To Learn About The New Realty Transfer Tax Exemption for Preserved Farm Owners 

On January 18, 2020

To Learn About The New Realty Transfer Tax Exemption for Preserved Farm Owners 

Recently Secretary Russell Redding announced that Pennsylvania’s more than 5,600 preserved farm owners would now be eligible to apply for a new realty transfer tax exemption through the Pennsylvania Farm Bill.

“We’re pleased to announce the availability of the PA Farm Bill’s Realty Transfer Tax Exemption for owners of preserved farms who transfer a farm to a qualified beginner farmer,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “These farmers have said ‘yes’ to Pennsylvania agriculture for perpetuity, Pennsylvania is now meeting that commitment with investments and services through the PA Farm Bill to secure a stronger future.”

Earlier this year, Governor Tom Wolf signed the first-ever Pennsylvania Farm Bill which included Act 13, championed by State Senator Judy Schwank, which states that realty transfer tax will not be imposed on transfers of real estate that part of Pennsylvania’s Farmland Preservation Program if the transfer is to a qualified beginning farmer. Qualified beginning farmers are defined as someone who has demonstrated experience in the industry or a related field with transferrable skills; has not received federal gross income from agriculture production for more than ten years; intends to engage in agricultural production in Pennsylvania; and has obtained written certification, from the Department of Agriculture confirming qualified beginning farmer status.

“Access to land is one of the biggest roadblocks for new and beginning farmers,” said State Sen. Judy Schwank, minority chair of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. “This bill helps remove a cost impediment and will be an incentive for these farmers to put more land under cultivation while also supporting our farmland preservation program.”

To learn more about Pennsylvania’s Farmland Preservation Program, Pennsylvania’s Farmland Preservation Program visit

To Attend The Penn State Extension Annual Meeting In Lancaster County

The Penn State Extension Lancaster County Annual Meeting and Social Event will be held Thursday, January 30, 2020, at the Farm and Home Center, 1383 Arcadia Road, Lancaster, PA 17601.

The evening begins at 5:30 p.m. with a social hour and sampling a variety of delicious food in the “Farm Show style” food court provided by various local commodity groups and vendors.


Appreciating insects’ role in agriculture and the environment will be the keynote focus of the 2020 Penn State Extension Lancaster County Annual Meeting. Dr. Brent Hales, the new Director of Extension, will provide an update as we learn about the many wonderful things involving Lancaster County Extension including the 4-H youth development and Master Gardener programs. In addition, an update on Spotted Lanternfly Research will be given, along with a brief overview of Hemp: Lancaster County’s Heritage Crop.   


To register, call 1-877-345-0691.The deadline to register is Monday, January 27, 2020. There is no cost to attend the event. 

To Become A Penn State Master Well Owner Volunteer

If you are interested in learning more about the proper management of private water wells, springs and cisterns and you are willing to share what you learn with others, you might be interested in applying for the Master Well Owner online course being offered by Penn State Extension!

The Penn State Master Well Owner Network (MWON) will provide free, online training for the first 20 volunteers who submit an application and meet the following criteria: 1) you must NOT be employed by any company that provides paid services to private water supply owners (i.e. water testing companies, water treatment companies, water well drillers, etc.) and 2) you must be willing to pass along basic private water system management knowledge to other private water system owners.   The deadline to apply for this online course is February 20, 2020 or whenever 20 applicants are accepted into the course.   

Each volunteer who applies and is accepted into the program will receive details on how to access the new, online MWON online course at no cost.  Successful applicants will be able to start the course on February 24, 2020 and the course will end on March 24, 2020.  The course includes six chapters covering private water system basics, well and spring construction, water testing, water supply protection, water treatment, water conservation, and outreach strategies.  Each chapter includes a mixture of short videos and text along with links to additional resources and a short quiz.  Volunteers must answer 70% of the online quiz questions correctly to be certified as a volunteer.  A computer with a high-speed internet connection is recommended to view all the course materials and videos. To fill out an application for the MWON program, visit the following website:

Volunteers who successfully complete the training course and pass a short exam will receive a free copy of the 80-page publication – A Guide to Private Water Systems in Pennsylvania, discounted water testing through the Penn State water testing lab, and access to various MWON educational materials.  In return, MWON volunteers are asked to pass along what they have learned to other private water supply owners and submit a simple, one-page annual report of their educational accomplishments.  

Pennsylvania is home to over one million private water wells and springs, but it is one of the few states that do not provide statewide regulations to protect these rural drinking water supplies.  In 2004, Penn State Cooperative Extension and several partner agencies created the Master Well Owner Network (MWON); trained volunteers who are dedicated to promoting the proper construction, testing, and maintenance of private water wells, springs and cisterns throughout Pennsylvania.  Since its inception, hundreds of MWON volunteers have provided education to over 50,000 private water supply owners throughout the state. 

Quote Of The Week: “Because of their connection to the land, farmers do more to protect and preserve the environment than almost anyone else. They are some of the best environmentalists around.” Ike Skelton