Farmland Preservation

ASA map_updated November 27, 2023Preserved Land in Centre County, 2023

Pennsylvania leads the nation in preserved farmland, with 624,277 acres and 6,202 farms preserved. Since 1989, the state government, 58 counties, numerous municipalities, and the federal government have invested more than $1.6 billion in our agriculture industry's ability to feed our families and our economy.

Why Preserve and Protect Prime Farmland?

Because we're losing prime farmland to other land uses.
The U.S.D.A. Census of Agriculture found that, between 2012 and 2017, the total number of farms in the United States declined by 3 percent, with mostly mid-size farms being lost, while the number of very small and very large farms increased. Pennsylvania lost 10 percent of its total farms, with an increase in only very large farms and all other farm sizes declining in number. The number of farm acres in Pennsylvania declined by 6 percent during this period, while the number of farms with an average of 137 acres increased by 5 percent.

2021 Pennsylvania Agriculture Economic Impact Report 12
Source: The Economic Impact of Agriculture in Pennsylvania, 2021 Update 


Because our farmers feed us. 

Because agricultural operations provide significant environmental, economic, cultural and aesthetic benefits to our community and beyond. 

Learn more

Agriculture is our heritage and our future

Centre County has a rich agricultural history as the home of The Pennsylvania State University. Established in 1855 as the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania and renamed the Agricultural College of Pennsylvania in 1862, Penn State has trained generations of farmers to sustain central Pennsylvania as an agricultural region.

Preserved farms are farmland foreverPreserved Farms Magnet Single Image_Logo _web

Of the 59,000 farms in Pennsylvania, 1,023 are located in Centre County.

There are farms in Centre County where families have been working their land for more than 200 years. Most want to continue farming and don’t want to see their land lost to development. Farmers who preserve their farmland are safeguarding it from development forever. They’re protecting it for their descendants as well as honoring the legacy of their ancestors, and building their own legacy as stewards of their land.  

Centre County Preserved Farms
Since 1991, the Centre County Agricultural Land Preservation Board has approved 64 agricultural conservation easements and preserved 9,410 acres of farmland. 

For more information about farmland preservation, please contact Elizabeth Melville, Centre County Ag Land Preservation Coordinator, at egmelville@centrecountypa.gov or (814) 355-6791.

WATCH Farmland Preservation: Preserving Our Roots, Securing Our Future

Tools and References

Guides to Preserving Farmland in Centre County

Supporting Centre County Farmers Now and in the Future

Educational Resources for Farmers

Tours of Centre County Farms

Pennsylvania Agriculture at a Glance