Horses stand in a farm field

August 11, 2017

Farmland Preservation in Pike County

A vital aspect of Pike County’s Scenic Rural Character Preservation Program is its Agricultural Land Preservation Program, which protects working farms within Agricultural Security Areas by acquiring conservation easements from willing landowners.

The program, which was established by the Pike County Commissioners in 2006 at the recommendation of the planning commission, also creates access to significant state funds.

The program signifies the county’s commitment to Pennsylvania’s farmland preservation program and acknowledges the importance of preserving and maintaining local agricultural lands as a valued economic, natural, ecological, cultural and historic resource.

Matching Funds

To date in Pike County, 210 acres in Dingman and Greene townships have been protected with agricultural conversation easements.

In January 2015, the Commissioners certified $2,412 for the purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easements in Pike County. This money was matched with $186,882 from state funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, resulting in an allocation of $189,294 to aid Pike County in preserving farmland.

Scenic Farmland Views

Pike’s small farms significantly contribute to the scenic rural character of our local communities. Pastureland, harvested hayland and orchards provide spectacular views, which have a proven value to both residents and tourists.

Unfortunately, small farms face considerable challenges to their sustainability, such as:

~ Rising costs of farm operation
~ Fluctuating farm product market prices and demand
~ Steadily increasing property and school taxes
~ Development pressure

The Agricultural Land Preservation program helps to strengthen and protect our quality farmlands for the continued production of food and other agricultural products. It also helps our small family farm landowners continue working their land.

Wise Choice

Protecting agricultural open space is also a fiscally wise choice. It saves money on infrastructure and community services by concentrating growth and reducing demand for public services such as police, schools, roads and sewerage. Forestland and farmland require less community services while residential development costs more in infrastructure, services and schools.

The initial Scenic Rural Character Preservation Program, from which the Agricultural Land Preservation Program sprang, was limited to a period of 10 years. That time frame has now passed.

To help maintain the high quality of life that we all enjoy in Pike County, we’d like to hear what you think about continuing local conservation, planning and land protection efforts.

We invite you to complete this brief survey before it closes on Friday, September 22.