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.
  • 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.

Allegheny County ASA’s


Municipal Contact


Forward Township


Karen Stetor


Frazier Township


Lori Ziencik


North Hills COG**


Wayne Roller


South Fayette




West Deer




Cathy Sopko

Planning Department




Agriculture Security Area Process

Agriculture Security Area Application


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