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Farm Land


Staff Contact Information


Diane Matthews-Gehringer
Director of Farmland Preservation
610-391-9583 ext. 14

Jeff Zehr 
Farmland Preservation Specialist
610-391-9583 ext. 15

Beverly Weaver
Farmland Preservation Specialist

Emily Fucci
Farmland Preservation Specialist

Donna Wright
Municipal Outreach Coordinator

Cathleen Bannon
Garden Plot Program Administrator
610-391-9583 ext. 17

Lindsey Parks
The Seed Farm Executive Director
610-391-9583 ext. 16

Amy Cook
The Seed Farm Program Director
610-391-9583 ext. 16

Brooke Kohler
The Seed Farm Development Director

Eli Stogsdill
The Seed Farm Production Manager


About Land Preservation


The Bureau of Agricultural Land Preservation works with the nine member Sterling Raber Agricultural Land Preservation Board of Lehigh County to preserve farmland within Lehigh County. The name of the board was changed at the end of 2009 to honor Sterling Raber, former county commissioner and chairman of the farmland preservation board, for his long-time dedication and commitment to protecting agriculture and rural life in Lehigh County.

Total Acreage

The preservation of farmland is accomplished through the purchase of agricultural conservation easements (also known as the purchase of development rights) on eligible Lehigh County farm properties. As of August 22, 2017, the County Board has protected 286 Lehigh County farms covering a total of 22,527.88 acres with perpetual agricultural conservation easements.

Funding Status 

Lehigh County has allocated $2,021,126 for the purchase of development rights in 2017. The state has allocated $2,575,476 for Lehigh County in 2017.  Lehigh County's total farmland preservation budget for 2017 is $4,596,602.

The Lehigh County Land Preservation Board reviews the county program’s per acre cap each year. The current cap is $6,000 an acre.  This is the maximum amount per acre that the Board will pay.  The Board will continue to limit the increase in easement value from second opinion appraisals to no more than 50% above the original offer. Any Board purchase of an easement below the appraisal price may result in income tax breaks. For more information, please see Income Tax Incentives for Land Conservation.

Municipal Partnership

In an effort to preserve more farmland and boost funding for the Lehigh County Farmland Preservation Program, the County has developed the Municipal Partnership Program. Please see the Municipal Partnership Program section for more information.

Waiting List 

Preservation applicants are ranked each year following the July 1st application deadline. The top-ranking farms are then selected for preservation, based off of available funding. Farms that are not selected are put on a waiting list to be considered in the following year(s) when more funding is available. Currently, there are 80 farms on the waiting list.


For questions involving Act 319, please reference the Lehigh County Office of Assessment webpage. To contact them by phone, please call 610-782-3038.