About the Centre County Farmland Trust
The Centre County Farmland Trust was founded in 1994 as a private, non-profit organization dedicated to preserving rich, productive farmland in Central Pennsylvania. We work with willing farm families to place conservation easements on their farmland, ensuring that it is preserved for agricultural purposes, forever, regardless of future ownership.
Why Conserve Farmland?
The Centre County Farmland Trust believes that our farm heritage enriches the lives of all Centre County residents. Our community and region have been blessed with what Wendell Berry would call, “The Gift of Good Land”: rich, productive farmland that is abundant right here in Central Pennsylvania. This land has defined our legacy, supported our values, and reinforced our quality of life, while forming the foundation of Centre County's #1 business: agriculture.
Pennsylvania is a farming state. There are 1,215 farms in Centre County on 163,000 acres. Centre County farms sell agricultural products valued at over $69 million (with 46% from dairy) on average; with typical Centre County farms selling $59,879 in products annually. Farmland also provides the county with other life giving assets that are often taken for granted.
Benefits of Farmland
- Allows for groundwater recharge, assuring a stable supply of drinking water in Centre County.
- Provides habitat and corridors for fish and wildlife, and supports important pollinator species.
- Conserves Centre County’s rich fertile soils- a precious agricultural resource that is impossible to replace.
- Preserves our educational and cultural institutions that bear ties to our agrarian roots. As farmland is permanently lost, so are many of our traditions, lifestyles and values that have defined Centre Countians for generations.
- Produces a constant influx of fresh local produce, meat and dairy products of unparalleled quality. We all need to eat!
Farmland is critical to the high quality of life in Centre County.
Why Act Now?
Centre County is one of the fastest growing counties in the state, making its farmland an increasingly endangered critical resource. In order to uphold our thriving agricultural economy and the beautiful landscape that it affords us all, support of farmers and their farmland is essential.
- Between 1960 and 2000, the population of Centre County grew by 60%, and an additional 6% percent increase in the last 7 years.
- The coming of the “Big Box” to our region such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowes, and Federated Department stores are leading indicators that we are just beginning to experience the growth to come.
- Concurrently, increased student enrollment at Penn State, the new Law School and the increasing recognition of PSU academic programs will inevitably result in further expansion of the University Park campus, requiring many more community resources and land.
- Between 1975 and 1997, more than 16,000 acres of prime Centre County farmland was lost to development. That's more than 2 acres of land lost every day OR an average size family farm every couple of months.