Commonwealth of Pennsylvania/County of Chester Program

The purpose of the Commonwealth Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program is to preserve viable agricultural lands. The statewide program has been adopted for use in Chester County by the County Commissioners in 1989. Farm owners interested in preserving their farm may sell an agricultural conservation easement, also known as development right of one's farm, to the County of Chester and/or Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.


Act of 1981, P.L. 128, No. 43 (Agricultural Security Area Law) as amended, and Chester County Commissioners Resolution - July 11, 1989

Minimum eligibility requirements

The State Agricultural Land Preservation Board has established minimum requirements that farmland tracts must meet to be eligible for consideration for easement purchase. Farmland tracts must:

  1. Be located in an agricultural security area consisting of 500 or more acres.
  2. Have contiguous acreage of at least 50 acres in size unless the tract is at least 10 acres in size and is either contiguous to a property which has a perpetual conservation easement in place or utilized for a crop unique to the area.
  3. Have at least 50% of the soils that are available for agricultural production and are of capability classes I-IV.
  4. Contain the greater of 50% or 10 acres of harvested cropland, pasture, or grazing land.

Procedure for agricultural conservation easement purchase

  1. Application submission by August 1, annually.
  2. Ranking of applications using the Land Evaluation and Site Assessment (LESA) System developed by USDA. Ranking system sorts farms into order for purchase.

    Factors considered, as of 9/1/2000:
    · Soil quality- 40% of ranking score
    · Development potential - 10%
    · Farmland potential - 25%
    · Clustering potential - 25%
  3. Appraisal is authorized for farms qualified for funding.
    Offer to farm owner = market value less (-) agricultural value
  4. County board approval
  5. Offer to landowner
  6. Agreement of sale
  7. Boundary survey
  8. State board approval
  9. Settlement

Preserved acres

As of February 2008, the Chester County ALPB through the Commonwealth Program has preserved 222 farms for a total of 21,399 acres.

Average acreage of the preserved farms is 96 acres.

Application information

Information on applying to sell an agricultural conservation easement can be obtained by contacting the office via phone, email, regular mail, or by visiting. The deadline for application is August 1st of each year.

Contact Commonwealth of Pennsylvania/County of Chester Program

Contact Commonwealth of Pennsylvania/County of Chester Program

Diana Hoopes
601 Westtown Road
Suite 270, P.O. Box 2747
West Chester, Pennsylvania  19380
Phone: 610-344-6285


Service Area

Statewide Program in:
  • Pennsylvania