Act 43 authorizes townships to create Agricultural Security Areas (ASAs) on a voluntary basis. Landowners are encouraged to enroll farmland in an ASA that offers three benefits: 1) Protection from condemnation or eminent domain; 2) Protection from local nuisance ordinances; and 3) Eligibility for the ACE Program.
Landowners with 10 acres or more may voluntarily petition their township to form an ASA. A minimum of 250 acres is needed to establish an ASA and a minimum of 500 acres is needed for that land enrolled in the ASA to be eligible for the ACE Program. Most townships in Berks County with an ASA have more than 500 acres enrolled. An ASA may be increased at any time. Landowners simply need to submit an enrollment form to the township office by certified mail, as it is important that the landowners can verify the date the application was submitted. In addition to the township’s responsibility to respond to enrollment forms, every seven years townships may review lands enrolled in ASA with the option of adding additional land, at the request of the landowners, or withdrawing land previously enrolled. ASA enrollment forms and supporting documentation may be obtained at the Berks County Agricultural Land Preservation Office.