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Rolling farmland


Why Preserve the land?

Why Preserve Farmland?

  1. Farmland is a rapidly disappearing natural resource

    According to the American Farmland Trust, the United States is losing forty acres of farm and ranch land every hour to new development. Since 1982, America has converted 24 million acres of agricultural land to developed uses. This is roughly the size of Indiana and Rhode Island combined. 
  2. Local farms provide fresh food at a reasonable cost

    Locally produced food is more nutritious, less costly and supports the local economy. Transportation and environmental costs are high for foods that are imported from distant regions and other countries, consuming large quantities of fossil fuels.  The average distance an "American meal" travels from farm to plate is 1,500 miles.

    To find nearby farmers' markets and family farms, check out:

    Local Harvest 

    Penn State Ag Map 
  3. Protecting local farmland keeps property taxes down

    For every dollar a farm family pays in property taxes, they only use 36 cents in public services. Commercial development uses an average of $0.99 worth of services for every dollar in property taxes paid. Residential property owners use more than $1.30 worth of services for every dollar in property taxes paid. Single family residential developments are a net drain on a community's fiscal resources.   This is because residential developments require costly school, road, utility, police and fire protection services.
    Act 319/515 is only a tax break -it does NOT preserve farmland permanently from development.

    Source: The Heritage Conservatory report  “Opportunity Knocks:  Open Space is a Community Investment”

  4. Preserved farmland protects local scenery and promotes local tourism

    Seeing open farmland soothes the mind and soul. Local scenic landscapes are important for attracting visitors and for keeping the quality of life high for local citizens.
  5. Local farm businesses support farm and farm-related jobs

    Agriculture is one of the leading industries in Pennsylvania. According to the 2012 Ag Census, Lehigh County had a market value of $90,833,000 for agricultural products. One out of every 5 jobs in Pennsylvania is agriculturally related. Productive farms employ managers, farm laborers, accountants, feed & fertilizer consultants, veterinarians and agricultural equipment suppliers.   Farms also provide the raw materials for food processing plants, restaurants and grocery stores.
  6. Locally protected farms benefit the environment

    The American Farmland Trust estimates nearly 1.7 billion tons of topsoil are lost each year. Preserved farm properties are managed by private landowners using sound soil and water conservation practices that protect the soil from erosion and local surface waters from contamination. By keeping soils healthy through conservation practices, the effects of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change can be offset. Open farm and forest lands are important for the recharge of ground water in our communities.  Farms also provide critical habitat for local wildlife populations, promoting and protecting biodiversity.