The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

December 4, 2012

Farmland protection signup

The Daily Item

— LEWISBURG — Applications for the 2013 Union County Ag-Land Preservation Program are being accepted until Jan. 31. The Ag-Land Preservation Program is a state and county-run program that purchases development rights from landowners in order to protect farmland for future food production and open space preservation.

This method of preserving farmland allows landowners to receive compensation for keeping their land in farming. The price paid for these rights is based on the difference between the whole farm-development market value and the farmland market value. For the year 2012 purchase period, easement purchases in Union County ranged from $1,300 to $1,500 per acre. Base prices are determined by a certified appraisal. A locally appointed board of directors guides the program, and establishes the methodology of prioritizing farms and the purchase price of development rights.

In order to qualify, farms must be in a duly recorded ag. security area, have at least 50 acres (unless contiguous to other approved preserved land), and meet soil quality parameters as required by state regulations. A farm must have a current erosion and sedimentation or conservation plan, and a manure management or nutrient management plan to apply.

Contact Cindy Kahley, Union County Conservation District, at 155 N. 15th St., Lewisburg, or call 524-3860 for more information or to pick up an application.