WEST CHESTER – Forty-two acres of farmland in Cochranville will be preserved thanks to state and county investments in farmland preservation, Senator Carolyn Comitta said Tuesday.
The Mark A. & Claudia V. Cole Farm, a 42-acre farm and ranching operation, received an investment of $ 8,994 from the Pennsylvania Farmland Preservation Program and $ 152,682 from the County Program.
“Preserving local farms helps keep spaces open, protect our environmental resources, and ensure access to safe, nutritious, locally grown food,” said Comitta, who sits on the Senate Agriculture and Food Committee. rural affairs. “Agriculture is part of our heritage and our economic success in Chester County and Pennsylvania. These investments are important for all of these reasons, as well as to counter growing development pressures on our farms and rural areas.
The preserved farmland is part of nearly 1,999 acres spread across 21 farms in 13 counties protected from future development today through the Commonwealth’s Farmland Preservation Program.
In total, Cole Farm, along with another farm in Chester County, Leila & Sander Lehrer Farm, a 56-acre farm in Warwick Township, received $ 18,861 in state investment. and $ 497,728 in farmland preservation investments in the county.
“Preserving farmland provides a sure path for future generations to succeed,” Secretary Redding said. “This ensures that future farmers have land to cultivate and, in return, consumers will have food on the table. Once farmland stops producing, it rarely returns, which is why preserving farmland is so important. “
Pennsylvania leads the country in the number of farms and acres permanently preserved for agricultural production. The Farmland Preservation Program, also known as the Pennsylvania Farm Conservation Easement Purchase Program, was developed to strengthen Pennsylvania’s farm economy and protect prime farmland. This program allows state and county governments to purchase conservation easements from farmers.
Since its inception in 1988, the program has invested more than $ 1.6 billion to purchase permanent conservation easements on 5,949 farms in Pennsylvania, covering 603,646 acres, in 58 counties, ensuring they will remain farms in perpetuity. .
A 2019 research study funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and conducted by Dr.Thomas Daniels of the University of Pennsylvania found that the total economic impact of preserving farmland in Pennsylvania was estimated to be between $ 1. 8 and 2.9 billion dollars per year. The report also concluded that the environmental benefits of preserving farmland are estimated at an additional $ 1.9 billion per year.