Schwank: Berks Continues to Lead in Ag Preservation

Nearly 700 additional acres of Berks County farmland will be preserved through the purchase of agricultural easements, state Sen. Judy Schwank announced today.

“Adding more land to the acreage protected from development does more than keep the county green,” Schwank said. “It also helps protect the environment and the agricultural economy that is critical to our prosperity.”

The 682 acres of easements are valued at over $1.6 million dollars and were approved today by the Pennsylvania Agricultural Land Preservation Board, of which Schwank is a member.

William & Laura Lesher Upper Tulpehocken Twsp. 75.2

Wayne Schrack Upper Tulpehocken Twsp. 42.7

Bruce & Cathy Light Bethel Twsp. 113.7

Larry & Billie Jean Stoudt Upper Bern Twsp. 68.2

Scott Troutman & families MarionTwsp. 189.2

Durkin, DiNunzio&Rick families Lower Heidelberg Twsp. 182.2

Since its inception in 1988, the commonwealth has protected 4,558 farms totaling 486,628 acres have been preserved since the program’s inception. In Berks County 674 farms consisting of 67,666 acres have been preserved. Berks County has preserved more acreage of farmland than any other county in the state program.

The long-term goal of the state’s program is to permanently preserve farmland. The holders of the easements have the right to prevent development or improvements of the land for purposes other than agricultural production.

Local, county or state government – or any combination of the three – may buy easements.

Counties that decide to have an easement purchase program must create an agricultural land preservation board.