A group of citizens who support farmland preservation has offered Lower Makefield township officials the opportunity to perpetually preserve one of the Commonwealths most fertile farms and receive almost $1.6M in return for their efforts.
At the January 18th board of supervisors meeting, Patterson Farm Preservation group founder, Donna Doan, encouraged township officials to take advantage of the Bucks County Agricultural Land Preservation Program by immediately enrolling the township-owned Patterson Farm.
The township obtained the then-233-acre farm in 1998 by employing Eminent Domain. A large parcel of the farm was later developed when an I-95 exit ramp was reconfigured.
Leasing the remaining 177-acre farm for crop growth has proven very successful however, citizens have been frustrated by the townships lack of a preventive maintenance plan for the historic homes and buildings on the farm. Township officials claim the structures are too expensive to maintain. As our region becomes more developed, residents are increasingly disconnected from the farms and farmers who provide our food.
The preservation plan offered by the Patterson Farm Preservation group would generate funds to keep the farm intact, preserve the farms continuing use for food production, and incorporate a plan to involve and engage the community in the restoration effort while educating the public about the importance of local agriculture.
Doan’s father, Duane Doan Jr., farmed the (Patterson) land in his youth with his father, Duane Doan Sr., and later with the farm’s former owners, Thomas Patterson and his wife Alice. Thomas died in 2000, followed by Alice in 2005. Both lived well into their nineties, enjoying a healthy lifestyle on their farm and consuming the fresh fruits and vegetables they grew. Donna and her father want to be sure the Patterson’s legacy of farmland preservation is finally achieved.
Enrollment in the Agricultural Land Preservation Program would employ a conservation easement purchase to perpetually preserve the Patterson farm for agricultural use and would reward the township with nearly $1.6M in revenue to restore and preserve the farms historic homes, barns and outbuildings.
Charles Patterson, nephew of the farm’s former owners, applauded the preservation groups’ efforts by commenting on their Web site, “Thank you so much for taking up such a noble cause. It saddens me to see how the property has fallen into such disrepair. My uncle and aunt chose to sell the property for much less than its value to developers in order for it to be preserved as farm land.”
The Patterson’s niece, Edna Patterson Dilliplane commented, “Hopefully the new supervisors will be open to [the] proposal to save the property.”
Group founder Doan added, “The Pattersons taught by example. Their healthy lives were the result of eating fresh, nutritious crops and being committed to daily physical exercise. We can learn from them. Local agriculture is vital to the physical and financial health of our community. The superior soil quality of Patterson Farm makes it an irreplaceable agricultural asset. With the US Census projecting our country’s population to increase from 312 million today to 439 million by the year 2050, there is an urgent need to immediately preserve as much prime farmland as possible. We cannot afford to lose this precious farm on the whim of some future board of supervisors. Perpetual preservation with a conservation easement is a winning solution for all. We hope the current supervisors will do the right thing.”
For additional information see www.PattersonFarmPreservation.com.