Departments > Administration > Agricultural Preservation

Agricultural Preservation

The rich agricultural history of Ferguson Township makes it home to some of the most pristine and beautiful scenery in central Pennsylvania. The 2011 Community Survey identified protecting the Township's farmland as respondents' second highest priority. 

 

Preserving the Township's farmland requires a significant investment from everyone involved. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Centre County, Ferguson Township, and the farmer join in partnerships to ensure the farm will not be developed and preserved for generations to come.


These are some of the tools that help protect Ferguson Township's farmland:

 

Agricultural Security Areas (ASAs)

 

ASAs protect the farmer's right to farm by protecting the area within the ASA from local ordinances that may negatively impact farm activities, nuisance complaints, and additional consideration in cases of farmland condemnation (eminent domain). To qualify, landowners of property with a minimum of 250 acres must petition the Township. The ASA must be adopted by the Board of Supervisors and renewed every seven years. Farms must be located in an ASA to qualify for the Centre County Purchase of Conservation Easements (PACE) Program. Read more about ASAs.

View Agricultural Security Area/Conservation Easement Map

 

Purchase of Conservation Easements (PACE)

 

Since established in 1989, Centre County's PACE Program has preserved many of the County's best farms. Twenty of these farms are located in Ferguson Township. Eligible farms may apply for the PACE program, and are evaluated against Land Evaluation Site Assessment criteria. This criteria assigns a score to factors that include soil quality, acreage, development pressure, and others. Applicant farms that rank the highest are selected for the PACE program, and receive a cash settlement in exchange for a conservation easement placed on the farm's deed. The farmer continues to own the land, but the farm must continue to be used for agricultural purposes even if the farm is sold, ensuring its preservation.

 

Ferguson Township has contributed $47,403 to help purchase conservation easements. The Township contributes $150 per acre, and appropriates $15,000 each year in its budget to be prepared any time a farm is proposed for the PACE Program in the Township. The Township's partnership with Centre County to purchase conservation easements has led to the highest concentration of preserved farmland in the County.

 

To learn more about the Centre County PACE Program, visit the Program's websiteAlso, click to view the Centre County Agricultural Land Preservation Map.


Past Agricultural Preservation News


Ferguson Township farm owners recognized