Farmland Preservation in Perpetuity

A Pennsylvania land owner is putting his money where is mouth is to support farmland preservation.

farmland preservation - small red tractor on patch of dirt

Ivan Martin wanted his property to be part of Lancaster County, PA's farmland preservation program.

Photo by Fotolia/Joy Fera

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Last September, Ivan Martin made his contribution to the cause of farmland preservation when he became the first Lancaster County, Pennsylvania property owner to insert a provision in the deed to his farm requiring that the land be kept in agricultural use "in perpetuity." Under the agreement, which was signed between Martin and the county, the restriction stays in effect unless and until both parties decide to break the partnership.

About two years ago, you see, officials in Lancaster County (one of the country's top non-irrigated farm districts) decided to set up a program to help put a stop to the area's estimated 3,000- acre-per- year loss in farmland (a result of residential and commercial development). The county's Agricultural Preserve Board has since worked to interest municipal leaders in writing zoning laws beneficial to farmers, and was responsible for conducting the educational campaign that convinced Martin to include the land use restriction in his deed.