Cumberland County Farmland Preservation Donation Program
The Cumberland County Board of Commissioners enacted the Farmland Preservation Donation Program in 2008 with the first easement donated in 2009. The purpose of the program is to protect prime farmland by acquiring agricultural conservation easements through voluntary donation for the benefit of the general public. It is important to note that the program is separate from the Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Program also administered by Cumberland County.
Preservation of the farmland tract must be consistent with municipal land use plans and the Cumberland County Comprehensive Plan. In order to be eligible to make application for donation, a farmland tract must meet the following minimum criteria:
- The tract must be a minimum of 35 acres
- The tract must be located in a designated Agricultural Security Area (ASA)
- The tract must be zoned for agriculture
- At least 50% of the tract must be engaged in agricultural production
- The Tract must contain class 1-3 soils
Basic Terms of Easement
- The deed of easement will restrict the landowner's use of the land solely to agriculture
- The term of the easement shall be in perpetuity. Easements will run with the deed and future owners will be subject to the same restrictions.
All parties interested in donating an agricultural conservation easement must conduct a pre-application meeting with the staff of the County Board. The meeting will introduce the applicant to the donation program to review the eligibility criteria before a formal application is submitted to the County Board. Applications are accepted on a case by case basis. All applications will be reviewed by the County Agricultural Land Preservation Board who will make a recommendation to the Board of Commissioners regarding the donation.
Program Guidelines (pdf)