LOOKING FOR A FEW GOOD FARMS
On November 1, 2017, the Westmoreland County Agricultural Land Preservation Board (WCALP) will again begin accepting applications for consideration of an Agricultural Conservation Easement from farmland owners throughout the County. Since 1993, the WCALP Board of Directors have preserved over 13,000 acres of farmland by agricultural conservation easements in 15 municipalities under the Pennsylvania Farmland Preservation Program.
Most all of us have that favorite drive around the area that leads us past some of the region's most picturesque farmland with rolling green crop fields and well grazed pastureland, home to healthy cows and livestock, living the life. Some of us remember the farm lifestyle having grown up on a farm or visiting grandparents, aunts & uncles, who made their living on a farm. But that percentage of the population is declining. Less than 1% of our population has a direct tie to farming, and my guess is that less than 5% have even the distant tie of a relative who farmed.
Preserving our farmland isn’t just about keeping the farmer farming. It’s about protecting the land that provides food for our nation, whether we are talking about local sweet corn or beef cattle that are shipped and processed somewhere else, adding to the national supply of food commodities. The value of farm products is the backbone of this country and helps make America a world leader.
We are asking for your help to identify the best farms in the County and encourage them to consider protection of their farmland through an Agricultural Conservation Easement. The landowners still own and maintain their farm, with compensation paid to them for limiting the use of their land to farming for generations to come.
If you know of a farm you think should be preserved, please direct them to our website and encourage them to contact our office for information about protecting their land for the future, because we all benefit from land preservation!
In Their Own Words
farmland, for future generations.”
Edward & Margie Sossa, East Huntingdon
“On May 22, 2013 we chose to preserve our farm in Mt. Pleasant Township for four basic reasons: First – Its prior owners had done so by raising food crops and livestock on it for more than 150 years. Second- We were mindful of the present need to ensure the future existence of family farms in our county as well as across the state. Third – The County Commissioners had recognized the benefit of adopting the Agricultural Land Preservation Program as a means of preserving farms in Westmoreland County. Fourth – We witnessed the dedicated and effective administration of the program by Betty Reefer. Her work and that of the various members of the Board have led to the success and continued growth of the meaningful program. Carol and I are satisfied to know that our farm will always have stewards to preserve it. “
Walnut Bottom Farm, The Ober’s, Mt. Pleasant
“I chose to enter the Farmland Preservation program because I strongly believe in the heritage of agriculture in our area. My father and grandfather instilled this at an early age. We all worked together as a Dairy Farm family to maintain our livelihood and farm. Times have changed and I realize that the only constant is change. Change from conventional tilling to no tilling, dairy to beef, whatever it takes to keep things going. I feel the family farm is still a strong block in American society.”
Frank E. Skacel, Jr., VMD, Derry