Perry Township farm protected from future development

A 25-acre Berks County farm has become the latest to be protected from future development under the state’s farmland preservation program, Sen. Judy Schwank said June 12.

The John and Marie Hill farm in Perry Township was added to the fold following the purchase of agricultural easements.

“Berks County is a leader in farmland preservation and it is good to know another 25 acres will continue as prime agricultural land for years to come,” Schwank said.

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The 24.7 acres of easements are valued at more than $61,000 and were approved today by the Pennsylvania Agricultural Land Preservation Board, of which Schwank is a member.

The commonwealth has protected 4,612 farms totaling 491,423 acres since the program’s inception in 1988. In Berks County, 675 farms consisting of 67,691 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.