Governor Tom Wolf announced that Pennsylvania's nation-leading farmland preservation program has reached more than 600,000 acres of farmland preserved, leaving it forever safeguarded from future residential, commercial, or industrial development.
Click here for full details and press conference.
Lehigh County Farmland Preservation Office
4234 Dorney Park Rd Suite 2 Allentown, PA 18104
Director of Farmland Preservation
Farmland Preservation Specialist
Garden Plot Program Administrator
Contact 610-336-5680 Ext 2 firstname.lastname@example.org
Seed Farm Contact
Welcome to Lehigh County Farmland Preservation's Web Page
December 2023- 27,699+ acres preserved in
Lehigh County- Watch for updates.
The Bureau of Agricultural Land Preservation & the nine member Sterling Raber Agricultural Land Preservation Board of Lehigh County work 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.
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 December 2023, the County Board has protected 397 Lehigh County farms covering a total of 27,699+ acres with perpetual agricultural conservation easements (not Act 319/515)
Funding Status (2023)
Lehigh County has allocated $1,000,000 per year for the purchase of development rights for 2023 and hope to allocate $1mil each year 2023 thru 2026. The state has allocated $2.3+mil for Lehigh County in 2023. Lehigh County's total farmland preservation budget for 2023 is $3.4mil+.
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. Second opinion appraisals are not accepted for Out of Order Municipal Partnership easements or Emergency Purchase Easements. Any Board purchase of an easement below the appraisal price might result in income tax breaks. For more information, please see your tax accountant.
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.
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 40 farms on the waiting list.
ACT 319/515 is NOT permanent preservation-it's a preferential tax program :
For questions involving Act 319/515, please reference the Lehigh County Office of Assessment webpage. To contact them by phone, please call 610-782-3038.
Exciting New Tax Information for Beginner Farmers:
BEGINNER FARMER REALTY TRANSFER TAX EXEMPTION (ACT 13 OF 2019)
Please note there is now a webpage dedicated to providing information regarding the Beginner Farmer Realty Transfer Tax Exemption (Act 13 of 2019). The webpage includes basic information about the program, frequently asked questions, and associated forms. The webpage can be reached at the following link: https://www.agriculture.pa.gov/Plants_Land_Water/farmland/Act_13/Pages/default.aspx
PA Farm Link
Find information on linking farm owners wishing to sell or lease farms or farmland to people wishing to purchase or lease farms or farmland under the "links of interest" section to the left of this page.
Landowner Responsibilities If You Own Preserved Farmland
ATTENTION TO ALL OWNERS, SELLERS
AND PURCHASERS OF PRESERVED FARMS
ALL new deeds must contain a copy of the Original Deed of Easement , which parcel has the additional house right, AND how much building coverage your farm is allowed. SEE "ALP FORMS AND DOCUMENTS" FOR THE INSTRUCTIONS. If your Deeds are not recorded with the correct language as required by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, you will be contacted by our office and required to have your Deed corrected at your cost. This requirement is part of your Deed of Easement!
For additional information contact the Farmland Preservation office at 610-336-5680 DianeMatthews-Gehringer@lehighcounty.org