Historic Rural Preservation Program Announced
Pittsburgh, Pa. . . . .
On December 11th, 40 farmers attended a meeting at Hidden Valley Farm arranged by the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation to discuss new and creative tools now available to help preserve Allegheny County farms.
One of those tools included Landmarks’ Historic Rural Preservation Program, which offers a variety of planned gifts that help farmers reduce income, estate and property taxes, while preserving historic farm property.
Also presenting were representatives of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Allegheny County Conservation District and Allegheny Land Trust. They discussed how development, scenic and conservation easements could be used to provide cash and reduce real estate assessments for farmers being threatened by increasing development and urban sprawl.
“The remaining farmers in Allegheny County have become land rich and cash poor,” said Landmarks’ president Arthur Ziegler. “We want them to know that they have options other than selling their property to developers or losing it to estate taxes.”
Landmarks held the meeting at Hidden Valley Farm to show how an historic farm can be preserved without having a negative financial impact on the owner. The 64-acre 1835 farm was gifted to a charitable remainder trust and eventually purchased by Landmarks.
In return, the donor received significant tax benefits and a 20-year income stream. At the end of that time, Landmarks receives whatever remains in the trust, an amount expected to offset the loss Landmarks’ experienced after making protective façade and scenic easements a condition of its resale.
Now that these farmers know that they have choices, the next step is to meet with them individually to discuss their interests and needs. Though this collaborative effort, it will now be possible to match a variety of preservation tools to meet the specific needs of the individual farmers.
“According to the most recent census statistics, farm acreage in Allegheny County dropped by nearly 35% between 1987 and 1997 and most likely another 20% since then,” said Ziegler. “Our only hope to preserve what’s left is to work together and maximize our resources in meeting these farmers’ needs.”
Contact: Jack Miller
Director of Gift Planning