaver farm is a 253.9-acre crop and beef operation in Conewago Township, Dauphin County. The farm is three miles south of Hershey in an area experiencing increased development pressure from residential subdivisions. The Weaver farm has been in the family for more than 100 years, with the sixth generation poised to someday take over the farm.
• The Janet and Andrew Sellard farm is an 84.32-acre crop operation in Gregg Township, Union County. The farm, known as Try-Oaks farm, was named for three stately oak trees that grace the farmstead. The former dairy operation produced award-winning Holstein cattle that were frequently shown at local fairs. The Sellards want to preserve the farm to honor their family legacy and to ensure the land will always be a working farm.
• The David Fees farm is a 63-acre crop operation in the East Carroll Township, Cambria County. The approval of the Fee’s farm brings Carol Township’s total preserved farmland to 755 acres. Pennsylvania’s program strives to preserve large blocks of prime farmland in strong agricultural regions like East Carroll Township.
Source: Berkshire mont