Agricultural Preserve Board

Applications for Farmland Preservation
New applications are due by September 1st for consideration for the following year. Applicants do not need to reapply every year. 
Application for Preservation


  • 8 a.m.
  • Fourth Thursday of each month except November and December (then third Thursday)
  • Lancaster County Public Safety Training Center, 101 Champ Blvd. Manheim, PA 17545

Agendas & Minutes

Agendas are available prior to the meetings. Minutes are available following approval.
Most Recent Agenda | View All Agendas and Minutes

Mission Statement

To forever preserve the beautiful farmland and productive soils of Lancaster County and its rich agricultural heritage; and to create a healthy environment for the long-term sustainability of the agricultural economy and farming as a way of life.

History of the Board

In 1980, the County Commissioners appointed a nine-member Agricultural Preserve Board to devise ways to protect the county's agricultural lands. In 1983, the Preserve Board added staff and was made a county department. Since 1983, the Preserve Board has administered a purchase of development rights program to preserve land for farming. Landowners apply to sell development rights to the Preserve Board which then ranks the applications for priority, hires appraisers to estimate the value of development rights, and makes a formal offer to the landowner. Landowners who sell their development rights must maintain the land in farming.


The Preserve Board receives funding from both the county and the commonwealth. In 1989, the Preserve Board began to participate in Pennsylvania's statewide purchase of development rights program. As required by state regulations, the Preserve Board preserves farmland in accordance with Program Guidelines.

Farmland Preservation

As of December 31, 2022, the Agricultural Preserve Board has preserved 85,674 acres of farmland on  1036 Lancaster County family farms. The Preserve Board has a responsibility to monitor these farms for compliance with the terms of the conservation easement placed on the landowner's deed when the development rights are sold.

Note: The director of the Lancaster County Agricultural Preserve Board is appointed by the Lancaster County Board of Commissioners.