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More than 3,000 Pa. farms preserved through program

December 19, 2006

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania is the first state to preserve more than 3,000 farms through its farmland preservation program, Gov. Edward G. Rendell said.

The Pennsylvania Farmland Preservation Board last week agreed to purchase easements on 6,854 acres on 69 farms in Adams, Beaver, Berks, Butler, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Erie, Franklin, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mercer, Northumberland, Potter, Schuylkill, Snyder, Union, Wayne and York counties.

Rendell said farming is the state's top industry, contributing $45 billion to the economy

Growing Greener II, which supports environmental programs, contributed $65 million to the $102 million that the Farmland Preservation Board allocated to the program this year.

Since the preservation program's inception in 1988, Pennsylvania has secured a total of 3,048 farms and 344,465 acres in 53 of the 67 counties.

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The Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program was developed to help slow the loss of prime farmland to non-agricultural uses.

The program enables state, county and local governments to purchase conservation easements - also called development rights - from owners of quality farmland.

For more information on the farmland preservation program, visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us and click on "Producers."

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