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Agriculture / Conservation News
July/August 2009 Ag News

By Dennis Rich, Agriculture Committe Member

  JULY/AUGUST 2009 --

Each area of the state that has a farmland preservation program has a format for accomplishing their goals.  The most common thread is PDR (purchase of development rights), whereby the landowner sells, donates, or otherwise transfers the conservation easement to a state, regional, or county board or land trust.  The owner retains all rights, but if they were to sell, future owners would be restricted from developing the land.  Only agriculture related structures would be allowed.
In Lancaster County, PA, the Lancaster Farmland Trust has preserved over 250 farms totaling 18,000 acres in addition to those done by the County Preservation Board.  This allows for private donations to be used to acquire easements on land owned by members of Amish and Old Order sects that might be reluctant to be party transactions funded by a governmental agency.  The Trust has developed unique partnerships.  For example the Kitchen Kettle Village shipping area sells inscribed walkway bricks with proceeds going to preservation efforts.  They also do a Rhubarb Festival each May.  The Strasburg Railroad, popular with tourists, contributes a portion of ticket proceeds toward preserving farms along its right of way.  Turkey Hill Dairy donates proceeds from sale of the “All Natural Recipe” (black carton).  A number of townships and area businesses facilitate or contribute to the Trust’s efforts.
In Connecticut, we are fortunate to have the Working Lands Alliance and the Connecticut Farmland Trust.  This article has been submitted to inspire readers to think of ways to participate in farmland preservation efforts in our state


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