HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania’s farmland preservation efforts could take a critical step forward under legislation approved by the Senate today, according to the bill’s sponsor, Senator Scott Martin (R-13).
Senate Bill 64 would dedicate a portion of existing farmland preservation funding to private land trusts – groups that take stewardship over a property with the permission of the landowner. The legislation would not require additional funds from taxpayers and would also generate new private funding for the program by requiring land trusts to provide matching funds for farmland preserved.
Pennsylvania currently leads the nation in the number of farms and acres permanently preserved for agricultural production. To date, 552,702 acres have been preserved on 5,329 farms across the state.
Martin said his effort to bolster the program has broad support from preservation groups across the state.
“Pennsylvania’s farmland preservation program is the most successful in the country and has become a model for other states. The goal now is to find ways to make the program even stronger and preserve more farms without asking taxpayers to commit more money,” Martin said. “Land trusts are a proven model that could play a strong role in ensuring more of our state’s pristine farmland will remain in productive use for generations to come.
The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.
CONTACT: Terry Trego (717) 787-6535