WAYNE TOWNSHIP, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — A local farmer in Schuylkill County is waiting for his approved funding after his land has been designated as a preserved farm.
The Pennsylvania Agricultural Land Preservation recently safeguarded thousands of acres in 19 counties across the state, including Schuylkill County. Craig Luckenbill owns a 150 parcel of land that has recently been added to that list but it was a long process.
“We were fortunate enough to make number one in the list for Schuylkill County this year and we’ve been on the program list for at least 20 years,” Luckenbill said.
Luckenbill says there are about 75 farms in Schuylkill county and most have to wait due to potential factors including soil types and farmland development. Once on the list, however, the state’s preservation program gives farmers viable alternatives to developing their property.
The preservation program started in the 1980’s, helping bridge the gap between residential communities and farms. Designated farmland also preserves the heritage of the land, allowing the open space to be enjoyed by the next generation.
“My father was always one that says this always needs to be a farm in his mind, I’m the same way,” Luckenbill said.
Having these farmlands preserved will not only help the current farmers today but allow future ones to continue their work.
“Being in close proximity, it gives them more opportunity to expand their operations,” Luckenbill said. “And it also makes it more viable for a younger farmer to come in here and say ‘I have an idea, but I need x-number of acres to do it.’ He’s going to have it.”
Luckenbill hopes the farm will be his kids’ and grandchildren’s property to preserve a part of his family heritage.