Welcome to the York County Agricultural Land Preservation Program’s Application page. Here you will find a variety of resources available to help you through the application process. Your application must be fully completed and meet all requirements before your farm may considered for the program.

Should you decide to participate with the York County Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program, please consult with your legal and tax counselors to understand the restrictions that would be placed on your farm deed as well as the tax implications of conservation easement income.

Remember the next deadline for Application is February 15, 2022.  You may apply prior to this date to confirm qualification, however a Complete Application and signed baseline map of the lands offered for preservation is required by the deadline.  An appointment is strongly recommended to confirm Application information is complete and a baseline map is accurate.  Staff will assist with mapping.  Maps may only be edited twice prior to the application deadline. As always, we encourage you to contact us at (717) 840-7400 with any questions or to schedule application assistance.



York County Agricultural Land Preservation Program - Checklist of Application Requirements

Please see below the items you must complete in order to submit a complete easement application for the consideration of your farm for agricultural conservation easement purchase (farmland preservation):

1. Complete this application. All lines must be completed. You may need assistance from the farm operator, if you are not the farmer, regarding crop production information. All owners of record (names on the deed) must sign the application.

2. Attach a legible photocopy of your recorded farm deed(s). If the farmland tract is owned by a Partnership, please provide the Partnership Agreement with the named officers.

3. Attach a copy of your complete conservation plan. Note: you may have to request a copy from your farmer, or request a conservation plan from the York County Conservation District. See the Cooperator Form if you and your farmer determine that no conservation plan exists for your farm.  If you have a plan written by the USDA-NRCS and want us to request a copy directly from USDA, please sign and return the "USDA Authorization for Release of Records".

4. Attach any additional documentation you feel necessary to provide crop or livestock production, farm income, or conservation practices completed.

5. Attach a signed map outlining the boundaries of the lands offered for easement consideration. Note areas to be excluded from preservation. Mapping assistance is available by appointment in the Ag Land Preserve Office.

6. Following the initial application, only 2 revisions to the application and map are permitted. All applications must be in final form by the Deadline Date of February 15, 2022. Application rounds will occur every 24 months. 

7. Retain this checklist to keep notes as to your application progress.

8. Qualifying applications will be ranked winter /spring 2022. A letter with ranking results will be mailed to landowners with results posted to our web page and agency bulletin boards. Non qualifying applications will be returned to landowners with a letter with the reason for non-qualification, or, missing information.

9. Ranked applications will be selected for appraisal over a 24 month period using annually available funds.

Eligibility Criteria For Application To The Ag Land Preservation Program

 The farmland tract must:

  1. Be located within a duly recorded Ag Security Area (ASA) containing 500 acres, or more. Note the 500 acres required to create this area, is made up of many farms owned by a variety of different owners.
  2. Contain 50% of the soils in Land Capability Class I through IV, which must be available for agricultural production (cropland, hay land, pasture lands).
  3. At the time of application, the farmland tract must have a soil and water conservation plan with at least 50% of the conservation plan implemented. The plan must be current to the farm operator and address all areas of current commercial agricultural operation. Lands qualified as harvestable must be included in the conservation plan. Farms with significant conservation concerns may not be considered eligible.
  4. Prior to easement settlement, all conservation plans must address the entire easement area and satisfy the requirements of the PA Clean Streams Law.
  5. The farmland tract must produce a minimum of $10,000.00 in annual gross farm income, averaged over a three year period, for eligibility to the easement program.
  6. Have a Nutrient Management Plan, or, Manure Management Plan as required by State Law.
  7. Be at least 50 acres in size, unless:
         a. Parcels are adjacent to farmland permanently protected under a conservation easement
         b. Produce a crop unique to that region