The County of Lehigh, in conjunction with the Sterling Raber Agricultural Land Preservation Board of Lehigh County, has created the Municipal Partnership Program to aide townships in the preservation of their farmland and boost funding for farmland preservation in Lehigh County.
When a township agrees to add money(called certifying) to the County’s Farmland Preservation appropriation funds that are sent to the State of Pennsylvania, the County and Township will have additional funds for farmland preservation.
The additional funds can be used in several ways by the township to help preserve their farmland. This includes paying a landowner up to the easement appraisal value of their property if their appraisal value is over the current price cap ($6,000) that is set by the Board. Township funding can be used to preserve locally important farms that are not currently at the top of the waiting list, helping the County to preserve farmland that it may not normally be able to.
This is called 'Out of Order' preservation.
The County pays 1/3rd the easement value up to $2,000/acre but no more. The township then pays the remaining 2/3rd or negotiates with the property owner.
The additional State preservation funds that are generated by township contribution to the County total can be used to preserve more farmland not only in that municipality, but across Lehigh county. This extends Lehigh County’s preservation funding and capacity.
A township may develop a preservation fund on their own to assist in the preservation of farmland, but if not certified, it will miss out on the additional money and options that certifying can create.
For more details on the Municipal Partnership program, and to get a copy of the Municipal Handbook for Farmland Preservation, contact Donna Wright, Farmland Preservation Specialist, at the Farmland Preservation Office 610-336-5680 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact your local municipality to encourage their
participation in the Municipal Partnership Program!