Welcome to the County of Berks

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 regarding meeting times and submissions for the agenda.


OFFICERS: James Coker, Chair

                     David Phillips, Vice Chair



Wilson M. "Butch" Balthaser

Is a "semi-retired" dairy farmer in Upper Tulpehocken Township who still assists his son on the family farm. In fact, Mr. Balthaser, along with his wife of48 years, still lives on the same farm where he was born. The Balthasers have three children and five grandchildren. Mr. Balthaser has served as a Township Supervisor for Upper Tulpehocken Township for 27 years and was inducted into the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors in 2013. He is a also member of Frieden's Church of Shartlesville, the Shartlesville Grange, the Holstein Association and Berks County Farm Bureau.

James R. 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.

Robert E. Kopfer

Has been farming for over 45 years. Currently his family operates a dairy and crop operation. In 1990, Robert and his wife were the first to preserve farmland through the Berks County ACE Program. He has been a Board member since 1992. He is also a member of the Fleetwood Grange and Farm Bureau.

Lolly Lesher

Became a member of the Board in February 2004. An avid supporter of production agriculture and the preservation of farmland, Lolly will utilize her BS degree in Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology to further this cause. Along with her husband, they own and operate Way-Har Farms Dairy Store. This family dairy operation milks 135 Holsteins and Jerseys. They retail the farm fresh milk in their store located in Jefferson Township. This 200 acre farm joined the ranks of preserved farmland in September 2002.

Robert B. Ludgate Sr., PE, PLS,

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.

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 M Ed in Agricultural Education from Penn State University. He was an agriculture instructor before serving as a Penn State Extension Educator in Berks County for 30years. 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

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.

Charles Seidel

Of Windsor Township is a dairy farmer with a herd of 40 registered Holstein cows. He graduated from Penn State University in 1988 with a BS degree in Dairy Production. Charles serves as a board member of the Berks County Pomona Grange. He sees preserving farmland as vital of the future of agricultural in Berks County.

Robert Ziegenfus, Ph.D. (ex officio)

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.