On April 22, 2020 the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy announced the purchase of 27 acres of farmland in South Huntingdon Township, Westmoreland County, near New Stanton, that will soon be available for lease to local farmers as part of the Conservancy’s Farmland Access Initiative.
The initiative connects farmers seeking to grow crops or raise livestock with affordable farmland, in order to supply Pittsburgh area restaurants, farmers markets and food distributors.
This newly acquired farm is located approximately 45 minutes east of Pittsburgh in Ruffs Dale near the New Stanton exit on the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-76). Protecting this farmland, says Tom Saunders, president and CEO of the Conservancy, safeguards this beautiful and historic farm property, helps address the challenges of farmers needing affordable farmland, and supports local food production for the Pittsburgh region. The farm has been in the former landowner’s family for generations.
“It’s fitting that we permanently protected this farmland today on Earth Day; not only will this land never be developed, it will remain a farm for planting and growing crops as it has since 1827,” said Saunders. “We’ll work to ensure that the natural features of the farm are protected while helping out local farmers wanting to provide organic local foods to people living in the region.”
The Conservancy already has two locations, one in Mercer County and another in Lawrence County, where farmers are leasing farmland to raise livestock or produce crops for food distribution in the Pittsburgh region.
“Purchasing land and equipment to operate a farm are among the biggest financial challenges most new farmers will face,” says Jake Kristophel, a co-owner of Fallen Aspen Farm, which is located on a WPC property in Lawrence County. “The option to lease land made farming more attractive and affordable for us, and leasing continues to be the right choice for our small ag business.”
Farmers interested in leasing acres of this farm in Westmoreland County should contact the Conservancy at 412-288-2777 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. A downloadable map of the property is available by clicking this link or at the Conservancy’s website, WaterLandLife.org.
Funding to acquire this property was made possible by the generosity of the Henry L. Hillman, Colcom and Katherine Mabis McKenna foundations, the Heinz Endowments and an anonymous donor.