Agricultural Security Areas

What is an Agricultural Security Area?

An agricultural security area (ASA) is a tract of agricultural land that has been officially designated as an agricultural district by the local municipality. ASAs are intended to promote more permanent and viable farming operations by strengthening the farming community’s sense of security in land use and the right to farm.
Benefits of ASAs:
As a landowner, there are a variety of benefits to enrolling land in an agricultural security area. The benefits include:
  • Landowners are given limited protection against local regulations. Municipalities may not enact ordinances that unreasonably restrict farming operations nor may municipalities deem normal farming operations as a nuisance.
  • State agencies may not condemn a landowner’s property without special permission from the State Agricultural Lands Condemnation Approval Board.
  • Landowners enrolled in ASA are eligible to participate in the Pennsylvania Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Program.
Establishing an ASA:
Creating an agricultural security area is a collaborative effort between farmers and the local government. There is no cost to the landowner for enrolling in the program and involvement in the program is completely voluntary. To establish an ASA, the landowners must submit a proposal to the local municipality. The local officials review the proposals and a public hearing is conducted. Following the hearing, the local governing body will come to a decision on the creation of an agricultural security area. The local governing body is then responsible for reviewing the area every seven years.

ASA Documents:

Prepared by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture 
ASA's in Cumberland County :
Currently there are approximately 72,000 acres of land enrolled in ASA throughout 17 municipalities.  This represents approximately 20% of the Cumberland County landscape.