Programs by WCALP
Agricultural Security Areas ::
Clean & Green
Century & Bicentennial Farm Program
These programs represent important
tools available to preserve Westmoreland County’s rich agricultural
Agricultural Conservation Easements
conservation easements prevent the development or improvement of the
land for any purpose other than agricultural production. All
easements purchased by the Westmoreland County Agricultural Land
Preservation Program are perpetual. The Westmoreland County
Agricultural Land Preservation Board will also work with interested
landowners to protect farmland through the donation of a
conservation easement. Donation of a conservation easement may be a
helpful tool in family
farm estate planning.
Pennsylvania’s farmland preservation program is the best in the
nation, strengthening Pennsylvania’s agricultural economy.
Westmoreland County will soon reach over 13,000 acres on 104 farms that are
protected by agricultural easements.
How is an Easement Chosen for Purchase?
Conservation Easement Application
If you would like to complete an Agricultural Conservation Easement
Purchase application, please click the following link to download
Conservation Easement Application
The Application is a PDF file and requires Adobe Reader to open.
Applications will be accepted at any time, with a cut-off
date of September 1st for consideration of an agricultural
conservation easement in the next round of funding. Please submit your application to:
Westmoreland County Agricultural Land Preservation Board
214 Donohoe Road, Suite B
Greensburg, PA 15601
For assistance in completing this form, or for any questions, please
In addition to being a part of an Agricultural Security Area (ASA),
the parcel of land is ranked against other eligible parcels
according to criteria established by the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania, using a Land Evaluation & Site Assessment (LESA).
- Quality of Farmland
Agricultural Conservation Easements may be purchased on farms 50
acres or more in size. Parcels as small as ten acres may be
preserved if adjacent to existing preserved land. At least half
of the tract must be either harvested cropland, pasture or
grazing land, and it must contain 50 percent farmland soils
classified as I, II, III or IV, according to US Department of
Agriculture’s Soil Survey Data. Farms of 35 acres to less than
50 and are not adjacent to other protected farmland may also be
considered, however must contain at least 80% harvested
cropland. Please consult our office for more information on 35
to 49 acre parcel qualifications.
Farms are ranked on the use of approved USDA conservation
practices implemented by the landowner, to protect the soil and
water quality of the land.
The farmland is ranked for possible uses other than agricultural
use based upon a variety of factors such as: proximity of farm
to sewer and water lines. Extent and type of non-farm
development nearby, amount and type of agricultural use in the
vicinity, and the amount of other preserved farmland in close
- Determination of Value
An independent state-licensed general real estate appraiser is
selected by the county board to determine the market value and
agricultural value of the farmland. The difference between these
two values is the maximum value of the conservation easement.
The county board has the option to offer a purchase price that
is less than the appraised easement value.
- Conserving our Farmland
The long-term goal of the program is to permanently preserve
farmland. The holder of the easement has the right to prevent
development or improvements of the land for purposes other than
Local governments, in cooperation with the Westmoreland County
Agricultural Land Preservation Board may also acquire
conservation easements on farmland through the state program.
The county board approves a farm at the county level, then
presents the farm for final approval to the State Agricultural
Land Preservation Board, which provides statewide governance of
the program. The State Board is responsible for the distribution
of funds, approval and monitoring of the county programs, and
specific easement purchases. The Bureau of Farmland Preservation
within the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is responsible
for administration of the statewide program.
You can help lead the way.
If you own a farm and want to become part of Pennsylvania’s
‘nation-leading’ farmland preservation program, please
contact us at the Westmoreland County
Agricultural Land Preservation Program. Eligibility criteria, how to
make an application; procedural steps in the approval process; and
questions about preservation payments are examples of the
information you can receive from the WCALP. You can also help
protect farmland and preserve your farm by:
- Buying locally produced agriculture products.
- Supporting your local farm markets.
- Encourage your locally elected officials to support the
protection of our valuable farmland.
- Teach your children where their food comes from.
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