A collage of images of preserved farms
For more information contact:
Director of Farmland Preservation
610-391-9583 ext. 15
Farmland Preservation Specialist
610-391-9583 ext. 14
Garden Plot Program Administrator
610-391-9583 ext. 17
The Seed Farm Executive Director
610-391-9583 ext. 16
The Seed Farm Program Director
610-391-9583 ext. 16
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 February 17, 2016 the County Board has protected 267 Lehigh County farms covering a total of 21,693 acres with perpetual agricultural conservation easements. Click on the map below for an overview of the entire county and on the photos at left for a close-up view.
Funding Status Lehigh County has allocated $650,000 for the purchase of development rights in 2016. $200,000 of this has been committed by two municipalities participating in a new municipal partnership pilot program. The state has allocated $1,931,024 for Lehigh County in 2016. Lehigh County's total farmland preservation budget for 2016 is $2,581,024.
The County Land Preservation Board reviews the county program's per acre cap each year, which is currently $5,000 per acre. That 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.
Waiting List The farm applications are ranked each year following the March 31st application deadline. The top farms are selected for preservation. Due to funding limitations many of the farms are put on a waiting list to be considered in the following year(s) when funding is available.
Lehigh County Agricultural Conservation Easement Program Manual
Preserved Farms Map