Programs by WCALP
Easements :: Agricultural Security Areas ::
Clean & Green
Century & Bicentennial Farm Program
These programs represent important
tools available to preserve Westmoreland County’s rich agricultural
Agricultural Security Areas
The agricultural security area law (Act 43 of 1981) provides a
tool for strengthening and protecting agriculture in Pennsylvania.
Agricultural Security Areas promote more permanent and viable
farming operations over the long-term by strengthening the farming
community’s sense of security in the land use and their right to
farm. Township governments create Agricultural Security Areas (ASA)
at the request of farmland owners. A township or municipality may
establish an ASA with 250 acres of farmland owned by multiple
landowners with tracts of 10 acres or more.
Agricultural Security Areas
If you would like to complete an Agricultural Security Area
application, please click the following link to download the
Agricultural Security Area Application
The Application is a PDF file and requires Adobe Reader to open.
Please submit your application to:
Your Local Township Office
For assistance in completing this form, or for any questions, please
ASA’s provide three main benefits to landowners:
- The Township Supervisors agree to support agriculture by not
passing nuisance laws that would restrict normal farming operations.
- Limitations are placed on the ability of government to condemn
farmland in the ASA for highways, parks, schools, or municipal
- Landowners will be eligible to voluntarily apply to sell a
conservation easement to the County Agricultural Land Preservation
- Land owned by more than one landowner in a township, borough or
municipality that totals a minimum of 250 acres. The farms that make
up the 250 acres must be at least 10 acres each and need not be
adjacent to one another.
- At least 50% of the soils on that land must have a soil capability
class of I-IV, as determined by the USDA Soil Survey.
- The land must be viable agricultural land.
- Zoning shall permit agricultural use, but need not exclude other
Procedure for Creating Agricultural Security Areas
- Landowners submit a petition to create an Agricultural
Security Area to the township supervisors. The petition must include
the signatures and address of the landowners, tax parcel numbers,
and the number of acres of each farm tract.
- If the proposed Security Area contains land in more than one
township, a petition to create a Security Area must be submitted to
each township involved.
- The township supervisors acknowledge the receipt of the petition
at their next meeting, publish a notice in the newspaper, and post
five notices in the township stating that a petition has been
- For 15 days after publishing the notice, the supervisors and the
township planning commission may receive proposed modifications to
the Security Area from adjacent municipalities or landowners in,
adjacent to, or near the proposed Security Area.
- The chairman of the township board of supervisors appoints five
persons to the agricultural security area advisory committee: Three
farmers, one non-farmer and one supervisor who will serve as the
chairman of the committee.
- The township supervisors, at the expiration of the 15-day period
for receiving proposed modifications, send the Security Area
proposal and any modification received to the township planning
commission and advisory committee. Each body may take up to 45 days
to make a recommendation to the supervisors of whether or not the ASA should be established. (A list of criteria on which to base the
recommendations is available from the Agricultural Land Preservation
- Upon receipt of the recommendations from the advisory committee
and the planning commission, the township supervisors hold an
advertised public hearing on the proposed ASA. Notice of the hearing
is made to each landowner who is included in the proposal for
creation of an Agricultural Security Area.
- The township supervisors take action to adopt the ASA proposal or
any modification of it. The supervisors must make a decision within
180 days from the date the petition was submitted by the landowners.
Failure of the supervisors to act within 180 days shall be deemed
adoption of the Security Area proposal as originally submitted
Additions & Modifications to Agricultural Security Areas
- Additional lands may be added to an existing ASA on a voluntary
basis by the landowners at any time.
- An addition of land to the existing ASA is subject to the same
procedure as in the creation of an Agricultural Security Area.
- Agricultural Security Areas shall be reviewed and reestablished
every seven years. The seventh year review serves as a way to check
whether the agricultural security area continues to make a
contribution to the preservation of the agricultural, economic, and
environmental well being in the community.
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