Welcome to the County of Berks
Berks County Agricultural Land Preservation (BCALP) Board

The BCALPB is a nine-member board appointed by the Berks County Commissioners. Board members serve a three-year term.

 

PURPOSE: The County Board was established to administer the Agricultural Conservation Easement (ACE) Program for Berks County as set forth in the Agricultural Area Security Law (3 P.S. §§ 901-915) as amended, and any other public program approved by the Berks County governing body for the purpose of preserving agricultural land.

 

 

BOARD MEETINGS: Please see the Board Meeting Information page regarding meeting times and submissions for the agenda.

 

 
OFFICERS: David Phillips, Chair

                    James Coker, Vice Chair

 

MEMBER BIOGRAPHIES:

James R. Coker

Mr. Coker graduated from Temple University’s School of Pharmacy in 1957 and has been a resident of Oley Township since May 1976. In 1994, Mr. Coker started SLC Heifers. He then retired from his career in pharmacy in 1999. Mr. Coker has served as Supervisor for Oley Township from 1992 to 2009 and has been active in his community by serving as a driver of the Oley Ambulance and Assistant Treasurer of the Oley Fair Association. Mr. Coker has served on the Board since January of 2003.

Gregg  Eshelman
Mr. Eshelman graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Agricultural Engineering. He is a resident of Robeson township and the owner of Plow Farms, a  400 acre wholesale nursery and Christmas tree farm that supplies finished  nursery stock to the landscape industry. He is a past president of the Pennsylvania Christmas Tree grower’s association and is also an active member of many agricultural and nursery associations. Mr. Eshelman has served for many years on the Robeson Township Planning Commission and is currently the vice chair. He is also the owner of Eshelman Transportation Inc, a pupil transportation company serving several school districts in Berks County. He is very interested in preserving and expanding opportunities for present and future agricultural enterprises. 
 

Robert B. Ludgate Sr., PE, PLS

Robert was a member of a board which served to organize the Berks County Agricultural Land Preservation Program. He has 50+ years of experience as a civil engineer, surveyor, and land planner. He was the Upper Tulpehocken Township Engineer and his firm authored the Township’s successful Agricultural Zone Ordinance. The firm has since authored Agricultural Zoning provisions for several other jurisdictions. He grew up in New York State farm country and worked on dairy and fruit farms as a youth. 

Kimberly McGrath
Appointed to the board in 2019, Kimberly also serves as the chair of the Amity Township Supervisors and is a member of the Farm Bureau and the Amity Township Lions Club. She has a master planners certification through the Center for Local Government, and has earned a pre-law and public administrators degree in Organizational Leadership at PSU. Kimberly and her husband, John, own 100 acres of preserved farmland in Amity Township. Kimberly and her family have raised horses, heifers, layers, turkeys, ducks, guineas, rabbits, goats, sheep, and alpacas on the land, as well as produced hay. The majority is leased out to a local dairy farmer for crops such as corn, soy, alfalfa, and rye. She is excited to be a part of one of the highest ranking agricultural land preservation programs in the nation.
 
Jeremy Meck
Jeremy was born on a farm in Lancaster County, and in 2004 his family purchased a Berks County preserved farm that he and his brother operated. In 2008 they purchased a second Preserved Farm in Tulpehocken Township and modernized the facilities where they continued to dairy farm for a decade. Now he concentrates on crop farming his two farms while still helping the family back home and spending quality time with his two children.
 
Steve Mohn
Steve was born and raised on a dairy, beef and crop farm in Perry Township and has been active in the agricultural community his entire life through many agriculture-related organizations. He is an avid supporter of youth programs through
4-H, FFA, The Berks County Fair, and the Grange, holding various leadership positions within those organizations.  He is a graduate of Penn State with a degree in business. He is a certified crop insurance agent with the B C Morrissey Insurance agency in Ephrata. Steve enjoys visiting with producers and talking farming. Along with his wife, Karen, and daughter, Ashley, Steve owns and operate Princess Valley Farm LLC, which was preserved by his late father in August 2007 who wanted the farm to remain in agriculture for future generations to enjoy.
 

Clyde A. B. Myers

Raised on a dairy, livestock, and crop farm in northern York County, Clyde received his BS in Animal Husbandry from Delaware Valley College and MEd in Agricultural Education from Penn State University. He was an agriculture instructor before serving as a Penn State Extension Educator in Berks County for 30 years. Clyde has been involved with farmland preservation efforts for over 25 years, including the farmland preservation committee that was the beginning of this Board; development and adoption of the Berks County model agriculture preservation-zoning ordinance; and the adoption of the agriculture zoning incentive program. He has helped conduct many meetings in Berks and surrounding counties on farmland and agriculture industry preservation and agriculture zoning. Clyde hopes his experience will benefit the Board's efforts to preserve the land base that is required for a future agriculture industry.

David L. Phillips

Mr. Phillips is a lifelong farmer and resident of Centre Township. He has been serving as a board member of the Centre Township Planning Commission for more than 35 years, holding both chairman and vice chairman positions. Mr. Phillips also serves as: Chairman of the Centre Township Land Protection Council and the Centre Township Land Protection Foundation; Vice chairman of the Centre Township Municipal Authority; President of the Pennsylvania Cutting Horse Association; and has served on the Berks County 4-H Development Board. Mr. Phillips is the President and owner of Irish Creek Excavating that he started in 1993.

Louise A. Swartley
Louise is the owner/operator of the Swartley Farm for the last 47 years, which raised non-GMO beef for private sale and raised and sold hay to horse people. She was one of the founders of CCOET (Concerned Citizen of Exeter Township), serving 13 years; she was an elected auditor for Exeter Township and served 12 years. Loiuse is a member of Berks Southeast Cattlemen’s Association. She is an advocate of having a balance of agriculture land and other zoned land in Berks County.
Robert Ziegenfus, Ph.D. (ex officio)

Dr. Ziegenfus is a charter member of the Board, serving since the Board’s inception in 1989. His interest in helping preserve agriculture stems from his experiences as a youth on a farm in Berks County. Professionally, Dr. Ziegenfus is the senior Professor of Geography at Kutztown University.