Agricultural and Farmland Preservation News 


View our slideshow of farm animals on Centre County preserved farms


Dean Roush to retire September 17

After nine years leading the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, on Sept. 17 Richard Roush will step down as dean of the college and serve as a special adviser to the interim dean through the end of 2023. 

László Kulcsár, head of the college’s Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology and Education, and professor of rural sociology and demography, has been appointed interim dean until a permanent replacement is named, with Roush serving as a special adviser before retiring in December. A national search for Roush’s permanent successor will begin soon. 


Prioritize safety during risk of silo gas

Silo gas is formed through the natural fermentation process of chopped forage shortly after it is placed in the silo.

As long as silage remains a common livestock feed, the risk of an injury or fatality from silo gases is present. The recent fatality on a Pennsylvania farm related to silo gas is a tragic reminder of how dangerous this season is.

Every farm worker must understand the dangers associated with silo gases and how to deal with them.


Pennsylvania Invests $8.6 Million To Ensure 35 Farms, 2,645 Acres In 18 Counties Will Remain Farms Forever

The Shapiro Administration announced August 25 that Pennsylvania preserved 2,645 acres on 35 farms in 18 counties, forever protecting them from future residential or commercial development. The investment of $8.64 million in state, county, and local dollars preserves prime farmland, so that Pennsylvania farms can continue feeding our families and our economy in the future.

The commonsense, bipartisan budget Governor Josh Shapiro signed last month makes critical investments in supporting Pennsylvania farmers in their work to conserve resources, investing in the equipment purchases, business planning, and farm management tools they need to innovate and continue to grow.

"'No farms, no food' is the battle cry for farmland preservation across the country," Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. "Pennsylvania has led that charge, and families who preserve their farms join forces with government, investing together to ensure that future Pennsylvania families will have green spaces and healthy farmland available to produce food, income, and jobs."  

$13 Million In Tax Credits Announced to Support Farmers’ Water, Soil Quality Work

Pennsylvania farmers are invited by the Department of Agriculture to apply for $13 million in tax credits available to support their efforts to improve soil health and water quality. Tax credits through Pennsylvania’s conservation financing program, Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP), can be combined with other state funding, as well as federal funding, to help pay for on-farm enhancements that protect the environment and boost farm sustainability. The department is accepting applications for REAP tax credits from agricultural producers. The deadline to submit applications is October 31, 2023. Read More


2023 Small Business Advantage Grant accepting applications for at least $1 million in available funds

This grant program is offered through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.  The purpose of this grant is to provide small businesses in Pennsylvania with grant funds for projects that increase energy efficiency, reduce pollution, or protect our waterways. Many different types of small businesses, from manufacturing to retail to agriculture, may be eligible for funding under this program.  Funding is awarded first-come, first served so interested applicants should act fast.

All program documents, including Program Guidelines and a Grant Calculator, are available on the Small Business Advantage Grant Website. There is also a link on the website to the online application system used to apply for the grant.  Additionally, there are tutorial videos available for everything from an overview of the program to using the Grant Calculator for specific project types.

Maximum grant awards will vary based on the attributes of a project as shown in the chart below. Projects will be eligible for more funding if they are located in Environmental Justice areas or reduce CO2e by at least 20 tons (as calculated by the Grant Calculator).  

2024-2024 Funding Levels

Project Attributes

Whichever is less, up to:

All Eligible Projects




Eligible and located in Environmental Justice Area




Eligible and significant environmental savings




Eligible, located in Environmental Justice Area, and significant environmental savings




Free to contact Samantha Harmon | Small Business Ombudsman
Small Business Ombudsman Office
Department of Environmental Protection 
Rachel Carson State Office Building
400 Market Street | Harrisburg, PA 17101
717.783.0909 | Cell 717.319.8009 
or any of her staff with questions:
Forest Edwards, 717-783-9640
Caroline Zepp, 717-772-5160)
You can also send an email to

Farm, Forestry, Environmental, and Hunger Advocates Unite Behind 2023 Farm Bill

Twenty groups representing agricultural, environmental, forestry, wildlife, nutrition, and hunger advocates, including USA Rice, have launched the “Farm Bill for America’s Families: Sustaining Our Future” campaign to urge passage of the 2023 Farm Bill this year.

Farm Bill for America’s Families brings together stakeholders who support the farm bill and recognize its profound impact on the well-being of all Americans.  The campaign seeks to engage consumers, leaders, and lawmakers alike on the importance of the farm bill and highlights five core objectives: food security, job creation, conservation, risk management, and addressing hunger.


Congratulations to Thomas Boldin – 2023 recipient of the Ann Rudd Saxman Conservation District Director Excellence Award at the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts (PACD)’s annual awards luncheon on July 19 in Harrisburg. 

This award is given to a conservation district director or associate director for their outstanding volunteer efforts, which have furthered the activities and accomplishments of conservation districts on a statewide basis.

Thomas Boldin (Centre County)
Boldin chairs the Centre County Agricultural Land Preservation Board, and has served on the Centre County Conservation District Board continuously since at least 1971. He entered farming at an early age, having grown up on a dairy farm and later making the transition to owning his own farm. In his 50-plus years of service to the District, Boldin has served as chairman, vice-chairman and has also served on various committees. In the early days, he assisted with the daily operations of the District in the absence of a Manager.

SBA Working Capital Loans Available in Western Pennsylvania Following Secretary of Agriculture Disaster Declaration for Drought

The Secretary of Agriculture has declared last summer's drought in Pennsylvania a disaster. 

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced that disaster loan assistance – working capital loans – are available to help small businesses and small agricultural cooperatives meet ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of last summer’s drought. Farmers in Centre and 18 other Pennsylvania counties that were adversely affected by the drought from June 1 through August 30, 2022 are eligible to apply by the filing deadline of October 2, 2023.
These economic injury disaster loans are intended to assist through the disaster recovery period.

Learn more:

PENNSYLVANIA Declaration #17772 Fact Sheet
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) News Release, February 7, 2023


Centre County PACE Program 2022 Annual Report (PDF)
This publication documents the achievements and initiatives we undertook in 2022 – most notably in growing the number of farm preservation projects we have in progress and expanding our educational endeavors. The PACE program is now managing 59 easements across 16 Centre County townships, and we will have 65 farms preserved by the end of 2023. 

Note: This PDF takes approximately 30 seconds to load.

Centre County Preserved Farms
Since 1991, the Centre County Agricultural Land Preservation Board has approved 60 agricultural conservation easements and preserved 8,864 acres of farmland.  


Farms Under Threat 2040: Choosing an Abundant Future

America's farmland and ranchland is rapidly disappearing, threatening our food security, undermining the agricultural economy, and making us vulnerable to climate shocks. The nation has a choice: allow unchecked sprawl to erode this critical resource, or safeguard it with policies that protect farmland and smarter land-use planning that leads to efficient growth. 

This new report from American Farmland Trust maps three alternative futures out to the year 2040.


PA Bureau of Farmland Preservation 2021 Annual Report

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Farmland Preservation administers programs that protect prime farmland for future generations. Pennsylvania is a national leader in farmland preservation with 6,044 farms and 611,620 acres protected through permanent agricultural conservation easements (April 2022). Public funds used toward easement purchase are a critical investment in the future of Pennsylvania’s thriving $132.5 billion agricultural industry. In addition to the economic benefit, the program ensures food supply for a growing population. Pennsylvania has some of the most fertile, non-irrigated soils found anywhere in the world. The pandemic and increased threat of climate change both put food security at a heightened level of awareness and further support the need to continue preserving farms. The latest USDA ag census figures indicate that the Commonwealth lost roughly 6,000 of its farms from 2012-2017. cp99042.pdf ( Development pressures will threaten prime farmland soils in the decade ahead. Farmland preservation mitigates these irreversible losses.


2023 Visual Tour of Preserved Farms in Centre County

An Agricultural History and Visual Tour of Penns Valley and Brush Valley farms 
This agricultural history and visual tour of farms in the Penns Valley and Brush Valley area — featuring some of Centre County's preserved farms — was funded by Verizon Wireless to fulfill Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) stipulations to mitigate adverse effects from a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) wireless telecommunications facility in Centre County.

Presentation Archive

Publication Archive

The Future of Farmland Preservation

What does the future of farming in Pennsylvania look like?
Pennsylvania is investing in helping farmers who will be transitioning to new owners and operators, 
as well as qualified new and beginning farmers. 

10 numbers that show how much farmland we’re losing to development
"What’s new ... is the discovery that the development isn’t coming only from urban areas expanding outwards – rural areas are also losing farmland rapidly."

PA Bureau of Farmland Preservation
Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of farms and acres permanently preserved for agricultural production. The program guarantees a future food supply and contributes to a healthier economy. 

Beginning Farmers
This webpage dedicated to the Beginner Farmer Realty Transfer Tax Exemption (Act 13 of 2019) includes basic information about the program, frequently asked questions, and associated forms.

If you have questions about resources for farmers, contact Diana Griffith, Centre County Ag Land Preservation Coordinator, at or (814) 355-6791.

WATCH: Farmland Preservation: Preserving Our Roots, Securing Our Future