Farmlands across the nation face pressure from development, and that holds true for Huntingdon County. HCCD is committed to preserving agricultural land. Here are a few ways we encourage preservation in our county:
Agricultural Security Areas
Agricultural Security Areas are a tool for protecting our farms and farmland from non-agricultural uses. To establish an ASA, a petition is submitted to the township supervisors by a group of farmers. A combined minimum of 250 acres is required for the establishment of an ASA. These security areas are reevaluated every seven years; however, new parcels of farmland may be added to an established ASA at any time. An ASA may include non-adjacent farmland parcels of at least 10 acres or parcels which are able to produce $2,000 annually from the sale of agricultural products.
Participants receive special consideration regarding:
- Protection from local ordinances and nuisance lawsuits affecting normal farming activities.
- Review of farmland condemnation by state and local government agencies.
- Hazardous waste and low-level radioactive waste sites are not to be located on land in an ASA.
Huntingdon County currently has ASA's established in 19 municipalities, totaling over 73,000 acres. There are no restrictions on the land that is enrolled in the ASA. Being in an ASA qualifies land for consideration under the farmland preservation program at the owner's request, as long as the ASA has at least 500 acres enrolled. For more information on how to create an ASA, or to add acreage to an existing ASA, please contact Celina Seftas, District Manager.
Farms enrolled in an ASA with at least 500 acres, are eligible for the Farmland Preservation Program. This voluntary program is designed to preserve the most productive farmlands through a perpetual agricultural conservation easement. These easements protect enrolled farmland permanently. Interested landowners sell the development right on the farm to the state/county, and the landowner is fairly compensated. In turn, the state/county is able to prevent further development. The state/county only owns this very specific right to the farm, and landowners retain all other property rights and ownership. We are proudly maintaining 9 easements, covering 1082 acres, in Huntingdon County. If you are interested in enrolling your farm in this program, please contact our District Manager, Celina Seftas.
For more information on Agland Preservation, please visit the State Farmland Preservation website.