Heritage Conservancy is thrilled to announce that it recently assisted in the preservation of over 18 acres of farmland in Richland Township. The Casey property, a working farm located in the Bucks County Highlands and the Upper Tohickon Creek Watershed, will now be protected in perpetuity thanks to the combined efforts of Heritage Conservancy and Richland Township and funding from 1772 Foundation and the Bucks County Municipal Open Space Program.
All farms that apply for agricultural preservation are ranked annually according to numerous criteria, including acreage, soils, and adjacency with other preserved lands. However, there is only enough funding to preserve the top three to five highest ranked farms. Many smaller farms are never ranked high enough to receive funding for preservation through the agricultural program.
Townships in Bucks County recognize the need to preserve the farms in their community so they often work with the farmer and Heritage Conservancy to pool the financial resources needed to complete the preservation process where county agricultural funding is not available. Preserving farmland is a top priority for the Richland Township Open Space Plan. Working as a strategic partner, Heritage Conservancy provided assistance to Richland Township throughout the process of preserving the Casey Farm.
For several years, Richland Township had considered it high priority for farmland preservation because of its agricultural soils of state-wide importance, its close proximity to other preserved farms, and its location within the Upper Tohickon Creek Watershed. Also, the Casey property’s agricultural fields, pastures, and hedgerows with wooded backdrop make it an important part of both Bucks County’s and Richland Township’s scenic rural viewscape. Without funding assistance through the agricultural program, it wasn’t until funding was sought elsewhere that the conservation easement on the property was realized.
“Working with Sandy Yerger at Heritage Conservancy has allowed us to access the 1772 Foundation grant, which enables Richland Township to extend its matching funds,” said Kathleen Fedorocsko, Chair of Richland Township Open Space Committee. “The Casey Farm completed the Richland Township Land Preservation Board’s goal of preserving all the working farms – a total of seven – in this portion of the township. Its preservation adds almost 20 more acres to the 300-acre greenway we have been able to establish in this area.”
“It was important for Heritage Conservancy to assist Richland Township in securing the conservation easement that will allow for active agriculture of the Casey Farm while protecting the property’s natural resources,” said Sandy Yerger, Associate Director of Development for Heritage Conservancy. “Open fields and grazing livestock will forever provide a sense of identity for our community. Nowhere is this more truly represented than in smaller farms like the Casey Farm.”