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To forever preserve the beautiful farmland and productive soils of Lancaster County and its rich agricultural heritage; and to create a healthy environment for the long-term sustainability of the agricultural economy and farming as a way of life.
History of the Board
In 1980, the County Commissioners appointed a nine-member Agricultural Preserve Board to devise ways to protect the county's agricultural lands. In 1983, the Preserve Board added staff and was made a county department. Since 1983, the Preserve Board has administered a purchase of development rights program to preserve land for farming. Landowners apply to sell development rights to the Preserve Board which then ranks the applications for priority, hires appraisers to estimate the value of development rights, and makes a formal offer to the landowner. Landowners who sell their development rights must maintain the land in farming.
The Preserve Board receives funding from both the county and the commonwealth. In 1989, the Preserve Board began to participate in Pennsylvania's statewide purchase of development rights program. As required by state regulations, the Preserve Board preserves farmland in accordance with Program Guidelines.
As of May 15, 2013, the Agricultural Preserve Board has preserved 72,426 acres of farmland on 842 Lancaster County family farms. The Preserve Board has a responsibility to monitor these farms for compliance with the terms of the conservation easement placed on the landowner's deed when the development rights are sold.
Note: The director of the Lancaster County Agricultural Preserve Board is appointed by the Lancaster County Board of Commissioners.