Franklin Co. sets aside 7,122 acres of farmland to be preserved

October 23, 2007|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - The Pennsylvania Farmland Preservation Board set a record last week when it preserved 7,122 acres - including four Franklin County farms - in a single day.

The board on Friday accepted the Ramsey Douglass and Constance Frank farm in Washington Township, the Gareth and Tinna Myers farm in Antrim Township, the Constance Tracey farm in Antrim Township, and the Paul Witter farm in Southampton Township, officials said.

Franklin County now has 88 farms preserved encompassing more than 11,929 acres, according to figures provided by Sherri Clayton with the Franklin County Planning Department.

"We need to continue to preserve farmland so that we don't become dependent on foreign entities for food," said Franklin County Commissioner G. Warren Elliott, who serves on the state preservation board.


The 143.8-acre Frank farm was listed as a crop farm in correspondence from the state. The Tracey farm was preserved as a 79.35-acre crop farm, and the Witter farm was listed as a 165.37-acre heifer and crop farm. The Myers farm was accepted as a 134.85-acre dairy and crop farm.

Statewide, 372,676 acres and 3,348 farms have been preserved, according to a news release. Pennsylvania leads the nation in farmland preservation, the release stated.

"Agriculture is Pennsylvania's economic driver and the state's number one industry. Every measure must be taken to secure its future for the benefit of our producers and consumers," Gov. Ed Rendell said.

The state allocated $40 million for the preservation program in 2007, and county programs will contribute $37 million in matching funds, the release stated.

The program allows state, county and local governments to purchase conservation easements from farmers. Those easements are also called development rights.

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