Why Preserve Farmland?

1. Farmland is a rapidly disappearing natural resource

According to the American Farmland Trust, every minute of every day, we have been losing more than an acre of agricultural land to development. Why? Farm and ranch land is desirable for building because it tends to be flat, well drained and affordable.  The most recent data, covering the 25-year period between  1982 and 2007, reveals that more than 23 million acres of America’s  agricultural land have been lost to development—an area the size of  Indiana.   Pennsylvania lost 728,700 acres of ag land to developement between 1982 and 2007.

 
 2. Local farms provide fresh food at a reasonable cost

Locally produced food is more nutritious and less costly. Transportation and environmental costs are high for foods that are imported from distant regions and other countries. The average distance that food travels from farm to plate is 1,500 miles.

 
3. Protecting local farmland keeps property taxes down

For every dollar a farm family pays in property taxes, they only use 33 cents in public services. Residential property owners use more than a dollar’s worth of services for every dollar in property taxes paid. Single family residential developments are a net drain on a community’s fiscal resources. This is because residential developments require costly school, road, utility, police and fire protection services.

  

4. Preserved farmland protects local scenery and promotes local tourism

Seeing open farmland soothes the mind and soul. Local scenic landscapes are important for attracting visitors and for keeping the quality of life high for local citizens.

 

5. Local farm businesses support farm and farm-related jobs

Agriculture is considered Pennsylvania’s number one industry. One job of every 5 jobs in Pennsylvania is agriculturally related. Productive farms employ managers, farm laborers, accountants, feed & fertilizer consultants, veterinarians and agricultural equipment suppliers. Farms also provide the raw materials for food processing plants, restaurants and grocery stores.

 

6. Locally protected farms benefit the environment

Preserved farm properties are managed by private landowners using sound soil and water conservation practices that protect soil from erosion and also protect local surface waters from contamination. Open farm and forest lands are important for the recharge of ground water in our communities. Farms also provide critical habitat for local wildlife populations.



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