Armstrong County Agricultural Land Preservation Program
The Armstrong County Agricultural Land Preservation (ACALP) Board consists of seven board members that reside in Armstrong County; Bill Kronen, John Bennett, Paul Stubrick, Spurgeon Shilling, Terry Bowser, Marlene Kammerdiener, and Troy Goldstrohm.
The purpose of the program is to protect viable agricultural lands by obtaining agricultural conservation easements, which prohibit the development or improvement of the land for any use other than agricultural production. This program provides up to $2,000/acre compensation to landowners in exchange for them to voluntarily give up the right to develop their private property.
What are the Minimum Program Requirements?
The landowner must be located in an agricultural security area consisting of 500 acres or more and have at least 50 acres that are continuous.
However, you can have at least 10 acres if you have a crop that is unique to the area (ex. Mushrooms, flowers and Christmas trees). The property must contain the greater of 50% or 10 acres of harvested cropland, pasture, or grazing land.
At least 50% of the landowners’ soils must be defined by the USDA-NRCS as those ranking in Soil Capability Classes I-IV.
The farm property must be part of farm operation with a minimum of one year of ownership and must demonstrate an ability to generate revenue equal or greater to $10,000.
The landowner must have fee simple ownership of surface mineral rights on the property offered for easement.
What is the application process?
The application and sign-up period is usually held November through December when funding is available. Sign-ups are announced through local newspapers. The application will be scored using the County’s Land Evaluation and Site Assessment (LESA) System. The LESA System is used to rank the easement applications by evaluating soil and location factors for the property.
Armstrong County Preserved Farms
The ACALP Board and the County Commissioners purchased 5 agricultural conservation easements from the following landowners; Suzanne and Edgar Bruce (Burrell Township), Meredith Patterson (Kiskiminetas Township), Scott Morrison (South Buffalo Township), George and Marsha Kepple (Sugarcreek Township) and Richard Shirey (Redbank Township) for a total of 486 preserved acres.
For more information on the ACALP Program, please contact Jessica Schaub at the Armstrong Conservation District at 724-545-3628 or check the Bureau of Farmland Preservation website.