Pennsylvania is a national leader in farmland preservation, and today, Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding announced that the state has hit a major milestone, preserving 550,000 acres of farmland in the commonwealth over the last three decades.

“By investing our energy and resources in protecting Pennsylvania’s farmland, we are not simply investing in commodities; we’re investing in people and the future of agriculture and our ability to grow food,” said Redding. “Today’s landmark achievement represents a commitment to our agribusinesses, a commitment to our food system, a commitment to our communities, and a commitment to the future of the commonwealth.”

The Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program is dedicated to slowing the loss of prime farmland to non-agricultural uses. Funding allows state, county, and local governments to purchase conservation easements from owners of quality farmland.

Since the program began in 1988, federal, state, county, and local governments have purchased permanent easements on 5,329 farms totaling 552,703 acres in 58 counties for agricultural production.

Purchasing easements is a critical investment in Pennsylvania’s robust agricultural industry, an investment that protects agriculture’s $135.7 billion total economic impact and ensures future food supply production for a growing population. Since the program’s inception, total county contributions have exceeded the half-billion-dollar mark, and state contributions have surpassed $1 billion.