Agricultural and Farmland Preservation News 

CENTRE COUNTY AGRICULTURAL NEWS

An Agricultural History and Visual Tour of Penns Valley and Brush Valley farms

The history of the agricultural landscape in Centre County is a history of farm activities in barns and outbuildings that reflect machinery use and storage; tenant farms or houses; housing for livestock; Pennsylvania-German construction; siting and building types; smokehouses; poultry houses; root cellars; summer kitchens; springhouses, and workshops. 
 
The Centre County Planning and Community Development Office is pleased to present an agricultural history and visual tour of farms in the Penns Valley and Brush Valley area. Funded by Verizon Wireless to fulfill Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) stipulations to mitigate adverse effects from a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) wireless telecommunications facility in Centre County, its historical context narrative is shared with permission directly from the “Pennsylvania Agricultural History Project” by Dr. Sally McMurry, retired Professor of History at Pennsylvania State University.

This slideshow features some of Centre County’s preserved farms in Potter Township, where the County has preserved 11 farms and 1,622 acres of prime farmland. 

PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE NEWS

Pennsylvania protects 30 farms in 18 counties

At its final 2022 meeting on December 15, the Pennsylvania Agricultural Land Preservation Board protected 2,478 acres on 30 farms in 18 counties from future residential, or commercial development, investing more than $8.9 million in state, county, local and nonprofit dollars in protecting prime farmland for the future. Pennsylvania ends 2022 continuing to lead the nation, having protected 170 farms and 13,069 acres this year.

Governor Wolf increased funding for preserving farms by $5 million in his 2016-17 budget, and since January 2015, the Wolf Administration has invested $273,065,874 in preserving 116,527 acres on 1,416 farms across the state. Since 1988, Pennsylvania has protected 6,148 farms and 619,191 acres in 58 counties from future development, investing more than $1.6 billion in our agriculture industry's ability to feed our families and our economy.

"Protecting prime farmland from development is one of the most important investments we make in our economy, our environment, and our quality of life," Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. "These farm families, together with every level of government, are investing in guarding their legacies and ensuring that other Pennsylvania families will have food, green spaces, income and jobs in the future."   

PUBLICATIONS

2023

Centre County Preserved Farms
Since 1991, Centre County has preserved 59 farm parcels and 8,785 acres of farmland.

2022

Farms Under Threat 2040: Choosing an Abundant Future

America's farmland and ranchland is rapidly disappearing, threatening our food security, undermining the agricultural economy, and making us vulnerable to climate shocks. The nation has a choice: allow unchecked sprawl to erode this critical resource, or safeguard it with policies that protect farmland and smarter land-use planning that leads to efficient growth. 

This new report from American Farmland Trust maps three alternative futures out to the year 2040.

2021

PA Bureau of Farmland Preservation 2021 Annual Report

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Farmland Preservation administers programs that protect prime farmland for future generations. Pennsylvania is a national leader in farmland preservation with 6,044 farms and 611,620 acres protected through permanent agricultural conservation easements (April 2022). Public funds used toward easement purchase are a critical investment in the future of Pennsylvania’s thriving $132.5 billion agricultural industry. In addition to the economic benefit, the program ensures food supply for a growing population. Pennsylvania has some of the most fertile, non-irrigated soils found anywhere in the world. The pandemic and increased threat of climate change both put food security at a heightened level of awareness and further support the need to continue preserving farms. The latest USDA ag census figures indicate that the Commonwealth lost roughly 6,000 of its farms from 2012-2017. cp99042.pdf (usda.gov) Development pressures will threaten prime farmland soils in the decade ahead. Farmland preservation mitigates these irreversible losses.

PRESENTATIONS

2023 Visual Tour of Preserved Farms in Centre County

An Agricultural History and Visual Tour of Penns Valley and Brush Valley farms 
This agricultural history and visual tour of farms in the Penns Valley and Brush Valley area — featuring some of Centre County's preserved farms — was funded by Verizon Wireless to fulfill Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) stipulations to mitigate adverse effects from a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) wireless telecommunications facility in Centre County.

Presentation Archive

Publication Archive

FARMING NEWS FROM AROUND THE STATE AND THE NATION: 
The Future of Farmland Preservation

What does the future of farming in Pennsylvania look like?
Pennsylvania is investing in helping farmers who will be transitioning to new owners and operators, 
as well as qualified new and beginning farmers. 

10 numbers that show how much farmland we’re losing to development
"What’s new ... is the discovery that the development isn’t coming only from urban areas expanding outwards – rural areas are also losing farmland rapidly."

PA Bureau of Farmland Preservation
Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of farms and acres permanently preserved for agricultural production. The program guarantees a future food supply and contributes to a healthier economy. 

Beginning Farmers
This webpage dedicated to the Beginner Farmer Realty Transfer Tax Exemption (Act 13 of 2019) includes basic information about the program, frequently asked questions, and associated forms.

If you have questions about resources for farmers, contact Diana Griffith, Centre County Ag Land Preservation Coordinator, at dlgriffith@centrecountypa.gov or (814) 355-6791.

WATCH: Farmland Preservation: Preserving Our Roots, Securing Our Future