Why Preserve Farmland?
1. Farmland is a rapidly disappearing natural resource
According to the American Farmland Trust, the United States is losing two acres of
farmland every minute to new development. From 1992 to 1997, America converted more
than 6 million acres of agricultural land to developed uses. This is roughly an
area the size of Maryland. Pennsylvania lost 134,900 acres of prime farmland from
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-
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.