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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 8, 2019 12:54 PM
From: Representative Keith J. Greiner
To: All House members
Subject: Agricultural Preservation Funds Use
Under the Agriculture Area Security Law, counties, townships and private land trusts can participate with the state in preserving farmland. Preservation efforts are coordinated and administered by the counties and there are currently 58 participating counties. The state allocates funds to the counties based on a formula that includes the percent agricultural production of the county, its realty transfer tax and any locally appropriated dollars. I plan to reintroduce House Bill 1689 that had been introduced by Representative Cutler in 2017.

The majority of funding comes from a dedicated tax on cigarette sales, county allocations (used only within each county), Growing Greener trash tipping fee percentage, roll-back tax assessment interest on Clean and Green (varies annually) and intermittent federal funding (amount varies, but usually only a couple million at most). In addition, various public and private programs promote the donation of development rights as a way of preserving farmland.

Land trusts are an important partner in the farmland preservation effort. I will introduce legislation which will direct a portion of the state-allocated farmland preservation funding to be set-aside annually for use by land trusts to preserve farms. The use of these funds will not require the county to be a party to the agricultural conservation easement, but land trusts will have to provide matching dollars to be reimbursed for the purchase costs of an easement. If a land trust ceases to exist, any easements purchased with state-allocated dollars will be transferred to the county or the state.

Land trusts could leverage state dollars to garner private contributions from agri-businesses, lenders, private citizens and ultimately give us a better return on investment. Land trusts also have a history of success in working with the plain sect community, which is often reluctant to work with government.

If you have any questions, please contact Tierna Tuckey at 3-6422 or ttuckey@pahousegop.com.

I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HB574