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Farmland Studies <BACK

AGRICULTURAL RESOURCES IN THE STUDY AREA

Studies of agricultural resources in the PA 23 EIS study area began in the spring of 2002. Aerial photos were reviewed to determine land use, and then property owners within the study area were contacted. Project team members spoke with over 80 property owners, owner/operators, and tenant farmers in order to accurately map agricultural resources. Information was gathered on crops grown, livestock raised, access to fields, where farm products are sold, and where farm supplies are purchased.

Through the interview process more than 70 farms were identified in the study area. Over half of the farms are dairy operations. Farm operations also include beef cattle, chickens, cash crops, pigs, and produce. Farm size ranges from approximately 30 acres to more than 150 acres. The average farm size in the study area is typical of a Lancaster County farm, at approximately 70 acres. Ten farms within the study area are under easement to Lancaster Farmland Trust, while five others are within an Agricultural Security Area. Approximately 75% of the farms are enrolled in Clean & Green. Common concerns from farmers included the use of farmland for transportation purposes, the potential splitting of farms, and maintaining access to fields.

In addition to collecting information regarding agricultural resources, the Project Team has worked to ensure that the farming community is informed of the progress of the PA 23 EIS project. Visits were made to the New Holland Sales Stables and the Leola Produce Auction in August 2002 to share information regarding the project and to advertise the August 2002 public meetings to the farming community.

The agricultural information that has been collected is being used to assess potential impacts to agricultural resources for the alternatives under consideration. Assessment of impacts will continue as alternatives are refined. All alternatives under consideration impact agricultural resources, to varying degrees. After a preferred alternative is identified, efforts will focus on minimizing impacts to farms, particularly with respect to access issues. Project team members will continue to work with local farmers to obtain additional details on individual farms and the farming community as a whole.

 
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