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Four more farms in Franklin County join preservation rolls

July 03, 2007

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania's Farmland Preservation Board has approved spending $25.2 million to preserve 5,879 acres of farmland in 18 counties.

Of that total, the state contributed $16.2 million.

According to Pennsylvania's Farmland Preservation Bureau, four of the farms added by last month's action are in Franklin County.

They include:

· The Ferdinand C. Jr. and Doris F. Bikle Farm is a 141-acre crop operation in Greene Township;

The David and Melissa Funk Heckman Farm is a 120-acre dairy and crop operation in Montgomery Township;

· The Arlin and Lois Hege Farm is a 195-acre dairy and crop operation in Southampton Township; and

· The Arnold and Julia Horst Farm is a 191-acre beef and crop operation in Antrim Township.

None of the latest farms joining the program are in Fulton County.

Kristi L. Rooker, of the state Department of Agriculture, said this brings the total preserved in to 79 farms, totaling 10,876 acres, in Franklin County. In Fulton County, she said, two farms, totalling 145 acres, are in the preservation program.

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Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff said the latest farms to join the program include the Grove Farm in Adams County - the first farm to be preserved under a unique county-township partnership.

"By joining with counties and townships to preserve valuable farmland, we are ensuring the future success of production agriculture in Pennsylvania," Wolff said.

"As the state's number one industry, every measure must be taken to keep agriculture growing, for the benefit of our producers and consumers."

Pennsylvania continues to lead the nation in the number of farms and acres preserved with 360,620 acres on 3,223 farms since the program began in 1988, Rooker said.

This year, she said, Pennsylvania is allocating nearly $40 million for the preservation program. County programs will contribute $37 million in matching funds to protect quality farmland from development and non-agricultural uses, she said.

Other than Franklin and Adams counties, the latest preserved farms are in Allegheny, Beaver, Berks, Bucks, Cumberland, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Montgomery, Northampton, Tioga, Susquehanna, Westmoreland and York counties. Currently, 57 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties are participating.

The Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program was developed 18 years ago 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, visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us and, click on "Producers"

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