Land conservation program expands in Pennsylvania
(Note: Note the extra bait dangled before the recreationists -- as if the hook weren't dangerous enough for the farmers! Words like 'protect' and 'preserve', like 'manage', simply mean Control. All the while, the gullible farmers and others that take the bait, are trapped and don't even know it. The following means that TAXPAYER DOLLARS, not the USDA or state -- neither of which PAYS taxes -- are being used to fund the extinction of farming and the eventual lockup of these lands, which is the implementation of The Wildlands Project: "...the U.S. Department of Agriculture paying about $99 million and the state paying the rest.")
March 24, 2004
By Dan Nephin, Associated Press
Hookstown, Pennsylvania - Western Pennsylvania farmers will soon be able to participate in a conservation program that pays them not to farm fragile land in an effort to protect waterways.

Under the Ohio River Basin Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, western Pennsylvania farmers would be paid to allow the land to revert to native grasses and vegetation, which helps prevent erosion.

Farmers will be paid $130 an acre to participate in the program, said U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, who announced the program this week with Governor Ed Rendell, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Anne Veneman and other officials at a farm northwest of Pittsburgh.

Payments to farmers in conservation programs vary, with some receiving about $43 an acre, Specter said. Pennsylvania farmers receive higher payments because land is more expensive, he said.

About half the states in the country participate in the conservation programs. Farmers in the eastern half of the state could participate in a similar program designed to protect the Chesapeake Bay.

Such programs "are some of the new ways that we're able to really preserve water quality and preserve farming at the same time," Veneman said.

Rendell added [that] the program could also preserve the land for wildlife -- a potential boon for hunters, anglers, and the state's $9.6 billion hunting and fishing industry.

The program announced this week will cost an estimated $146 million over 15 years, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture paying about $99 million and the state paying the rest.

The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, created in 1997, is an outgrowth of the Conservation Reserve Program, another program that also pays landowners to take farmland out of production.

While the former program aims to broadly protect land, the enhanced program targets specific areas of concern.
The existing program in Pennsylvania is open to farmers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and about 80,000 acres have been protected in the past four years.

Officials hope that by adding the Ohio River Basin project, an additional 65,000 acres will be protected. Federal officials hope the program will reduce sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorous from entering the Ohio River and ultimately, the Gulf Of Mexico.