Preserving Pa.’s farms | Friday Morning Coffee

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Good morning, fellow seekers.

Welcome to Friday!

“This farm has been preserved.” You’ve likely seen these signs on your way to and from work, in your community or while visiting other parts of Pennsylvania.

What you might not have known is that the Pennsylvania Farmland Preservation Program has been in place since 1988, with its first preservation occurring a year later in 1989. 

In those 32 years, the program has preserved 5,813 farms across Pennsylvania, totaling 591,819 acres of farmland. 

This year, the program was able to protect 32 farms (included in above total) from 17 counties, accounting for more than 2,710 acres of preserved farmland.

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding highlighted the importance of these farms in a statement Thursday.

“The disruptive impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Pennsylvania’s agricultural system have been broad and varied,” Redding said. “This year, we’ve watched farmers and consumers bridge the gap from farm to table. Producers and households have depended on each other for certainty and our state’s Farmland Preservation Program has made food security possible for our families and farmers across the commonwealth.”

The protected properties include fruit, vegetable, equine, crop, livestock, sheep, goat, and dairy operations, according to the state Department of Agriculture.

Some noteworthy farms preserved this year include Taggart Family Farm, a 73-acre crop farm located in Butler County. The property has been in the Taggart family for 220 years! The farm was first purchased by John Taggart who immigrated from Ireland in 1800! 

There are 190 bicentennial farms statewide, the department confirmed.

Also preserved this year is Barrick Farms LLC, located in Cumberland County.  The farm is a 482.25-acre dairy operation. It is the largest farm secured by the county board, the department said.

Our Stuff.

From Stephen Caruso: Third Pa. legislator this week tests positive for COVID-19, as Capitol rethinks pandemic-era swearing-in

ICYMI: Pa. First Lady Frances Wolf tests negative for COVID-19, following Gov. Tom Wolf’s positive diagnosis earlier this week.

Our partners at the Uniontown Herald-Standard report that the Crime Victims’ Center of Fayette County has been hard at work during the COVID-19 pandemic in the latest installment of “Helping the Helpers.”

On our Commentary Page this morning, Jon Equia explores new electoral districts and Sean P. Quilan takes a look at American history’s contrarians.

Elsewhere.
One Lehigh Valley Health Network employee received Pfiser’s COVID-19 vaccine, The Morning Call reports. Philadelphia school boardshifts its focus toward academics and equity, according the Philadelphia Inquirer.The city of Harrisburg and the state will dish out $17,500 each to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by a Dauphin County man over permission to burn flagsPennLive reports. 
Here’s your #DailyPhoto taken by yours truly
CDC Director Robert Redfield instructed staff to delete emails from Trump administration officialsPOLTICO reports. 

California’s ancient Redwood forests are in danger from climate change, The New York Times reports. 

Watchable. 
Looking for a show you can binge-watch this weekend? Look no further. The listicle from The Wire is here to help.

Heavy Rotation.
Your daily earworm on this Flashback Friday is The Cure’s “Friday I’m in Love.”

And now you’re up to date.

Cassie Miller
A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. She is a graduate of Penn State University where she served as the campus newspaper’s photo editor. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared.