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 Maps for location of current eased farmland.


Easement Application Process

If you are interested in applying for an agricultural easement, please complete the pre-application form to determine eligibility.

Easement Application

Preliminary Application

Allegheny County Manual

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