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Preserving PA farmland: See what's being done to help keep farms alive

Some farms in northeast Pennsylvania recently got special help preserving land. Newswatch 16's Sarah Buynovsky has the story.

It is the Pennsylvania Farmland Preservation Program.

State officials said it is all about keeping farms alive and well in the Keystone State.

“We need to feed people in the future, and without that most fertile high-quality soil being protected, we can’t produce food," said Shannon Powers of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

The state buys permanent conservation easements on farms, ensuring those areas stay farmland in the future.

Recently, farms in Carbon, Bradford, and Lycoming Counties became part of the program.

State officials said the COVID crisis has made it all the more clear how important it is for people to have access to food from local farms.

“We’ve seen how if the food chain is huge and food is coming from a long distance, that food chain can be disrupted,” said Powers.

State officials said when it comes to preserving these farms, they take into consideration the kinds of crops and livestock, so they can preserve as many different kinds and varieties of food as possible all across the state.

“Both sides of the aisle politically and at every level of government, it is a popular program, and PA is held up as a model of the nation because we do such a good job of it.”