Gillen’s Legislation to Preserve Farmland Passes House
Representative Mark Gillen (R-Berks) was excited to announce today that the House passed House Bill 562, the Agriculture Security Law, by a margin of 193-0. Gillen is the prime sponsor of this legislation, designed to help preserve agricultural farmland in the state.
“Currently, under our farmland preservation law, landowners can elect to enroll their farmland into the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program if they have a certain amount of contiguous acreage,” Gillen explained. “Regulations now allow land to be considered contiguous if it is divided by streams, public roads, and bridges. Unfortunately, however, it does not include land divided by railroads.
“This oversight has precluded farmland that would otherwise be eligible from being preserved. My legislation adds the definition of ‘contiguous acreage’ to the Agricultural Security Law and includes railroads in the list of permissible reasons of why acreage can be divided,” he said.
Gillen interacted with the Berks County Agricultural Land Preservation office to ensure that all ramifications of the legislation were explored.
“I was, and am, very grateful to the folks at the Agricultural Land Preservation office for their important role in advancing this bill,” Gillen said. “I believe that agriculture remains one of Pennsylvania’s greatest assets, and that we should protect our farmers’ ability to preserve their land.”
The legislation now makes its way to the Senate, where it will most likely be considered in the Senate Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee.
State Representative Mark Gillen
128th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Dan Massing