Farmland in Westmoreland County pA

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Programs by WCALP

These programs represent important tools available to preserve Westmoreland County’s rich agricultural heritage.

Fields

Easements

Agricultural Conservation Easements

Agricultural 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 nearly 10,550 acres on 81 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 the
Conservation Easement Application

The Application is a PDF file and requires Adobe Reader to open.


Applications are accepted on an annual basis beginning
November 1 to December 15.
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 call 724-837-8971
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 proximity.
     
  • 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 agricultural production.

    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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