New Endowment Benefits Local Agriculture

Centre County, a place where acres of prime farmland are frequently lost to new development projects. One Centre County nonprofit is working to change that, one farm at a time.

The Centre County Farmland Trust was formed to preserve farmland as a simpler and more effective alternative to government programs.  Their goal is to keep sustainable, local food sources, and help the farming community by keeping land prices within reach.

Since its creation in 1994, the Farmland Trust has preserved 17 farms, totaling 1,483 acres. Part of what helps the organization sustain their impact is endowment funds. Through Centre Foundation’s 40 for 40 Campaign, the Farmland Trust opened a new, matched endowment to help them continue their preservation of local land.

Preservation provides benefits such as increased water protection, sustainment of scenery, local food security, and helping people earnestly steward their land to ensure that it will remain open to agriculture forever.

“There are a lot of people who love their land and don’t want to see it destroyed or become an unsustainable development,” said Dan Guss, president of the Farmland Trust.

Jack Ray and Sarah Decker agree. They purchased the Treaster Kettle Farm from Joseph Griffin in 2014 and are putting the same passion behind caring for the land as Joseph did.

“Having our land added to the trust furthered our intentions to have a vibrant and sustainable homestead. We have recently been able to expand our production so that we can offer our farm goods to the families of Centre County,” said Sarah.

Just like Jack and Sarah, the Farmland Trust believes that every piece of land has a story. Stories they can continue to tell because of the support of their Centre Foundation endowment.

Dan points out, “The endowment is game changing. It’s keeping with our philosophy that we aren’t going to save the world, but we are going to save a couple acres at a time.”

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