- Mobile Clinics Really Got Rolling in the Pandemic. A New Law Will Help Them Cast a Wider Safety Net.
- Opioids Are Devastating Cherokee Families. The Tribe Has a $100 Million Plan to Heal
- Less Staff, Longer Delays and Fewer Options: Rural America Confronts a Health Care Crisis
- The Pandemic Pushed Rural Philanthropy to Change
- Warner, Blackburn Lead Bipartisan Effort to Preserve Access to Rural Health Care
- Tackling Rural America's 'Hidden' Housing Crisis
- Experts: National Physician Shortage Will Hit Rural Areas Harder
- Ensuring Health Care Quality in Rural America
- Rural Communities Want to Tap Federal Funding. But It's Hard to Know Where to Start
- Nearly Half of All Rural Hospitals Are Operating in the Red, Study Says
- Home-Based Care: Fixing the Childcare Drought in Rural America
- Rural Hospitals That Were Struggling Financially Even Before the Pandemic Are Running Out of COVID Aid
- Oklahoma Researchers Aim For More Mental Health Resources In Rural Schools
- Q&A: A Rural Healthcare Hub for Doctors and Policymakers
- February in Brief: Expanding Access to Health Care in Rural Areas and Improving Early Access to Cancer Screenings in Underserved Communities
Subscribe Now to the CMS Rural Health Listserv!
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services rural health listserv is dedicated to sharing information about programs, policies and resources to help ensure rural populations have access to quality health care. To subscribe to the new topic, click here and enter your email.
Our goal at CMS is to develop programs and policies that ensure rural Americans have access to high quality care, support rural providers and not disadvantage them, address the unique economics of providing health care in rural America, and reduce unnecessary burdens in a stretched system to advance our commitment to improving health outcomes for Americans living in rural areas.
Subscribe to the rural health care listserv to receive the latest information and resources on:
- CMS Rural Health Strategy
- Maternal health care
- Payment and billing
- Policies and regulation
- Resources for partners
In order to find more information on rural health activities at CMS, please visit go.cms.gov/ruralhealth or contact RuralHealth@cms.hhs.gov
Recently Released: Healthy People 2030’s Leading Health Indicators and Overall Health and Well-Being Measures
HHS has released a new subset of objectives and a new set of health measures as part of the Healthy People 2030 initiative: Leading Health Indicators (LHIs) and Overall Health and Well-Being Measures (OHMs). Together, LHIs and OHMs will help public health and health care professionals, businesses, policymakers, national organizations, and community leaders set priorities and track nationwide progress toward improving health and well-being.
Click here for more information and for videos on the indicators and measures.
New ADA HPI Workforce Infographic Released
The American Dental Association (ADA) Health Policy Institute (HPI) released a new infographic, “The Dentist Workforce – Key Facts.” It contains dentist-to-population ratios by state and change over the past decade, age distribution and retirement age, as well as gender and racial and ethnic composition of the workforce.
USDA Invests $42 Million in Distance Learning and Telemedicine Infrastructure to Improve Education and Health Outcomes
Pennsylvania project receives $490,381 grant
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it is investing $42.3 million to help rural residents gain access to health care and educational opportunities. Rural areas are seeing higher infection and death rates related to COVID-19 due to several factors, including a much higher percentage of underlying conditions, difficulty accessing medical care, and lack of health insurance. The $42.3 million in awards includes $24 million provided through the CARES Act. In total, these investments will benefit 5 million rural residents.
“The coronavirus pandemic is a national emergency that requires an historic federal response. These investments by the Biden Administration will help millions of people living in rural places access health care and education opportunities that could change and save lives,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “USDA is helping rural America build back better using technology as a cornerstone to create more equitable communities. With health care and education increasingly moving to online platforms, the time is now to make historic investments in rural America to improve quality of life for decades to come.”
These investments will benefit 5 million rural residents.
In Pennsylvania, the following project received funds through the DLT grant program today:
- O.S. Johnson Technical Institute received a DLT grant of $490,381 to implement a distance learning program in Lackawanna, Susquehanna, Pike and Wayne counties. The project will link Johnson College with four rural high schools and three libraries. Students will have interactive, two-way access to Johnson College faculty and will participate in remote education, discussions, testing and skills demonstrations. Laboratories and classrooms at Johnson College will be similarly equipped to enable maximum interaction between faculty and students. In addition, three rural libraries will be equipped with laptops to give community residents access to career development services and courses at Johnson College.
A recent report by the Rural Policy Research Institute’s Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis found infection and death rates in rural America due to COVID-19 are 13.4 percent higher than in urban areas. A recent report from USDA’s Economic Research Service, USDA ERS – Rural Residents Appear to be More Vulnerable to Serious Infection or Death From Coronavirus COVID-19, underscored the challenges facing rural Americans amidst the COVID-19 pandemic with even greater detail. Due to a confluence of factors, including higher percentages of underlying conditions, lack of health insurance, and lower access to medical facilities/care than urban counterparts, ERS analysts found rural Americans are suffering more severe illness or death due to COVID-19.
USDA is funding 86 projects through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program. The program helps rural education and health care entities remotely reach students, patients and outside expertise. These capabilities make world-class education and health care opportunities accessible in rural communities. The ability to use telehealth resources is critical, especially now during a global pandemic.
USDA also announced investments today in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
To learn more about investment resources for rural areas, interested parties should contact their USDA Rural Development state office.
In January, President Biden requested all parts of the federal government to contribute resources to contain the coronavirus pandemic. USDA is responding to the President’s call to action. To date, more than 350 USDA personnel have deployed to assist with standing up vaccination sites, for example. In addition to personnel, USDA is offering its facilities, cold chain infrastructure, public health experts, disaster response specialists, and footprint in rural and Tribal communities across the country. USDA’s commitment to control the pandemic extends to our own staff and facilities, with masking and physical distancing requirements across USDA, a commitment to provide PPE to our front-line workers, and working with states to prioritize vaccinations for our workforce. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/coronavirus. USDA also encourages people seeking health insurance to go to HealthCare.gov now through May 15th due to a Special Enrollment Period. If you are recently uninsured due to a job loss or between jobs, find a plan at HealthCare.gov and keep it for as long as you need it.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
Graduate Medical Education Gets Major Boost From Congressional Appropriations Bill
The National Law Review
Shortly before midnight on December 21, 2020, Congress passed with broad bipartisan support the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, which contains $2.3 trillion in spending aimed at stimulating the economy and providing relief from COVID-19. The 5,593-page bill, which is believed to be by far the longest bill ever to be passed by Congress, contains $900 billion in COVID-19 relief, along with $1.4 trillion in catchall spending. Provided the president signs the bill, some of the bill’s provisions will go into effect as soon as next week.
Buried among the thousands of pages is a series of significant changes to federal funding of graduate medical education (GME) that will have substantial impacts on hospitals and future physicians. Recent reports have indicated that the United States faces a projected physician shortage of approximately 139,000 physicians within the next 10–15 years. Perhaps in recognition of that anticipated scarcity, Congress has significantly expanded the number of federally funded physician residency positions. Specifically, the legislation contains the following GME provisions:
- Additional Federal Support for Residency Training – the bill ends a nearly 25-year freeze on Medicare funding for GME.
- Additional GME Positions – the bill adds 200 new Medicare-funded GME positions per year over five years at both rural and urban teaching hospitals. At least 10 percent of such positions must be assigned to rural hospitals, teaching hospitals, hospitals that serve areas designated as health professional shortage areas (HPSAs), and hospitals in states with new medical schools. Any hospital assigned additional residency positions may receive up to a maximum of 25 additional full-time positions. Such slots, however, must be accompanied by an agreement to provide a commensurate amount of new training.
- Additional Flexibilities for Rural Training Programs – the bill removes the separate accreditation requirement, which previously was required for hospitals providing rural training programs to receive federal funding. Under the bill’s provisions, rural and urban hospitals that do not meet the separate accreditation requirement may work together to offer training programs aimed at increasing the number of physicians in rural areas.
- Opportunity to Re-Establish GME Caps and Per-Resident Amounts – the bill offers opportunities for certain hospitals with low GME caps to establish new caps in order to receive Medicare funding for GME programs they seek to grow and enhance. Likewise, the bill permits certain hospitals with low per-resident amounts (PRAs) to establish a new PRA under existing methodologies applicable to new teaching hospitals. The bill also offers a reprieve on the establishment of new GME caps and PRAs for any hospital until the hospital trained more than 1.0 full-time equivalent (FTE) resident in a year.
Update to Direct Ordering of Monoclonal Antibodies
As part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) pandemic response efforts, the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) oversees the allocation and distribution of COVID-19 therapeutics authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use. Two such monoclonal antibody therapies received Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) in November for outpatient treatment of those diagnosed with mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 and meet the high-risk patient criteria noted within the EUAs. The two drugs were bamlanivimab (manufactured by Eli Lilly and Co.) and the therapeutic cocktail casirivimab/imdevimab (manufactured by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.).
It is the goal of HHS to ensure fair and efficient access of monoclonal antibody treatments to the communities and facilities that need them. As such, HHS implemented a direct ordering system in January to complement our allocation process and offer treatment facilities the ability to quickly order monoclonal antibody treatments when they need them. There is no shortage in supply of these drugs, and we have enough on hand to meet the needs of all treatment facilities. For this reason, we are making both therapeutics (bamlanivimab and casirivimab/imdevimab) available through direct ordering only, as there is no longer a need for the federal government to allocate these drugs to health departments. All treatment sites meeting EUA requirements must now order bamlanivimab and casirivimab/imdevimab (when available for shipping) directly from AmerisourceBergen Corporation (ABC), the drugs’ sole distributor. The products remain free of charge to requesting sites.
HHS will continue to monitor all direct orders, and we retain the capacity to resume allocation of these and future therapies if needed. Treatment sites should review the direct ordering process guide and place orders directly with ABC at this site.
Please note that in addition to reporting therapeutics data in HHSProtect or the National Healthcare Safety Network, treatment sites wishing to place direct orders will be required to provide ABC with a board of pharmacy license or physician letter of authorization, attest to their designated class of trade, and ensure that product administration will be conducted according to the drugs’ EUAs.
Should you have any questions or concerns regarding the direct order process for COVID-19 monoclonal antibodies, you may contact HHS/ASPR at COVID19Therapeutics@hhs.gov or ABC at C19therapies@amerisourcebergen.com.
Pennsylvania Wolf Unveils Workforce and Economic Development Plan to Get Pennsylvania Back to Work
The COVID-19 global pandemic has significantly affected Pennsylvania workers, businesses and communities. To bolster economic recovery efforts and position Pennsylvania for economic growth, Governor Tom Wolf today unveiled his “Back to Work PA” plan.
“Pennsylvania needs a comprehensive, forward-thinking plan to jumpstart our economy and support our workforce,” Gov. Wolf said. “Back to Work PA will make strategic and comprehensive investments to build a stronger and more diverse workforce, support Pennsylvania businesses while attracting businesses to the commonwealth, and assist communities with economic recovery efforts – all of which will help us get back on track and build a brighter future for Pennsylvania.”
Back to Work PA builds on recommendations from the Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center’s annual report, published in January 2020. Refocusing Restore PA, Back to Work PA would be funded by a commonsense extraction tax on the natural gas industry, which would allow for an injection of $3 billion to enhance existing initiatives and create new, innovative programs to address barriers that are holding back our workforce.
Invest in Our Workforce to Support a Fair and Equitable Economic Recovery
To build a stronger and more diverse workforce, the plan would support workers most significantly impacted by the pandemic, address inequities, direct resources to support talent development for high-demand occupations, and focus on high-quality well-paying jobs that lead to careers with family-sustaining wages:
- Invest in rapid reskilling, upskilling, and skills transfer to connect unemployed Pennsylvanians to new career opportunities.
- Invest in programs that enhance digital literacy skills.
- Expand on registered apprenticeship programs to include non-traditional occupations like health care, child care, information technology and manufacturing.
- Expand on education and training opportunities that support middle-skill jobs and the skilled-trades.
- Transform workforce development services, including individualized career coaching and enhanced wrap-around supports to address barriers to employment.
- Support child care stabilization by increasing child care subsidies, assisting employers seeking to develop or expand on-site child care, assisting child care centers to expand services during non-traditional work hours, and eliminating child care deserts.
- Support innovative programs that help re-entering citizens obtain credentials and access employment opportunities.
Catalyze Pennsylvania’s Economic Recovery through Strategic Business and Community Support
To support and attract businesses, Back to Work PA would develop a strong reshoring initiative. Supply chain issues have affected businesses across this country, and Pennsylvania’s manufacturing sector is poised to compete nationally and globally to address those needs.
- Develop a strong reshoring initiative by prioritizing and recapitalizing existing programs such as:
- Business in Our Sites
- Industrial Sites Reuse Program
- Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority
- Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund
- Increase investment into an aggressive business attraction marketing strategy to package and promote reshoring programs.
- Support innovation and entrepreneurs by developing a funding strategy to foster the creation of new companies and attract and retain talent in Pennsylvania.
- Provide strategic financial planning opportunities for municipalities so that they can address the revenue losses experienced during the pandemic and prepare for potential future economic disruptions:
- Expand Municipal Assistance Program (MAP) to provide additional services to municipalities.
- Expand and Reform Act 47.
- Expand Strategic Management Planning Program (STMP).
Ensure Reliable Broadband for All Pennsylvanians
COVID-19 disruptions have shown that broadband access is a necessity. Back to Work PA would prioritize making high-speed internet access available to all Pennsylvanians by building out this infrastructure in unserved areas of the commonwealth. Pennsylvanians deserve an opportunity for economic vitality and internet access is a fundamental pillar to that opportunity.
“We know that no two jobs are exactly the same, no two workers are exactly the same, and no two businesses are exactly the same. The individualized services in the governor’s Back to Work PA plan connect job seekers to the education or training that will set them up for success in the labor market, while also helping businesses connect to the skilled workforce they need to thrive,” said Department of Labor & Industry Acting Secretary Jennifer Berrier. “By making these smart investments now, we can build up our workforce to make Pennsylvania’s workers the most in-demand in the country as we emerge into the new post-pandemic world.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has hurt our communities and businesses, and we cannot stall on taking bold, strategic action to expedite a faster recovery,” said Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin. “Bolstering our workforce benefits our economy—and by extension, our communities—and Back to Work PA would provide the critical funding necessary to address Pennsylvania’s needs both now and in the future.”
Back to Work PA is part of the governor’s 2021 legislative plan, which prioritizes cut taxes for working families and businesses, while investing more money in education and workforce development.
“Our commonwealth is competing against the world for talent. To hasten Pennsylvania’s recovery, and strengthen its long-term competitive advantage, we must make the shift to people and place-centered economic policies that enhance the pipeline to retain, train, attract, and empower a diverse, talented workforce, which in turn will strengthen our business community. The Back to Work PA Plan would do just that,” said Kevin Schreiber, president of the York County Economic Alliance.
“I’m proud to partner with Governor Wolf and support his plan to invest in working families and get our economy back on track,” said state Sen. John Kane (D-Chester/Delaware). “I was a union plumber for four decades, and I led my union through the Great Recession. I have seen firsthand the toll that this kind of economic downturn takes on working people. This is more than a paycheck. During the recession, I lost members to suicide and overdoses, and those issues have only gotten worse during this pandemic. We need to get our low-wage workers, our workers of color, folks that have been disproportionately impacted, back to work. The governor’s plan would do just that, and I’m proud to stand with him to fight for a Pennsylvania that works for working people.”
“Pennsylvanians continue to face the biggest and most critical challenges of their lifetimes due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said state Rep. Maureen Madden (D-Monroe). “Back to Work PA offers a path to economic stability by imposing a long overdue commonsense tax on natural gas extraction. I fully support Governor Wolf’s diverse initiative to rebuild our infrastructure and get Pennsylvanians back in the workforce.”
Since the start of the pandemic, the Wolf Administration has provided more than $670 million in relief to businesses and non-profits in addition to support programs such as the Paycheck Protection; most recently, $145 million to provide much-needed immediate relief to the hospitality industry.
“Our businesses need the immediate relief that these funds will provide, but we also need long-term solutions,” Gov. Wolf said. “Getting Pennsylvania back on track after the pandemic means investing in the businesses and workers that drive our economy and developing a sustainable solution to support long-term economic recovery. Back to Work PA will foster economic recovery by investing in our businesses, our workers, and our communities.”
Pennsylvania Announces Application Deadline Extension for Low-Interest Loans for Survivors of Flooding from Tropical Storm Isaias
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved his request to extend the deadline for survivors of Tropical Storm Isaias to apply for low-interest loans from SBA until March 18, 2021.
“We’re so grateful for this extension, so that we make sure that everyone who is eligible and wants to apply has the time they need to do so,” said Governor Wolf. “SBA is standing by to provide whatever help is needed to anyone who wants to apply.”
The storm caused devastating flooding and significant damage in early August 2020. Homeowners, renters and businesses impacted by the flooding in Berks and Philadelphia counties, as well as the neighboring counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, and Schuylkill may be eligible for low-interest disaster loans through the SBA Disaster Loan Programs.
Low-interest loans of up to $200,000 are available to homeowners and renters to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, and SBA regulations also permit loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged personal property, including vehicles. Businesses and nonprofits can borrow up to $2 million to restore damaged or destroyed buildings, inventory, equipment and other physical losses. Economic Injury Disaster Loans are also available and may also be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact, whether or not the business sustained physical damage from the storm.
SBA offers long-term repayment options to keep payments affordable, with terms up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
Due to COVID-19 mitigation efforts, the SBA will not establish a physical Disaster Loan Outreach Center (DLOC) in these communities to assist applicants. However, SBA has opened a Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center (VDLOC) to help survivors apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website.
Virtual customer support representatives will be available to assist applicants with completing the online application during the following times:
Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Centers (VDLOCs)
Open: Monday – Sunday (7 days per week)
Hours: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. EST
Phone: (800) 659-2955
Businesses and individuals may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov.
Loan applications can also be downloaded at sba.gov/disaster. Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is March 18, 2021. The deadline to return economic injury disaster loan applications is Sept. 20, 2021.
Pennsylvania Students: Nellie Bly Scholarship Program Will Help at Least 44,000 PASSHE Students Afford College
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf wants to bet on 44,000 students to help them earn a college degree while graduating with less debt and building successful lives in Pennsylvania. Today, the governor held a press conference to discuss how his historic Nellie Bly Scholarship Program would provide need-based financial assistance for students at 14 universities in the state’s system.
“Our country has a student loan debt crisis and it’s a burden that lasts for years and holds young people back from starting a family, buying a home and saving for retirement,” said Gov. Wolf. “I am proposing the Nellie Bly Scholarship Program to help college students build lives in their communities rather than struggling to pay student loan bills every month.”
The Nellie Bly Scholarship Program provides a scholarship to full-time undergraduate students at the 14 Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) universities who have a household income of under $104,800. For the most economically disadvantaged students, the scholarship covers the tuition and fees gap not covered by a student’s Pell and PA State Grants. In exchange, the students agree to stay in Pennsylvania after graduation for the same number of years for which they receive the benefit or the scholarship becomes a low-interest loan.
The program also creates an Emergency Grant Fund at PASSHE to meet any emergency expenses the scholarship recipients might have, including books, paying final account balances, or other nominal costs that often prohibit students from registering for classes or obtaining transcripts.
The governor was joined for the press conference by Shippensburg University President Laurie A. Carter, Edinboro University senior Sam Bohen and Acting Education Secretary Noe Ortega.
“Additional investment from the state for our future leaders allows students to focus on building a career and becoming global citizens, while not needing to work a second or third job to help cover expenses,” said Shippensburg University President Laurie A. Carter. “It means, for example, that students can focus on internship opportunities or other hands-on experiences that make them more workforce ready. Such experiences are foundational to student success. We know that students who do internships or have other engagement experiences related to their future employment are more engaged and successful professionals.”
“When I graduate from Edinboro in May, I’ll take with me incredible knowledge and friendships as well as $40,000 in debt,” said Sam Bohen, a senior at Edinboro University. “Many students are working our way through college by spending our days in class and our nights on the job so that we can afford rent and books. We do all of that hard work and still graduate $40,000 in debt. The Nellie Bly College Scholarship Program would be incredibly helpful to students at state schools. I want to stay in Pennsylvania and be a part of our future and this program would allow me to do it. I think that is just incredible. I think we should bet on the students of our state schools.”
The rising cost of higher education can prevent some students from starting college or graduating. Since 2010, tuition and fees at public higher education institutions have increased by 16 percent.
“The cost of attending college in Pennsylvania continues to prevent students and families from choosing to pursue a postsecondary education,” said Acting Secretary of Education Noe Ortega. “For many of our residents, loans have become the primary pathway to a college degree, and students must be willing to accept the burden of debt in order to pursue their dreams. For this reason, I stand with Governor Wolf in support of the Nellie Bly Scholarship Program, which will open doors and create opportunities for students, as well as positively impact our state’s workforce and economy.”
The scholarship is named in honor of Nellie Bly, an Armstrong County native born in 1864. Bly attended the Indiana Normal School, now Indiana University of Pennsylvania, but left due to the cost. Bly became a pioneering journalist who helped to force reforms to the mental health care system in the early 20th century. Inspired by Jules Verne’s novel, Bly also completed a trip around the world in just 72 days.
Nearly a century later, higher education remains too expensive for many low-income and middle-class families. The student loan debt for Pennsylvania residents is $68 billion, among the highest in the nation, averaging more than $39,000 per student. Approximately 70 percent of Pennsylvania students have student loans to afford college.
The scholarships benefiting 44,000 students would be funded by repurposing $199 million in slot machine revenue that is directed to the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development Trust Fund. Approximately 80 percent of the revenue goes to purses for horse owners, many of whom are from other states or countries. The fund has provided more than $3 billion over 16 years to subsidize the single private industry, which should be ready to support itself in a free-market capitalist economy. This $3 billion in addition to the traditional support the industry receives from the commonwealth including payments from the Pari-mutuel Wagering Tax and Clean and Green, a preferential tax assessment program, among others. The fund would still support health and pension benefits for horseman organizations as the original slots law intended.
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the commonwealth with 93,000 students. The university system includes Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock, and West Chester.
Pennsylvania Protects 30 Farms, 2,638 Acres from Future Development
Pennsylvania safeguarded 2,638 acres on 30 farms in 16 counties through the state’s nation-leading Farmland Preservation Program. Since 1988, the program has purchased permanent conservation easements on 5,843 Pennsylvania farms, covering 594,457 acres, in 59 counties, ensuring they will remain farms in the future.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have seen vividly how crucial our farms are for food in our stores and on our tables,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “Ensuring that farms stay farms instead of becoming warehouses or parking lots is an investment in all of our futures, and one of the most effective partnerships among farmers and government at every level.”
Preserved farms are protected from future residential, commercial or industrial development. They represent targeted investments in the future of farming and food security in Pennsylvania.
The 30 farms preserved today are in Beaver, Butler, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Northampton, Schuylkill, Snyder, Union and York counties.
These farms include crop, cattle, sheep, goat and dairy operations.
Notable farms preserved today include the Keith Eckel Farm, a 78.85-acre crop operation with soils classified as the most productive, along the banks of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in Lackawanna County.
The David F. and Diane M. Friedman Farm, a 48.45-acre crop operation in Northampton County, is being preserved in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In addition to providing land necessary for food production, preserved farms with forested and natural areas also provide significant wildlife habitat.
The Alfred D. Nagle Farm, a 98.53-acre crop operation in Schuylkill County, is part of a 4,100-acre Agricultural Security Area (ASA), of which 646.42-acres are permanently preserved. There are more than 1,000 townships across Pennsylvania with designated Agricultural Security Areas. This designation is required for farms to be preserved through the state farmland preservation program.
Farms preserved and dollars invested, by county:
Beaver County – total investment of $68,993 state, $20,100 county
The Rachel Mignogna Farm #1, a 21-acre crop and livestock operation
Butler County – total investment of $341,544 state, $100,000 county
The Foertsch Farm 2020 #2, a 102-acre crop and livestock operation
Chester County – total investment of $1,004,986 state
The Christ S., Jr. and Martha F. Petersheim Farm, a 54-acre crop and livestock operation
The Terry L. and Nancy M. Stauffer Farm, an 88-acre livestock operation
The Emanuel K. Fannie S. Stoltzfus Farm, an 82-acre crop and livestock operation
Cumberland County – total investment of $383,926 state, $105,881 county
The Kenneth E. and Patricia Ann Dietch Farm, a 31-acre crop operation
The Alvin M. and Pauline G. Weaver Farm, a 116-acre crop and livestock operation
Dauphin County – total investment of $131,160 state
The James L. Jr. and Lorretta L. Long Farm, an 87-acre crop operation
Lackawanna County – total investment of $437,803 state, $147,843 county
The Keith W. Eckel Farm #1, a 79-acre crop operation
The Kathy M. Everett Farm #1, a 147-acre crop operation
Lancaster County – total investment of $314,899.12 state, $674,385.00 county
The A. Omer, Charmayne Brubaker Farm, a 45-acre sheep and goat operation
The Levi S. and Ruth Ann Kauffman Farm, a 77-acre crop operation
The Lorna and Bartnick Nolt and Karen M. & Amos Conley Farms, a 70-acre crop operation
The Warren Z. and Linda M. Sensenig Farm, a 110- acre dairy operation
The Edward L. and Debra A. Zug Farm #2, a 29-acre crop operation
Lawrence County – total investment of $ 100,096 state, $23,362 county
The Douglas and Karen Beatty Farm, a 93-acre crop and livestock operation
Lebanon County – total investment of $153,686 state, $67,223 county
The S. Cleason and Mary Joyce Nolt Farm, an 87-acre crop and livestock operation
Lehigh County – total investment of $54,553 state, $1,276,533 county
The Larry Lew Hower Estate, a 71-acre crop operation
The Richard and Patricia R. Hughes Farm, a 43-acre crop operation
The Mark A. and Katherine Lichtenwalner Farm, a 135-acre crop operation
Luzerne County – total investment of $940,105 state
The Joseph and Patricia Gans Farm, a 274-acre crop operation
Northampton County – total investment of $803,454 state, $357,024 county
The Paul H. et al Deck Farm, a 115-acre crop operation
The David F. and Diane M. Friedman Farm, a 34-acre crop operation
The Brad J. and Allyson Weinhofer Farm, a 74-acre crop operation
Schuylkill County– total investment of $205,448 state
The Alfred D. Nagle Farm, a 99-acre crop operation
Snyder County – total investment of $126,478.63 state
The Myra L. and Smith, Paul R. & Gordon E. Deitrich Farm, a 61-acre crop operation
Union County– total investment of $134,376.58 state, $126,963 county
The Richard O. Grace, Michael and Jamie Noll Farm, a 105-acre crop operation
York County– total investment of $930,960 state
The Ronald E. Coleman Farm #2, a 161-acre crop and livestock operation
The Glen A. and Susan E. Daugherty Farm #3, a 32-acre crop operation
The David S. and Janet D. Evans Farm #1, a 117-acre crop and livestock operation
To learn more about Pennsylvania’s Farmland Preservation Program and investments in a secure future for Pennsylvania agriculture, visit agriculture.pa.gov.