Farmland Preservation News 

Crop field, blue sky, white clouds
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.

Publications

2020
Centre County Agricultural Land Preservation News Update March 2020
This issue features the PASA Sustainable Agriculture Conference, the PA Farm Bill, and other resources for farmers.

Centre County Preserved Farms
Since 1991, Centre County has completed 53 easements and preserved 8,023 acres of farmland.

Stewards of Our Farmland presentation
A visual tour of Centre County’s preserved farmland in Benner, Ferguson, Harris, Marion, Potter, Spring and Walker townships.

Publication Archive

News Releases
2020

Centre County’s agricultural easement program preserves 53rd farm
The Centre County Agricultural Land Preservation Board on January 7 officially preserved 234.35 additional acres of farmland, bringing its total acreage for preserved farms to 8,023 acres.

Farming News from around the Region and the Nation

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

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.

Wolf Administration Reminds Pennsylvanians of Food Assistance Programs and Resources, Encourages Volunteerism to Keep Life-Sustaining Food Services Available
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has provided resources for Pennsylvanians to access emergency food assistance during COVID-19 mitigation, including locations of food banks and food pantries that are assisting individuals and families during this time. And to ensure that food banks and community feeding organizations remain operable with healthy volunteers, the department provided guidance for ways to limit contact while providing their essential services.

COVID-19 Guidelines for Farmers & Markets
During this webinar, Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) Executive Director Hannah Smith-Brubaker and Brian Moyer from Penn State Cooperative Extension review the guidelines on COVID-19 for farmers, markets, and related ag businesses issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. They also outline and recommend additional measures that direct-to-consumer farms and farmers markets can implement to limit in-person transactions.

New Facebook page — Eat Local Centre County — gives farmers resources for selling products locally
As farmers markets close and residents are being asked to stay home, people are being encouraged to shop local for food and to explore pick-up and delivery options. Learn more. Appalachian Food Works also wants to know how they can help you sell. You may contact them at info@appfoodworks.org

Surviving COVID-19: How US Farmers Are Coping In Uncertain Times (March 23, 2020)


Producers are coming up with creative ways to sell their produce, as farmers’ markets shut down across the country. 

Pennsylvania Adds 39 Farms, 2,848 Acres to Nation-Leading Farmland Preservation Program
The Pennsylvania Agricultural Land Preservation Board on February 20, 2020 approved easements on the J. Roy Campbell and Galen and Katherine McWilliams farms in Ferguson Township. Together, these parcels will add 182 acres to Centre County’s preserved farmland.

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."

Make rural Pennsylvania’s voice heard in the Census 2020
USDA grants are based on census data.

Upcoming Events
ABC Essentials: Centre County Agricultural Land Preservation Board, 4 - 6 pm Tuesday, May 19.
The Chamber of Business and Industry Centre County (CBICC) hosts this presentation on how to get involved in and support farmland preservation in the county. 

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.