HARRISBURG – The Senate unanimously approved a bill today that would boost Pennsylvania’s farmland preservation efforts by allowing land trusts to be eligible for the program, according to the bill’s sponsor, Senator Scott Martin (R-13).
Senate Bill 881 would direct a portion of existing farmland preservation funding to private land trusts – groups that take stewardship over a property with the permission of the landowner. The legislation would require land trusts to provide matching funds in order to generate new private funding for the program.
Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of farms and acres permanently preserved for agricultural production. To date, 552,702 acres have been preserved on 5,329 farms across the state.
Martin said his effort to bolster the program has broad support from preservation groups across the state.
“We have had tremendous success with our program, and it has become a model for other states to follow. The goal now is to find ways to make the program even stronger and preserve more farms without asking taxpayers to commit more money,” Martin said. “Land trusts have a proven track record of success, especially in working with farmers who are reluctant to work with the government, such as the plain sect community. Expanding eligibility will ensure that more of our pristine farmland will remain in productive use for generations to come.”
The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.
CONTACT: Terry Trego (717) 787-6535