HARRISBURG – PA’s farmland preservation efforts could take a critical step forward under legislation approved by the state Senate. Senate Bill 64 would dedicate a portion of existing farmland preservation funding to private land trusts – groups that take stewardship over a property with the permission of the landowner. The bill would not require additional taxpayer funds and would also generate new private funding for the program by requiring land trusts to provide matching funds for farmland preserved. Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of farms and acres permanently preserved for agricultural production. To date, over 552,000 acres have been preserved on 5,329 farms across the state. Bill sponsor, Lancaster County Sen. Scott Martin says the goal is to find ways to make the program even stronger and preserve more farms without asking taxpayers to commit more money. The bill now moves to the state House.