Farmland Preservation News 

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Farmers of color: Apply for COVID relief

PASA's relief fund provides one-time payments of $500 to farmers of color (including those who work on farms and commercial fishing operations) who are living in the Northeastern United States and have been adversely affected by the pandemic. These payments may be used for any household or personal expense. Apply


New round of COVID-19 relief funding available for farms of all sizes


Have you applied for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP2) relief funds yet? A short phone call could result in thousands of dollars of relief funding for your farm. FSA has recently expanded its capacity to process CFAP2 applications quickly. This new round of funding better accommodates a broader scale of farms and products than previous iterations of the program. To apply, simply call your county Farm Service Agency (FSA) office. The call could take 20 minutes or less if you have your sales and inventory records on hand!

 
2021 Farm Vitality Planning Grants available

Pennsylvania's Farm Vitality Planning Grants provide $7,500 grants to current and prospective farmers for farm planning. The grants can fund up to 75 percent of the costs to help you expand your operation (such as by adding a value-added product enterprise) or plan for a management or ownership transfer. Expenses from July 1, 2020 can be included. Grant applications will be accepted beginning April 19, 2021 until funding is depleted. Apply now >>

CENTRE COUNTY NEWS

Centre County preserves 56th farm

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE NEWS

Pennsylvania safeguards 2,305 acres on 30 farms
The 30 farms in 19 counties preserved on June 17, 2021, include one in Ferguson Township, Centre County

PUBLICATIONS

2020

PA Bureau of Farmland Preservation 2020 Annual Report
Pennsylvania is a national leader in farmland preservation with 5,869 farms and 596,827 acres protected through permanent agricultural conservation easements. 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 COVID19 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. Development pressures will threaten prime farmland soils in the decade ahead. Farmland preservation mitigates these irreversible losses.

Centre County Preserved Farms
Since 1991, Centre County has preserved 56 easements and 8,300 acres of farmland.

PRESENTATIONS

Stewards of Our Farmland
Visual tour of Centre County's preserved farms inspected in 2020

Presentation Archive

Publication Archive

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

Farm Preservation Report Marks State’s Progress
Pennsylvania has made a major commitment to farmland preservation

The state has preserved 600,000 acres on 5,700 farms — an almost $1.6 billion accomplishment. Another 1,400 farms are on waiting lists to be preserved. “Here in Pennsylvania, we like to tout the fact that we lead the nation in farmland preservation,” said Douglas Wolfgang, director of the Pennsylvania Ag Department’s Bureau of Farmland Preservation.

Pennsylvania County News: Agriculture in Pennsylvania
This Spring 2020 publication features Pennsylvania’s farmland preservation program. See page 10.

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."

RELIEF PAYMENTS AND GUIDANCE FOR FARMERS

Direct Relief for Farmers Affected by the Pandemic

Farmers are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program
Agricultural producers, farmers, and ranchers are eligible for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) passed by Congress as part of its Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The PPP is a guaranteed loan program aimed at helping small businesses maintain their payroll during the coronavirus crisis.

Agricultural producers, farmers, and ranchers with 500 or fewer employees whose principal place of residence is in the United States are eligible.

Farms are eligible if: (i) the farm has 500 or fewer employees, OR (ii) it fits within the revenue-based sized standard, which is on average annual receipts of $1M.

Additionally, farms can qualify for PPP if it meets SBA’s “alternative size standard.” The “alternative size standard” is currently: (1) a maximum net worth of the business not more than $15 million, AND (2) the average net income Federal income taxes of the business for the two full fiscal years before the date of the application be not more than $5 million.

COVID-19 Guidance for Farms and Markets
Agriculture is an essential, life-sustaining industry. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture encourages all segments of the agriculture supply chain to continue operations throughout the coronavirus pandemic, including farms, farmers markets, CSAs, and farm stands.
     All essential businesses that remain open should adopt safety protocols to limit the spread of the coronavirus while continuing to deliver food to their communities. Open the link above for a list of relevant information and resources to support farmers and local markets as we work together to adapt our operations and business models.
RESOURCES FOR FARMERS

PA Department of Agriculture
Learn how the PA Farm Bill works for you.

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.

Succession Planning
The Farm Vitality Planning Grant Program helps fund professional services for those planning for the future of a farm. 

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.