Agricultural Land Preservation Board Receives $200,000 DCED Grant
On Tuesday, July 29, 2008, the Berks County Agricultural Land Preservation Board received a state grant in the amount of $200,000 through the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). Representative David Kessler sponsored the grant and is pictured above presenting the award to Victoria Kintzer, Vice Chair of the Berks County Agricultural Land Preservation Board. The DCED Grant is to be used for the sole purpose of purchasing agricultural conservation easements.
(L-R) Commissioner Barnhardt, Representative David Kessler and
Commissioner Leinbach, Victoria Kintzer (BCALB Vice Chair)
Victoria Kintzer (BCALPB Vice Chair),
2008 Ranking Results
On March 26, 2008, the Berks County Agricultural Land Preservation Board was able to utilize $7.6 million for the selection of 28 farms totaling 2,778 acres!
Additional funding from the March 26, 2008 selection permitted a second selection on April 30, 2008. The Board was able to select 25 more farms totaling 2,095 acres!
More funding through the Federal Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) is expected to be utilized by the end of 2008 for the purchase of additional Agricultural Conservation Easements.
Celebrating the Preservation of 50,000 Acres!
Cloudy skies could not overshadow the festive atmosphere at the Benjamin & Patricia Scheffler farm on Friday, October 19th when approximately 300 friends of farming gathered to celebrate the preservation of 50,000 acres in Berks County. The Scheffler family was gracious while photographers, farmers, elected officials, journalists, exhibitors, caterers, employees, neighbors, friends, and a llama converged upon their farm – the very farm that took the Berks County’s Agricultural Conservation Easement (ACE) Program over the 50,000-acres preserved milestone. Berks is the first county in the State to mark this event in the history books.
The day began at 9:00 AM with a State Board of Farmland Preservation Board meeting, presided over by PA Department of Agriculture Secretary, the Honorable Dennis C Wolff. The State Board broke its own record by reviewing and approving the highest number of farms at a single meeting - 75 farms and 7,120 acres bringing the State’s ACE Program totals to 3,348 farms and 372, 673 acres to be preserved in perpetuity. A morning reception included light beverages with homemade cookies provided by the Virginville Grange and a huge sheet cake sculpted in the shape of the county adorned with green icing.
Following the meeting, Berks County Agricultural Land Preservation Board Directors, Dr. Robert Ziegenfus and Victoria Kintzer hosted the celebration ceremony. They welcomed Berks County Board of Commissioners, Congressman Tim Holden, Senator Michael O’Pake, and Rep. David Kessler to share their words of encouragement and appreciation to the farmers that have protected their land since the ACE Program’s inception in 1989.
Dave Kline of the Mountain Folk Band provided the musical inspiration for the ceremony. He led the audience in singing a rousing rendition of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land,” a fitting tribute to honor our nation’s agricultural heritage.
After Berks County’s 2007 Dairy Princess, Miss Stephanie Wiggins offered a milk toast, a delicious buffet luncheon was served by Big John’s and Little Wolf Creek Catering. The menu included many Berks County favorites, such as: chicken potpie, cole slaw, baked beans, and applesauce, and Way-Har Dairies’ ice cream!
Our many thanks to the organizations and agribusinesses that generously donated to this event; it would not have been a success without them. We would also like to extend our appreciation to the local farmers and producers who donated a product to the “Berks Bounty” table. A variety of locally grown products, processed goods and commodities were given to the Schefflers for their gracious hospitality.
2007 Ranking Results
On April 18, 2007, the Berks County Agricultural Land Preservation Board was able to utilize $11.8 million for the selection of 54 farms. That is an additional 4,964 acres!
Additional Farms Selected from 2006 Ranking
Due to the availability of additional funding, the Berks County Agricultural Land Preservation Board completed a second selection of Agricultural Conservation Easement applications based on the thirty-second round of the 2006 LESA scoring. A motion approved at the August 30, 2006 Board meeting resulted in the selection of an additional 32 farms, in the order in which they were ranked. This is an additional 2,380 acres!
Monies received from the Federal Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP)
The Berks County Agricultural Land Preservation Board received an additional $502,375 from the Federal Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP). These monies will be used to preserve two more farms from the 2006 ranking totaling 401.95 acres.
2006 Ranking Results
On March 29, 2006 the Berks County Agricultural Land Preservation Board was able to utilize $16.2 million for the selection of 76 farms. This is an additional 6,830.70 acres!
More Farms Selected
The State Agricultural Land Preservation Board announced at their August 25th meeting that there would be an additional $11 million available statewide for farmland preservation. The reallocation of monies from the state gave Berks County an additional $943,000!!
On September 28, 2005 the Berks County Agricultural Land Preservation Board selected an additional 16 farms from the 2005 ranking. This is an additional 1,105.81 acres!
2005 Ranking Statistics
Total farms ranked in 2005: 207
Total farms selected in 2005: 43
Total acreage of farms selected in 2005: 3,876.30