Testimonials from Preserved Farm Owners

Dennis Zehner 

Dennis has preserved 3 farm parcels in Black Creek Township: "No generation ever wanted to see farms being developed. We didn't want to see that happen here. This is a small, unique valley that has some very productive farmland, and it's a tragedy to exploit every acre for development. You have to ask yourself  what kind of legacy do you want to leave - a big development or a farm that can be enjoyed in the future? Our ancestors worked extremely hard to make these farms and it's a legacy to pass on."

Ochs Farm Market
Farm Silos

Jim Doran

Mr. Doran's Farm is located along the Susquehanna River in Plymouth Township: "It's all river bottom soil, and the topsoil goes down 10 or 12 feet. It's a pleasure to farm; there's not a stone in the place and it produces very well. It's very good in a dry year because there's a heavier dew accumulation along the river which is good for the crops. It's a good feeling knowing that no one can take it away. My son wanted to keep it as a farm no matter how much money I could've sold it for."

Beverly Ochs

This farm is located along East County Road in Butler Township: "This farm has been in the family for so long. When the program came up to keep the farm a farm forever, it was very attractive to us. It enabled me to have a retirement fund and hand the farm down to my family without having big mortgages and big bills to pay. It's a very good program for families who want to stay in farming."

Richard Thomas

First farmer to apply to the program. His farm is located along St. Johns Road in Butler Township: "I simply wanted to preserve it and I would've done it for nothing. I always, if I could get it (the farm), there wouldn't be one house built on this place. I'm happy that I was the first one, and if my dad were here, he'd be happy too. He always wanted to see this stay as farm ground."

Ransom Young

Son of Clyde and Joanne Young, who were the second farmers to apply to the program and preserve their farm; his farm is located along W. Butler Drive in Butler Township: "I think we have to save some of these areas because, as a [township] supervisor, I like to see the farmland saved because it costs less money to provide service in a rural area."

Alice Lent

She and husband, William, have passed the farm down to their family; their son, Chris and his wife Amanda, are operating an organic farming business: "The land has been sacred to us and we believe in sustainable agriculture, which means the prevention of erosion and implementing land preservation. We feel that for the future, we have to preserve our land for agricultural purposes, and when the opportunity came for the prevention of development, we liked the idea. We feel this is a measure against urban sprawl. In the 40-plus years we've been here, the amount of development has been enormous. This is a way of preserving a quality of life that is disappearing."

Lucille Stempien

Her family's farm is located along the Main Road in Hunlock / Ross Townships: "There's a lot of houses going up all around us constantly. I lived here all my life, and even in the last couple of years, there's houses being built where you wouldn't expect to see them. If you want to keep your property a farm, this is a great thing. I talked it over with my family members, and they'd like to keep it as it is now."

Jay Balliet

His farm is located along East County Road in Butler Township: "It feels good. We probably could have gotten more money if we sold it to a developer, but that not what we wanted. We never want to see it developed, and this program is the best answer. It's like having your cake and eating it too."