Agricultural Security Areas

About the ASA Program

Agricultural Security Areas are a tool to protect farms and farmland from non-agricultural uses. ASAs are intended to promote viable farming operations over the long term by strengthening the farming community’s right to farm. Pennsylvania took the first step toward protecting farmland when it adopted an Agricultural Security Area law (PA Act 43) in 1981.

Local municipalities create ASAs in cooperation with individual landowners,
who agree to collectively place at least 250 acres in an agricultural security area. Landowners initiate the process of creating an ASA by petitioning their municipality, which approves the application in accordance with Act 43. The municipality is responsible for renewing the area every seven years.

Participation is voluntary.  Landowners that enroll in an ASA commit to remaining in it for seven years. After fulfilling their seven-year commitment, landowners may withdraw at any time. Each municipality may add new enrollees to an established ASA at any time.

Enroll

Landowners who wish to enroll their property in an agricultural security area may fill out an enrollment form. Submit three copies including the required map by certified mail and requesting a return receipt to the township in which the proposed ASA is located.

Download Agricultural Security Area Creation/Modification Form (PDF)

Staff Contact 

Diana Griffith
Centre County Ag Land Preservation Coordinator
Phone: (814) 355-6791

Email Diana Griffith

ASA11x17

  • Centre County Agricultural Security Areas, 2021

Landowner Benefits

Agricultural Security Areas provide the following benefits to participating landowners:

  • Protection from local ordinances and nuisance lawsuits that affect normal farming operations.
  • Special consideration during review of farmland condemnation by state and local government agencies.
  • May qualify for a lower interest rate when applying for federal loans.
  • Unrestricted from developing the property for non-agricultural purposes; only farms within the ASA that have sold their development rights are prohibited from developing their properties. 
  • If located in an ASA of 500 or more collective acres, may be eligible to apply to sell a perpetual agricultural conservation easement (or their development rights) through Centre County’s Agricultural Land Preservation Program.
  • Only land in an existing ASA can be considered for the purchase of an Agricultural Conservation Easement through the Centre County PACE Program.

Centre County ASA

TownshipAcres
Benner Township1,932
Boggs Township607
College Township919
Ferguson Township15,667
Gregg Township4,890
Haines Township4,537
Halfmoon Township5,288
Harris Township3,210
Huston Township1,706
Marion Township3,930
Miles Township7,404
Patton Township2,881
Penn Township4,299
Potter Township11,466
Spring Township3,514
Taylor Township3,955
Union Township149
Walker Township6,127
Worth Township2,559
Total85,040

Eligible Property

  • Non-contiguous farm parcels must be at least 10 acres in size. The farm tracts needed to create a new 250-acre or larger Agricultural Security Area need not be under the same ownership or even located in the same municipality. The Agricultural Area Security Law (Act 43 of 1981) allows for the creation of joint municipality agricultural security areas.
  • The property in an ASA should be viable agricultural land, including cropland, pasture, and woodland.
  • At least 50 percent of the land should be in Soil Capability Classes I - IV, as defined by the county soil survey.
  • The property must be zoned to permit agricultural uses.

Considering Leaving Your ASA?

Before you remove your property from an Agricultural Security Area, consider the benefts of staying in it:

  • Protection from local ordinances and nuisance lawsuits that affect normal farming operations.
  • Special consideration during review of farmland condemnation by state and local government agencies.
  • May qualify for a lower interest rate when applying for federal loans.

Moreover, if you want to develop your property and it has not been preserved, you can still participate in the ASA. Owners of unpreserved properties in an ASA are unrestricted from selling, developing or subdividing their property in any manner authorized by local zoning and subdivision and land development regulations.  Within the ASA, only landowners of preserved farms -- because they have sold their development rights -- are prohibited from developing their properties. The larger the acreage in an ASA, the more beneficial it is to your neighbors that may wish to preserve their farmland forever. 

For more information about the benefits of being in an Agricultural Security Area, contact Diana Griffith, Centre County Ag Land Preservation Coordinator, at dlgriffith@centrecountypa.gov or (814) 355-6791.