Farm Bureau members have idea for farmland preservation

Farm Bureau members have idea for farmland preservation

Cumberland County Farm Bureau members may suggest local townships set up a separate funding mechanism in support of farmland preservation.

State law allows municipalities to assess a recreation fee on developers that could then be applied to the development of municipal parks and recreation facilities.

At a meeting last Monday, local farmer Richard Mains briefed the West Pennsboro Township supervisors on an idea being discussed among Farm Bureau members.

"We would like to see a separate fee be used for farmland preservation," said Mains, adding that such a fee, if established, should only apply to commercial and industrial development plans.

Mains questioned why a recreation fee should be collected on plans that do not generate additional housing or residents moving into a municipality. He said it would make more sense to assess a fee to make it easier for farmers to preserve agricultural land.

Farm Bureau members may present this idea at an upcoming meeting of the West Cumberland Council of Governments, Mains said.

The Farm Bureau could definitely use the regular monthly meeting as a forum to get the word out on the idea, said Bonnie Myers, WCCOG administrator. As of last week, she had not been contacted about the Farm Bureau attending the Oct. 10 meeting.

In a case like this, WCCOG would not be in a position to set a new policy for its member municipalities, Myers said.

"It would be up to each individual township to decide whether this is something they would want to do," she explained.

WCCOG includes the boroughs of Shippensburg, Newville and Mt. Holly Springs along with the townships of Cook, Dickinson, Lower Frankford, North Newton, Penn, South Newton, Shippensburg, Upper Mifflin and West Pennsboro.

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