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Western Pennsylvania Conservancy



Farm Bill Extends Conservation’s Reach

Towns Edge Farm occupies 115 acres along the western edge of Ligonier. Owner Bill Snyder
is a valued WPC partner who has been working with Assistant Director of Freshwater Conservation
Ben Wright to install conservation measures that will improve the overall operation of the farm and
reduce its impact on the environment.

As a result, fenced woodlots, streambank fencing, a cattle crossing and a rotational grazing system are in place, with other improvements on the way. Thanks to programs like the Environmental Quality Incentive Program, or EQIP, which got a significant boost in funding in the 2008 farm bill, projects like these can continue. EQIP allows farmers to offset a portion of qualified conservation practice expenses with federal funding.

Also, as a result of the farm bill, landowners who put voluntary restrictions on their property can
continue to take qualifying charitable deductions of up to 50 percent of their adjusted gross
income in 2008 and 2009 (up from 30 percent), and, if most of their income is from farming, ranching or forestry, they can deduct up to an amount equal to 100 percent of adjusted gross income. In addition, the number of years over which a donor can take those deductions
has increased from six years to 15 years. A voluntary conservation agreement is a permanent deed
restriction that limits future development of a property to enhance conservation value. These agreements are tailored to specific features of the property and the interests of the landowner. The
agreements are perpetual and held by qualified conservation organizations or public agencies. For more information about EQIP or conservation easements, contact land@paconserve.org.