The Erie County Farmland Preservation Program is slated to begin accepting qualifying applicants to its program from June 1- September 30, 2022.

With the support of the owners, the initiative helps permanently preserve farms for agriculture production with some financial incentives included.

Agriculture is woven into the fabric of Erie and is a part of the lives of so many people. The county’s Farmland Preservation Program utilizes state and local funding to purchase easements that go straight into the hands of our farmers.

The easements help to keep farmlands as farmlands while restricting non-farm uses.

Owners who are dedicated to this lifestyle have certainly benefitted from this voluntary program, which will help maintain their farms locally for years to come.

“They want to keep the farms in the family. It’s part of their family heritage, if you will. They want to pass it down to future generations. This allows them to get some equity out of their lands for things like retirement, or debt reduction, or perhaps they just want to reinvest and expand their operation,” said John McGranor, Planning Program Administrator.

This plan of action allows for all of this change while still maintaining ownership of the land, which they can continue to upkeep thanks to the county’s financial support.

Deborah Phillips, a farm owner and operator from North East, shared why the program is so important in maintaining the agriculture in our area.

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“It’s really saying that the best land in the region is going to be preserved for the production of food, which should be really good for everybody, particularly folks around here. It’s nice to be close to your source,” said Deborah Phillips, North East farm owner and operator.