August 21, 2014
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Departments » Agricultural Land Preservation » Agricultural Security Areas  
Agricultural Security Areas

What is an agricultural security area?

Agricultural security areas are intended to promote more permanent and viable farming operations over the long term by strengthening the farming community's sense of security in land use and the right to farm. Agricultural security areas are created by local municipalities in cooperation with individual landowners who agree to collectively place at least 250 acres in an agricultural security area.

Landowner Benefits

Agricultural security areas provide three main benefits to landowners:

  1. Municipalities agree to support agriculture by not passing nuisance ordinances which would restrict normal farming operations.
  2. Limitations are placed on the ability of government to condemn farmland located in an agricultural security area for new schools, highways, parks, or other governmental projects.
  3. Landowners who are part of a 500 acre or larger agricultural security area may be eligible to apply to sell a perpetual agricultural conservation easement (or their development rights) to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and/or the County of Lehigh.

Having land enrolled in an Agricultural Security Area does not restrict a landowner's ability to use his or her property for non-agricultural development purposes.

Eligible Property

 

  1. Noncontiguous 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 do not have to be under the same ownership or even be located in the same municipality. The Agricultural Area Security Law (Act 43 of 1981) allows for the creation of joint municipality agricultural security areas.
  2. The property should be viable agricultural land. Cropland, pasture, and woodland can all be included in an agricultural security area.
  3. At least 50% of the land should be in soil capability classes I-IV, as defined by the Lehigh County Soil Survey.
  4. The property must be zoned to permit agricultural uses.

Application forms can be obtained directly from your municipality or by contacting our office by phone, e-mail or regular mail. All owners of the proposed agricultural security tracts must sign the application form for each parcel being offered for inclusion in the agricultural security area. Applications should be mailed to the municipality by certified mail with return receipt requested.

  
 
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