The Chester County Agricultural Land Preservation Board is accepting applications for two competitive programs funded by the Chester County Commissioners, the Commonwealth/County Program and the Chester County Challenge Grant Program. Both programs offer funds to qualifying Chester County farm owners who are interested in preserving their farms. The County pays farm owners for their development rights in exchange for a permanent agricultural conservation easement on their land.
To date, 460 farms totaling 37,270 acres have been preserved in Chester County through these programs.
“Even if land is enrolled in an Agricultural Security Area (ASA) or Act 319 (Clean and Green), farmers are still eligible to receive additional funds to preserve their farms. Farmers still own the land and can sell it or pass it on to the next generation as long as it remains in agriculture,” said Bill Gladden, Director of Chester County’s Department of Open Space Preservation.
Farms with 10 acres or more are eligible for both programs if they are adjacent to other permanently preserved land. For farms not adjacent to permanently preserved land, the acreage minimums are 50 acres for the Commonwealth/County Program and 25 acres for the Challenge Grant Program.
The application deadline for both programs is August 1, 2017. For more information, including applications and program guidelines go to www.chesco.org/openspace or call Geoff Shellington at 610-344- 6504.