WPC Seeks Proposals for Agricultural Lease in Lawrence County

Mon, Jan 7th 2013, 14:14. Filed under News Releases.

Volant, Pa. – Jan. 7 – The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is requesting proposals from qualified farmers to lease and manage organic-certified agricultural fields located within a natural area in Lawrence County.

The Conservancy has issued a request for proposals to lease as many as 100 acres of organic-certified agricultural fields located within WPC’s Plain Grove Fen Natural Area in Plain Grove Township. The lease would begin on or around March 1.

The acres are sectioned into nine fields of varying size, which are suitable for fruit and vegetable production, medium-sized intensive grazing operations or integrated crop-livestock enterprises. In addition to the land, two barns and their related utilities (i.e., water and power) are also available to lease. Qualified parties may also lease a two-story house and a garage.

The Conservancy is encouraging farmers of certified-organic productions to submit proposals. Individual farmer certification is not required, however, as long as all agricultural activities on the property follow organic guidelines.

WPC acquired the Plain Grove Fen Natural Area in 1987 in an effort to preserve a rare wetland type, a population of a rare plant and a mixed-oak forest. A meandering stream called Taylor Run and mature cherry and sugar maple trees also mark the property.

From the early 1990s until last spring, the agricultural fields were home to an organic cattle, hay and crop production that followed Pennsylvania Certified Organic standards. The organic certification continues to apply to the acreage.

Aside from the agricultural fields and the residential area, the Conservancy manages the property as a natural area, open to the public for low-impact recreation, such as hunting and hiking.

The lease will require the farmer to host, in collaboration with WPC, at least one educational program or tour every year to showcase agricultural activities and the surrounding natural area.
More information about the request for proposals can be found at http://www.waterlandlife.org/assets/2012_2013_Plain_Grove_Fen_RFP.pdf

For additional information regarding the request for proposals or its required information, contact WPC Land Steward Bryan Ritti at 412-586-2327 or at Britti@paconserve.org.

The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture offers a Developing a Farm Business Plan Masters Class, which may help interested parties complete their proposal to the Conservancy. For more information about the Jan. 14 class, visit www.pasafarming.org/events/pasa-events/western-region-master-class-developing-a-farm-business-plan

The Conservancy will accept proposals until 3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31. Qualified parties may send proposals by email or in a sealed envelope to:
Bryan Ritti
Land Steward
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
800 Waterfront Dr.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222


About the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy:
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) enhances the region’s quality of life by protecting and restoring exceptional places. A private nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1932, WPC has helped to establish ten state parks, conserved more than 233,000 acres of natural lands and protected or restored more than 1,500 miles of rivers and streams. The Conservancy owns and operates Fallingwater, which symbolizes people living in harmony with nature. In addition, WPC enriches our region’s cities and towns through 135 community gardens and greenspaces that are planted with the help of 13,000 volunteers. The work of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is accomplished through the support of more than 11,000 members. For more information, visitWaterLandLife.org.

Media contact:
Allison Schlesinger
Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
412-607-1945 (cell)