Farm Easements

Conservation Easement Program

The purpose of the statewide Agricultural Conservation Easement program is to conserve and protect agricultural lands through the purchase of development easement rights. All easements purchased by the Allegheny County Farmland Land Preservation Program are perpetual, meaning they continue forever. 

View Easement Map

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible to apply for an Agriculture Conservation Easement, you must meet the following criteria: 
You must be located in an Agricultural Security Area consisting of 500 acres or more. 
You must have contiguous acreage of at least 50 acres in size; OR Contiguous acreage of at least 10 acres in size and utilized for a “crop unique to the area”; OR Contiguous acreage of at least 10 acres in size and contiguous to a property which has a perpetual conservation easement in place. 
The farmland tract shall contain at least 50 percent of soils which are both available for agricultural production and of Land Capability Classes I-IV, as defined by the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). 

The farmland tract shall contain the greater of 50 percent or 10 acres of harvested cropland, pasture or grazing land. 

Application Process

If you are interested in applying for an agricultural easement, first complete the pre-application form to determine eligibility. 

Once you meet the eligibility criteria, you must complete an application. Each application is ranked according to the following criteria: 

  • The productivity of soil 
  • The development potential, such as the availability of public water and sanitary sewer and amount of road frontage 
  • The farmland potential, including size of tract, percent used for crop and pasture, stewardship of land, historic, scenic, and environmental qualities of the tract and certified organic production 
  • Clustering Potential, including the location as it is relevant to Important Agricultural Areas, proximity to eased land, and percentage of adjoining land in an Agricultural Security Area. 
The complete Allegheny County Farm Preservation Program Manual can be found here. 

Program Manual

Ready to Preserve Your Farm?

Find out more and get assistance with the application process.