Lancaster County marks farmland preservation milestone

Written by Matt Paul, Reporter/Producer | Dec 6, 2013 4:30 AM

(Manheim) -- Lancaster County has preserved 100,000 acres of farmland, making it the first county in the nation to reach the milestone.

The historic 100,000th acre is part of Bruce and Patricia Lefever's "Sego Sago" farm, near Manheim. The couple is the sixth generation to live on the family farm.

Lancaster Farmland Trust Executive Director Karen Martynick says protecting property like the Lefever's is important because agriculture is important to the region.

"By protecting the infrastructure that supports the industry, we are taking a very important step in preserving our economy and protecting a very important source of income for the economy," she explains.

The trust says every dollar of products leaving Lancaster farms nets a $6 boost to the economy.

Lancaster County Commissioner Chairman Scott Martin says the milestone is a testament to the collaboration on the part of the farmers, the trust and all levels of government.

He says preserving the region's agricultural heritage is key to addressing land use in the county.

"You have to have balance," he says. "Obviously you don't want to have sprawl. Especially being the number one ag producer in Pennsylvania -- and I believe we're in the top 10 nationwide -- you don't want to lose that."

Preserved farmland cannot be developed for commercial or residential use by its current or future owners.

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