Programs


Agriculture Security Areas...




Easement...




Clean & Green...




Century & Bicentennial Farm Program...

       



Agricultural Security Areas

 The Agricultural Security Area (ASA) program is a tool for strengthening and protecting agriculture in Pennsylvania. Farm landowners, working together, initiate the process of establishing such Areas in which agriculture is the primary activity. Participating farmers are entitled to special consideration from local and state government agencies, and other “nuisance” challenges, thus encouraging the continuing use of the land for productive agricultural purposes.

 

ASA’s are intended to promote more permanent and viable farming operations over the long term by strengthening the farming community's sense of security in land use and the right to farm. ASA’s are created by local municipalities in cooperation with individual landowners who agree to collectively place at least 250 acres in an agricultural security area.

 

Eligible Property must meet the following criteria:

  •  Farm parcels must be at least 10 acres in size. If a parcel is less than 10 acres, it must be contiguous to another parcel that is in the ASA or produces a yearly gross income of at least $2,000 from the agricultural production of crops, livestock and livestock products.

  • Creating a new ASA requires a minimum of 250 acres.  ASA’s can be multi-municipal.

  • The property should be viable agricultural land. Cropland, pasture, and woodland can all be included in an ASA.

  • At least 50% of the land should be in Soil Capability Classes I-IV, as defined by the USDA-NRCS Soil Survey.  http://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/app/HomePage.htm 


  • The property must be zoned to permit agricultural uses.


Benefits of an Agricultural Security Area

  • Farms located in an ASA consisting of at least 500 acres are eligible to apply for the purchase of an agricultural conservation easement by the Commonwealth.  An ASA designation is a prerequisite for eligibility.

  • Local governments are not permitted to enact local laws or ordinances, which would unreasonably restrict farm structures or farm practices within the area.

  • No agency of the Commonwealth having or exercising powers of eminent domain shall condemn for any purpose any land within any agricultural security area that is being used for productive agricultural purposes unless prior approval has been obtained from the Agricultural Lands Condemnation Approval Board.

  • No political subdivision, authority, public utility or other body having or exercising powers of eminent domain shall condemn any land within any agricultural security area for any purpose, unless prior approval has been obtained from Agricultural Lands Condemnation Approval Board and from each of the following bodies: the governing bodies of the local government units encompassing the agricultural security area, the county governing body, and the Agricultural Security Area Advisory Committee.

  •  Farmers receiving loans through the Small Business First Program and the Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund may receive a 1% reduction in their interest rate if their property is located within an ASA.

  • The ASA designation does not restrict the use of the property by the farmer. The farmer may sell or subdivide the property. The farmer or any subsequent owners may develop the property in any manor authorized by local zoning, subdivision and land development regulations.

  • The farmer is obligated to maintain the ASA status of the farm for 7 years after the initial application. After the initial seven-year period the farmer may have the ASA designation removed at any time by submitting a written request to the local government.

  • The ASA designation will stay with the property when it is sold or subdivided. The only way a property can be removed from an ASA is through the action of the property owner or through a process hearing formal process conducted by the local government.

 

Agricultural Security Area Process

Agricultural Security Area Application

   

Municipal Contacts for ASA’s

Allegheny County ASA’s

Acres

Municipal Contact

Phone

Forward Township

2,569

Karen

412-384-1761

Frazier Township

764

Lori Ziencik

724-274-4202

North Hills COG**

1,655

Wayne Roller

412-487-5230

South Fayette

2,208

Mike Benton

412-221-8700 ext 29

West Deer

1,563

Cathy Sopko/Gary Bogen

724-265-3680

**Franklin Park, Hampton, Indiana, Marshall, McCandless, Ohio, Pine, & Richland.



Agricultural Conservation Easements


The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program is a statewide program with the purpose of conserving and protecting agricultural lands through the purchase of development easement rights.  All easements purchased by the Allegheny County Agricultural Land Preservation Program are perpetual.

 

Eligibility Criteria

  1. Located in an agricultural security area consisting of 500 acres or more.

  2. Contiguous acreage of at least 50 acres in size; OR  Contiguous acreage of at least 10 acres in size and utilized for a crop unique to the area; OR Contiguous acreage of at least 10 acres in size and contiguous to a property which has a perpetual conservation easement in place.

  3. The farmland tract shall contain at least 50% of soils which are both available for agricultural production and of Land Capability Classes I-IV, as defined by the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

  4. The farmland tract shall contain the greater of 50% or 10 acres of harvested cropland, pasture or grazing land.

 

Each application is ranked on the extent it meets the following criteria: 

  • The productivity of the soils

  • The development potential, such as the availability of public water and sanitary sewer and amount of road frontage

  • The farmland potential, including size of tract, percent used for crop and pasture, stewardship of land, historic, scenic, and environmental qualities of the tract, and certified organic production

  • Clustering Potential, including the location relevant to Important Agricultural Areas, proximity to eased land, and percentage of adjoining land in an ASA.

 

Conservation Plan

In order to preserve the agricultural viability of the eased land, the legislature provided for county programs to include the stewardship of the land and use of conservation practices and best land management practices, including, but not limited to, soil erosion and sedimentation control, nutrients and odor management.  The landowner of the restricted land shall implement a conservation plan developed by the USDA – NRCS.  The Conservation Plan becomes a part of the recorded Deed of Easement, which obligates the landowner to follow the provisions.    

 

See Map for location of current eased farmland. 

Easement Application Process

Easement Application

 

Clean & Green

Clean & Green is a Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture conservation program for land in agricultural use, agricultural reserve, or forest reserve that adjusts the property tax rate for landowners enrolling in the program.   

Agricultural use is defined as land used for the purpose of producing an agricultural commodity, or devoted to and meeting the requirements and qualifications for payments or other compensation through a soil conservation program under an agreement with an agency of the Federal government.

Agricultural reserve is defined as a noncommercial open space used for outdoor recreation or the enjoyment of scenic or natural beauty and is open to the public for that use, without charge or fee on a nondiscriminatory basis.

Forest reserve is defined as a ten-acre or more piece of land, stocked by forest trees of any size, which are capable of producing timber or other wood products. The term includes farmstead land on the tract.

 

Eligibility for the Program

  • 10 acres or more of agricultural land, or
  • Less than 10 acres of agricultural land, but gross at least $2,000 annual income from the land, or
  • 10 acres of forestland.

 

Applications can be found at the following website:

County Clean & Green website:

http://www.alleghenycounty.us/OPAMain.aspx?id=9918&terms=Clean%20%26%20Green

 

Century & Bicentennial Farm Program

The Department of Agriculture recognizes Pennsylvania families who have been farming the same land for 100 and 200 years through the Century and Bicentennial farm programs.

Criteria

The same family must own the farm for at least 100 (Century Farm) or 200 (Bicentennial Farm) consecutive years. A family member must live on the farm on a permanent basis; and the farm must consist of at least 10 acres of the original holding, OR gross more than $1,000 annually from the sale of farm products.

 

Application Process
Applications must be completed, notarized and mailed to the Department of Agriculture for review.  Certificates are then either presented or mailed to the recipient. 

 Bicentennial Century Farm Application



Allegheny County Farmland Preservation Program |  Allegheny County Conservation District | 33 Terminal Way | Suite 325 B | Pittsburgh, PA 15219 
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