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Christmas tree farm land wins ag security designation in Washington Twp.

August 05, 2013|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Waynesboro Fish & Game Protective Association LLC received approval Monday for 12 acres of its Christmas tree farm to be designated as an agricultural security area.

The Washington Township (Pa.) Supervisors voted 4-0 to approve the organization’s application for the municipal program.

Acceptance into a municipal agricultural security area is a requirement before a property can be part of the Franklin County Agricultural Land Preservation Program. Fish and game club officials said they have applied with the county program.

In cooperation with state agencies, the county’s program pays the landowner a price per acre to place an easement on a farm. That easement remains in place forever and stipulates the property can only be used for agricultural purposes.

Another 88 acres of the fish and game club’s tree farm are in Quincy Township, Pa.

“We’ve already gained approval from Quincy Township,” said Greg Shank, treasurer of the fish and game club.

The goal of locking the land into agricultural uses is to preserve it for future generations, Shank told the Washington Township Supervisors.

“We’ve been raising trees on this ground since — as far as we can tell from our records — the mid-’50s,” he said.

Township Planner Clint Rock said the acreage in Washington Township is mostly zoned agricultural with one small portion zoned residential.

The fish and game association is a nonprofit organization. It sells trees to the public during the holiday season.

Franklin County has easements on 23 farms totaling 3,340 acres, according to the county website.

A farmer can withdraw his or her property from the township agricultural security area. The county designation, however, is permanent.

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